KES 2023 November Newsletter

Building a Community of Belonging


Welcome to November! We have so many things to be grateful for here at KES. Above all, we have each other: wonderful students, teachers and staff, parents, and community. There is great learning going on here at school due to everyone’s efforts!

During the first two weeks in November, we have Parent-Teacher Conferences (11/2, 11/6 and 11/8), in which parents meet with teachers to learn what progress their child has made during the first term, and areas of needed support. We hope that every child will be represented by a parent or guardian. If you have not yet done so, please schedule an appointment for your Parent-Teacher Conference by visiting the district website, selecting Katonah Elementary School, scroll down to “Quick Links” and select Parent-Teacher Conferences to the conference sigh-up site. Please note that making a reservation is a two-step process. Please send an email to if you experience technical issues with the site.

We wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving season. We are grateful to you and thank you for sharing the opportunity of working with your children. They make us want to come to work each day!


School-Wide Focus: Accept Responsibility

To be accountable for your actions, choices, and results. To do what you say you are going to do or what is being asked of you. To follow through with expectations.

Social Emotional Learning

This month’s focus is Emotion Management. Throughout the district, students are learning strategies to support in regulating their emotions. Our clinicians will be pushing into classrooms and facilitating lessons from the Second Step curriculum. Second Step is an evidence-based, social-emotional learning curriculum that fosters students’ emotional intelligence, empathy, and problem-solving skills. This month, lessons will focus on helping students to identify emotions and learn how feelings affect their minds and bodies. They will also learn and practice appropriate coping skills to manage strong feelings. In addition, the lessons will assist students in developing self-awareness and self-management skills in order to improve relationships and to remain available for learning. The lessons coincide with the Zones of Regulation.

Community Read

I Promise by Lebron James is a lively and inspiring picture book that reminds us that tomorrow’s success starts with the promises we make to ourselves and our community today. The book shows a school where children help one another when they fall on the playground, support studying hard, and stand up for what is right. The purpose of the promises we make to ourselves and each other is to say that we can do anything we put our minds to if we commit to doing the hard work.

Lessons we can learn from Lebron James:

  • Staying positive in the face of adversity
  • Learn from others
  • Don't hold grudges

Veteran's Day

This month, there will be a focus on the meaning and importance of Veteran’s Day. Read alouds and discussions will take place, and many students will write letters of thanks to our local veterans who honorably served our country.

John Jay Middle School is hosting their 6th annual Veterans Day Celebration on November 9th at the middle school and would like to extend the invitation to all of the families in the KLSD community. Please see the invitation below.


Students will be learning about the history and story of Thanksgiving from multiple perspectives and discussing gratefulness and ways to demonstrate this to family and friends during the holiday season. Fifth graders, currently researching topics from American history and creating multimedia presentation and 3D floats, will present “Day Before Thanksgiving Day Parade” to their peers and parents on November 22. The 1st graders will focus on gratitude throughout the month and culminate with a special gratitude project which will be shared at November's Sharing Assembly.

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Native American Heritage

November is Native American Heritage Month. This month was started to honor and recognize Native Americans as the first people of this nation and to celebrate their cultural heritage and importance to our past, our present, and our future. We hope to develop an awareness and understanding of the rich culture, tradition, and history of Native Americans and appreciate the contributions that Native Americans have made, and will continue to make, to our Nation.

Over the next two months, Native American Heritage will be woven into the teaching and learning experiences at KES. The interactive bulletin board designed and installed by COMPACT member, Karen Poffenberger, will be visited by each class. The board is complete with QR codes linked to interesting information about carefully selected contemporary and historical Native American figures from a variety of disciplines and geographic locations. Students will interact with the information by way of answering questions, engaging in activities, and participating in discussion. Please stop by and view the bulletin board on the main floor during your visit to KES for parent-teacher conferences!

We encourage your family to join us in learning about the National Native American Heritage. You could start by finding out about our very own Chief Katonah and discover how some of the town’s street names were selected!!!


Dressing for the Weather

We ask that you please dress your children to match the weather. Jackets, fleeces and sweatshirts (not shorts!) are recommended for days that hover in the 40’s. Once winter weather arrives, we will ask for more substantial articles of clothing like boots, gloves, and hats. Recess will continue to take place in cold weather and will remain outdoors as long as temperatures do not feel lower than 20 degrees. It is recommended that you write your child’s initials or their name on the tags of outerwear items that come into school. This will allow us to return your child’s jacket or fleece if it is misplaced and brought to the lost and found. Thank you for your continued support. Please remind your child to check out the lost and found... it is growing!!


K-5 Curriculum Updates

In kindergarten, students will continue to develop their knowledge of letters—their names, associated sounds, and formation. Students will learn to read books that contain familiar ‘snap words’ and leverage their alphabet knowledge to help them check their reading as they go. In writing, students will learn how to engage in the beginning process of spelling: drawing, labeling, revising, and writing the most salient sounds. In math, students will continue to explore and compare numbers to 10 through a variety of lessons, activities, and games. In science, the students have taken on the role of scientists to figure out why monarch caterpillars do not live in an area that was converted from a field to a community vegetable garden. They are investigating how plants and animals get what they need to live and grow, and they will make a new plan for the garden that will provide for the needs of the monarch caterpillars and produce vegetables for humans.

