Welcome Letter from Katie & Kristen

Dear Families, 

We want to thank you for your patience as we gear up for the 2021-2022 school year. We are so happy to welcome everyone back to school this fall. We want to start by saying welcome to all our new students this year! We have students entering almost every grade level. This is a first for SMS! We want to offer a sincere welcome to these new students and families. 

We are also excited to a announce several new staff members:

Kerese Blake-Goss, Middle School Math

Joseph Liebowitz, Middle School History

Alex Fontini, High School English

Ester Kempthorne, 6-12 Spanish Language Teacher

Brandon Wright, High School Learning Specialist

Mollie Fox, 5th Grade

Howie Kenty, K-12 Music Teacher 

Anolen Pinard, K-12 Social Worker

We are still in the process of hiring for an additional guidance counselor and school aide (K-8). 

We are saying a warm goodbye to the following staff members who have left SMS to pursue new opportunities:

Nathan Blom, High School English

Luke Schwartz, Music Theory

Emily John, Middle School Chorus and Music History

Claire Shwecky, Middle School History

John Cziner, Music Theory

We also want to congratulate our 5th grade teacher Kerri Hook who became a new mom this summer and will be taking some time off this fall. 

We have a number of exciting updates to share with you:

School Start & End Times

The elementary school day will run from 8:30-2:50 everyday. 

The middle school day will run from 8:00-2:20 everyday.

The high school school day will run from 8:30-2:50 on Wednesdays and Fridays and from 8:30-3:25 on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. 

High School Semester-Based Programming

We have followed the news and DOE updates all summer and taken into consideration feedback from staff, students, and families. We have decided to keep our semester-based model in effect for the coming school year. Most music courses will be annualized (year-long). Student academic classes will be semester-based. Students will receive program cards on the first day of school. 

Jupiter Grades

We have adapted a new gradebook platform for the school year. Jupiter is widely used among NYC schools. 6-12 families will have family log-ins to track student progress. This information is forthcoming. The platform will be up and running for the first day of school. 

MYSCHOOLS ACCOUNT: (NYCSA) 

Please take some time to verify your child’s emergency contact information on your Schools account. You may also submit your consent for testing. If you need support accessing your account, please contact Lisa Stump (lisa@specialmusicschool.org)

Space Updates 

This summer we facilitated the HS move from the G floor of MLK to the third floor. If you walk by MLK you should be able to see our hallway banners through the window. The new space is coming together, but we know that our students will definitely want to make their mark when they get here.  We are also making some changes to our elementary school and middle school classrooms to ensure social distancing requirements.. 

Updated K-12 School Guidebook & Website

Please note that the 2020-2021 Guidebook has been archived. We are working on getting an updated K-12 Guidebook out to all students by the first day of school. This will have information regarding general school protocols and policies in addition to school directories and links to important forms. We are also working collaboratively with the PTA and KMC to design a new school website. 

First Day Information

Elementary and Middle School students will receive updated information about first day arrival at Kaufman. The high school will have a delayed start for the first day of school on September 13th. HS Students should report to school at 10am. Program cards will be distributed in the cafeteria. 

Safety 

We are attaching updated guidance from Chancellor Porter regarding safety updates. Please take some time to read carefully as health and safety are our top priorities this year: Homecoming Guidance

Supplies

Elementary and the Middle School team teachers will be sending Welcome Letters this week which include supplies. High school students should purchase basic supplies (binder, pens, pencils, graphing calculator) for personal use. We will collect $30 per high school student for communal supplies. Please send in a check (payable to Special Music School) or cash. 

New Student Email Accounts

All students at SMS are issued email addresses in the Special Music School G-suite domain. To log in to your SMS email:

  1. Go to gmail.com
  2. Enter your SMS login. This is the first letter of your first name, your last name and the year of graduation. For example, Peter Parker’s email login would be pparker2025@specialmusicschool.org
  3. Your password is your first and last name, no caps and no spaces. Peter Parker’s password would be peterparker. Please note that if your full name is less than 8 characters, your password will be your full name followed by your graduation year (ex., peterparker2022)

Please enjoy the last moments of summer and reach out if you have any trouble at all.
Katie and Kristen