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News & Media

Principal’s Address

Posted on by Classical School

Hello Classical Families and Friends,

On Friday March 16th, while the wider Wisconsin community focused its attentions and celebrations on St. Patrick’s Day and the March Madness of the NCAA Basketball Tournament, our Classical School students and staff began their yearly KAT season with a traditional KAT Kickoff in our school’s forum involving all of students from kindergarten through eighth grade. Undoubtedly the Classical Knowledge-A-Thon (KAT) will never gain the press and prestige associated with these other national events; however, within the confines of our school’s walls, KAT is king for the next month until our KAT Day on Friday, April 20th. Over sixty volunteers led by our KAT coordinator, Sheri Hartzheim, provide fun weekly events such as KAT Star Week, KAT Lottery Lollapalooza, KAT Bonanza and KAT Spirit week that all lead to the culminating KAT Dress-up Day when our 485 students are all individually quizzed on their grade level KAT questions.

What is KAT?
Knowledge-A-Thon – commonly referred to as “KAT”– is our school’s chief fundraiser – generating upwards of $20,000 to meet the wide-ranging needs of our students and classrooms. Each student is given a list of one hundred questions and answers related to our Core Knowledge curriculum that will be taught – or has already been taught – this school year. Students study with their teachers and parents to prepare for KAT Day while collecting pledges from their families. For instance, let’s say Aunt Betty offers her niece a per question pledge of $.50. Her niece will be asked 100 questions on KAT Day. If her niece gets 95 answers correct, her Aunt Betty will donate $47.50 (.5 x 95) to our school. Also, anyone can choose to give a straight dollar amount instead of a per question pledge. Unlike many other potential school fundraisers involving selling products or coupons, KAT is a low cost, high profit fundraiser that promotes our curriculum and guarantees that 100% of what students earn goes directly to Classical School.

Is there an easy way to study for KAT?
Certainly, studying for KAT can be accomplished using many different methods. I thought that I would answer this question by sharing my personal experience. As a parent, I have associated this time of year with studying with my children for KAT and studying these questions gives us an opportunity for a positive bonding experience. I usually go through the entire list of 100 questions during the first few days that the packet is distributed. I ask my child each question and cross out the number in front of any question/answer that my child already knows. In this way, we can focus on the more difficult questions for the remainder of the month. The next time that I ask my child these harder questions, I will either place a checkmark (correct) or a tally mark (incorrect) next to each of the questions. Any answer that is hard to remember, I try to create a funny word play or mnemonic device to aid in learning the answer.

For instance if the following question was hard for my child… Q: Name each of the five kingdoms of living things. A: Plant, Animal, Fungus, Protist, Moneran. I might make something up like… The kingdom’s plants and animals always had fun protests about money to remind her of the five kingdoms.

When my child answers the question correctly three times, I will no longer ask that particular question. In this way, we slowly reduce the number of difficult questions and have a continuing feeling of accomplishment. During the final few days before KAT Day, I’ll ask all of the questions again to see if any of the answers needs a bit more polishing.

What will be done with the KAT Funds?
The KAT Funds are used to meet the needs of our students. First, we are planning on updating and providing technology in the form of Smartboards for many of our classrooms and at least two classroom sets of interactive devices. We are also plan on purchasing science equipment for our Middle School program so that our 7th and 8th grade students will have a fully equipped Science Lab. Finally, any additional monies will help to purchase classroom storage, playground equipment and other general budgetary needs that directly support student learning.

Thank you for supporting your child and Classical School during KAT season!

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