In first grade, students will be relying on their good reading habits to help them monitor their reading with a focus on word endings, sight words, and silent e patterns. Comprehension work will involve making predictions and retelling using story elements. Students will be writing "How-To" books with steps, transition words, and illustrations that help teach. In math, students will be applying their understanding of addition and subtraction to fluently add and subtract to ten. In our first science unit, Plants and Animal Defenses, students will learn that all living things must meet their basic survival needs, including getting food, water, and oxygen, and avoiding being eaten by other animals. This unit allows students to understand the structures that make up animals and plants, as well as how some of these structures can function as defenses against predators. Students will take on the role of aquarium scientists advising an aquarium director by helping answer young visitors' questions about Spruce the Sea Turtle, who will soon be released back into the ocean.

In second grade, students are getting ready to kick their writing up a notch in November! They will be creating informational chapter books, just like experts. To help support their efforts, they will be learning all about non-fiction conventions in reading workshop. In math, the second graders are exploring hands-on tools to help them solve addition problems. Many of these tools will lead them to mental strategies that will stay with them a lifetime. The second graders will continue their social studies unit on Communities. They will be traveling back in time to see how communities have changed over the decades, culminating in a fun 1950s event on the 50th day of school! Second grade scientists will grow their knowledge about Properties of Materials as they experiment with ingredients that make both a sticky AND strong glue.

In third grade, students will begin their study of non-fiction text. They will be immersed in non-fiction reading; reading for fluency and learning to make mental summaries. These summaries will contain ‘big ideas’ and supporting information. Third graders will write an information book and will be teaching a unit of study on a topic they feel they are experts. In math, students will fluently multiply and divide within100. They will solve multiplication and division problems that involve different strategies and representations. In science, we will begin the unit on Forces and Interactions. Students will engage in a fun, hands-on investigation of how magnets can be used for low impact environmental cleanup.

In fourth grade, students will be diving into reading non-fiction and learning how to determine importance based on the structure of the text. We will use our non-fiction reading skills to research and create presentations on Indigenous groups, as part of our work honoring American Indian Heritage Month. In writing, students will construct personal and persuasive essays with a focus on making a claim and supporting it with evidence. In math, students will continue to use strategies and properties to multiply by both one- and two-digit numbers. Fourth graders have embarked on their first engaging science unit of the year about energy. Students are learning about different forms of energy and how one form is converted to another.

In fifth grade, students will be honing their non-fiction skills as they explore the various ways that authors structure nonfiction. They will learn how to monitor comprehension as these texts become more complex. Fifth graders will be engaged in seeing their world through the eyes of a journalist, as they find newsworthy stories around our school, and craft articles that engage and inform the reader. In math, fifth graders will explore multiplying and dividing with decimals and whole numbers. Throughout the month, students will be using KES library data bases to research topics from American history and create multimedia presentations and 3D floats in preparation for a "Day Before Thanksgiving Day" Parade on Wednesday, November 22. Fifth grade parents will be welcome to attend. More details to follow!

Featured Art

For the past few weeks in art, each KES student has been working on a piece to be submitted for the PTO’s fundraiser called Square 1 Art. Families will be invited to order merchandise with their child’s artwork on it. It’s timed perfectly for special holiday gifts! Look out for an email from the PTO with more information.

Some of our older artists created these stunning “Galaxy Landscapes.” Artists explored techniques in watercolors, chose their color palette after much experimentation and deliberation, worked on brush control, wet on wet, color bleeding, and blending. Students finished their pieces with fine-detailed illustration in black and white to show a stark contrast to the vibrant sky. Most students showed perspective in their landscape, creating the illusion of near and far.

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Moving towards Thanksgiving, tiny hands of younger artists will be sculpting the cutest cornucopias as they further explore mixing secondary and tertiary colors from the three primary colors. We are so thankful for the fine details. They are tiny but mighty!
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Advancing Literacy Family & Caregiver Workshops

This series will help support your children's literacy development outside of school. These workshops will provide you with essential tips, suggestions, and ideas for ways to work with your child outside of school to become powerful and life-long readers and writers. There will be offerings 1–2 times a month and will range in focus from grades PreK–8. We’ll discuss a variety of topics including spelling, punctuation, and grammar; essay writing; AI; ChatGPT; early literacy and reading; STEM; storytelling and oral language; social justice; and more.

Click here for a list of all Family & Caregiver Workshop dates and topics throughout the year. We look forward to having you be a part of our learning community and learning about what you most need to support your families!

Upcoming Schedule (all sessions start at 7:30pm ET)

  • November 1, 2023 - Essay Writing is an All-Important Genre in Upper-Elementary School and Middle School: Get to Know this Genre, and Get Tips for How to Help Kids Succeed as Essayists, Grades 3–8

  • November 2, 2023 - What are Supportive, Reasonable, and Developmentally Appropriate Ways I Can Help My Child with Spelling, Punctuation, and Even Grammar, Grades K–3

  • December 6, 2023 - Build and Grow Student Curiosity & Passions about the Natural World and History: Ways to Explore Books, Media, and Other Texts to Grow New Knowledge and Ideas, Grades 4–8

  • December 7, 2023 - Build and Grow Student Curiosity & Passions about the Natural World and History: Ways to Explore Books, Media, and Other Texts to Grow New Knowledge and Ideas, Grades PreK–3

Not sure you can attend all sessions? Register below and the link is valid for every session all year. We will send you reminders before each session.

Click here to Register


DASA seeks to ensure a safe and supportive environment for all students, free of discrimination, intimidation, harassment, taunting and bullying. If you are aware of an incident or have a concern, please contact one of us listed below. You will be asked to complete the BOE Incident Reporting Form (see "button" below for attachment).

Cristy Harris, Principal and KES Dignity Act Coordinator 763-7700 or

Kweon Stambaugh, Assistant Principal (designee) 763-7705 or

Jessica Fulton, Social Worker (designee) 763-7669 or