Winter Is Back & It Is Cold and Flu Season

Dear Families,
Winter is back here with us and so are winter colds, coughs, and other illnesses. This may be a good time to review some health guidelines.  
A child who is sick is not able to perform as well in school and is likely spread the illness to other children and staff. It is important that if your child is not well that you keep them home for their well-being and to protect others.
When making decisions regarding your child’s attendance at school, please use common sense and good judgement about what is best for your child and his or her classmates. Children should not attend school if:
  • They have a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher. Students must remain at home until they have been fever-free for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medicine.
  • They have a stomach ache with loose stool or vomiting. If your child exhibits these symptoms, please keep him or her at home for 24 hours.
  • They have a bad cold with symptoms such as excessive mucus, fatigue, a cough, or a sore throat. Please use good parent judgement in assessing them. Many times keeping your student at home for 24 hours can arrest further symptoms. Some of these symptoms may warrant a trip to your child’s pediatrician.
  • They have pink eye. Students must be on antibiotics for 24 hours before returning to school.
  • They have strep throat. Students must be on antibiotic for 24 hours and be symptom-free before returning to school.
  • They have the Flu. Students must be symptom-free before returning to school. Please communicate with your student’s teacher and the main office ( if your child has been diagnosed with the flu so that we can keep track of the illness.
Be well, 
Katie Banucci-Smith, Principal

The Special Music School

MLK High School 2016 PSAL Soccer Champions

Continuing their long tradition of Soccer excellence, the MLK Knights topped the PSAL league in 2016.  Here, Principal Katie Banucci Smith proudly shows off the trophy her MLK Knights won for running a perfect record in the NYC 2016 Fall PSAL Soccer league.  SMS high schoolers were part of the team that took top honors.  Congrats to all the kids, and a big thumbs up to our own “soccer principal” Katie.  For more on this championship season, click here!

SMS Alumni Chat at Town Hall

On Friday Jan 6, alumni from the first years of SMS visited the elementary and high schools to talk to students about their memories from their time at SMS. Current students were able to ask questions to the panel of alumni about what they have been doing since graduating from SMS. Many have become professional musicians. Some of them will be performing at the SMS Alumni Homecoming Concert Sun Jan 8 at 8pm.

UpBeat Online


By Andrea Israel

“My tongue will tell the anger of my heart, or else my heart concealing it will break.” In other words: speak what you feel, tell your truth.

That quote, from Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew,” epitomizes what Nathan Blom (High School English teacher) is teaching his SMS students.

And by linking literature with theater, he has discovered an invaluable way to engage his kids. His AP Lit class is currently reading “Taming of the Shrew,” which he says perfectly dovetails with heated national conversations cropping up since the election. As he explained, “I felt it was particularly significant given the political climate. My initial plan is to use it as a springboard into discussion of gender roles.”

To read the full article by Andrea Israel, click here.

Message from Katie & Kristen

Dear families,

We apologize for not writing earlier to tell you how SMS has responded to the election. We have been listening and observing, trying to find words to describe the changing landscape of our democracy. Given the events of the recent election, we feel more thankful than ever for our community here at SMS.

We are grateful for the participation of our children in the discourse about the election. Our children are more equipped than ever to talk about race, class and gender with purpose and to make themselves heard and understood. Their courage and resilience impress us everyday.

We are also thankful for the incredible staff at SMS. In the past weeks and months, they have read, discussed and ventured into uncharted territory as educators. They have protected the safe spaces of their classrooms, while helping students to process the dangerous rhetoric and political unrest around them. Our classroom conversations have been sensitive and assuring in this time of uncertainty.

Finally, we are grateful for our diverse community.  Our families at SMS represent so many nationalities, races, religions and sexual orientations. Because of this, SMS is beautiful. We wish to make one thing abundantly clear: you are never alone, and we stand beside our entire community with support and love. 


Katie & Kristen

Katie Banucci-Smith                           Kristen Palmierie
Principal                                             Assistant Principal

PTA Dues

Our Dues Month is not over yet! Thank you all for your contributions, we are doing well, but over 50% of families have not contributed yet! To make your contribution, click here!

1st grade parents Ann and Tommy Wazelle have honored us with another video:

A Talk with Katie

“Music and Academics Work Hand in Hand at Upper West Side School”: DNA Info: Emily Frost, October 3, 2016

Principal Katie Banucci-Smith has her dream job. A child musician who attended a music conservatory for college and went on to sing opera before falling into teaching, Banucci-Smith heads the Special Music School. The K-12 public school at 129 W. 67th St. perfectly marries her two passions and does that for students as well, she said.

DNA: What are you looking for in selecting the 15 students for your kindergarten class?
We’re not looking to pick someone, we’re looking to find a match. We’re looking to find people that really want to do this and kids that seem to have an aptitude for doing it.
We try to build diverse classrooms. Some have parents that are in the field, some don’t have parents that are in the field, this is their first music test ever. We look at it from like a thousand different diversity lenses. We try to pick half girls, half boys. We try to pick socioeconomic diversity. 

For more on the DNA article, click here!

Special Music School At 20!

Yes, The Special Music School is in its 20th year … and celebrating its first
Graduating 12th Grade Class
.  A marvelous journey just keeps getting stronger and better.
Congratulations to all the Kaufman Music Center staff, especially Lydia Kontos,
and the SMS Teachers and Administration.




Kids at this music school rock state English and math exams.
By Selim Algar | August 25, 2016
To read the article, click this link:

BoxTops 4 Education: Free Money For SMS!

BoxTopComp1Last year, our BoxTops 4 Education campaign raised over $500 for SMS.  That is $500 of free money for the school.  Now, what can be easier, or sweeter, than that.  All you have to do is shop, clip the box top coupon, send it in to the school and the PTA collects the MONEY!  Please, it is not too late to collect and send in coupons.  Lots of brands now offer multiple box tops on single packages.  It just keeps getting easier and easier!  Visit the BoxTops 4 Education page if you have any questions.  Thank You.

Contact the School

Academic Office: 212.501.3318
Music Office: 212.501.3316
KMC Front Desk: 212.501.3308
KMC Support: 212.501.3356

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Katie’s Korner

For The Principal's Message, Click Here!

Kristen’s HS 311 Report

For Kristen's HS Message, Click Here!

Lisa’s Weekly Update

To go to Lisa's Weekly Updates and Reminders, Click Here!