BOE Special Meeting May 24

The Spackenkill Union Free School District’s Board of Education will hold a Special Meeting on Tuesday, May 24, 2016 at 7:00 pm at the District Office.  It is anticipated that the Board will be taking a vote to convene in Executive Session for the purpose of discussing matters related to the potential appointment of a new superintendent. After the Executive Session the Board does not anticipate any further business being discussed.                       

The community is welcome and always encouraged to attend. For information about any BOE meeting presentations, please visit the BoardDocs section of this website, which is located under the Board of Education drop-down menu, or CLICK HERE.

Teamwork Spurs Recycling Initiative at Todd

 

 

Spackenkill just got a whole lot greener. Students in Mrs. Vila’s 6th grade reading class at Todd Middle School aren’t just talking about ways to help the environment—they’re doing something about it. Their new recycling bin initiative began this past spring as a result of a unit based on the novel Frightful's Mountain, by Jean Craighead George, which focuses on the effects of DDT on the environment. Reading the book got the students thinking about injustices and environmental problems and working to solve them.

So sixth graders Cheyann Fields, Samuel De La Cruz, Kaylise Lowndes, Dominick Fraser, Jonathan Raz, and Fallon Glasheen put their heads together to devise a multi-step plan to make the recycling initiative happen.

The students met with the custodial staff to get them on board and videoed their own public service announcement  (see above) to spead awareness and explain the use of the recycling bins, which separate out paper and plastic bottles. Paper recycling bins have been placed in every classroom. In the video, which was streamed in all homerooms, Samuel De La Cruz says, “Just by taking these small steps you can make a big difference.”

At lunch, volunteers have been redirecting students on the way to the garbage, showing them how to put their recyclables in the proper bins. “There has been a huge response,” says Mrs. Vila. “Nearly all milk cartons are being recycled at lunch.”

There was also great teamwork: Student Government and the School Store supported the recycling bin fund by donating boxes. Also, the School Store is collecting the deposits on water bottles and re-investing the money in the store.

Congratulations to Mrs. Joy’s homeroom, which won the contest to create a motto for the initiative with these words: "Our little contribution is a solution to pollution." They will be treated to a waffle breakfast hosted by Mrs. Vila’s class.

 

Flamingo Flocking Fundraiser Returns

For a donation of only $20, you can help support the class of 2017 by participating in this year's Flamingo Flocking Fundraiser.  Act quickly: It begins on May 30 and runs through June 17.

CLICK HERE for the order form.

CLICK HERE to learn how flocking works.

Please call the Flamingo Hotline with any questions: 463-7822.

Entrepreneurial Graduate Appears on Fox TV

If you’ve tuned into  Coupled, the new reality series on Fox on Tuesdays at 9 pm, then you’ve seen Spackenkill alumna Brittany Lo make her television debut. “The show was created by Mark Burnett,  an amazing producer who created  Shark Tank and Survivor,” says Ms. Lo.  “He came out with a dating show that features successful men and women meeting each other, an aspect that correlates to my business, which gave it a nice synergy.”  

The class of 2010 graduate is referring to Beautini by B.Lo, her Manhattan-based beauty services company that focuses on weddings and other special occasions.  

For Ms. Lo, the path to founding her own company began in her early years at Spackenkill. "As far back as elementary school there were always those teachers who would take time to know your dreams,” she recalls. “In second grade I wrote a paper about how I wanted to have a beauty company. The teachers took me seriously and supported what I wanted to do.”

By the time Ms. Lo was in high school, she was already taking an active role in the community, attending the Eleanor Roosevelt Girls’ Leadership Workshop in 2007 and founding a club for middle school girls at Todd to encourage them to initiate change  She also interned over her summers at the National Urban Technology Center and the Fashion and Beauty Network in New York City.    

While she was attending Babson College in Massachusetts, Ms. Lo  landed a sought-after internship with L’Oreal, which led to a a fast-track management development position after she had earned a B.S. in Business Management, Marketing, and Entrepreneurship in 2014. But she had always dreamed of being her own boss.  “I noticed there were some holes in the industry for trends, and I wanted to act upon the gaps and provide a hair and makeup service—rather than a brick-and-mortar business. “ With the help of investors, she launched Beautini, which became a full-time venture in March 2015.  The company is on track to provide services to 200 events this year, with clients ranging from Sony to PopSugar, the media and technology company. Though she’s based in the city, you might see Ms. Lo locally: “A lot of Manhattan brides are getting married in the Hudson Valley.”

CLICK HERE to learn more ​

 

Dr. Kate Dooley Visits Spackenkill

Gravitational Waves Discovery Highlighted

Pictured from left to right: Kathy Prisco, Amy Matts, Kate Dooley, and Roberto Romani. When Dr. Dooley was a student at Spackenkill High School, Mrs. Prisco and Mrs. Matts were her science teachers, while Mr. Romani was her art teacher, as well as an advisor to her Odyssey of the Mind club.

On April 28 at Spackenkill High School, Dr. Kate Dooley (class of 2002),  a professor of physics at the University of Mississippi, paid a special visit to her alma mater to speak about her role in the ground-breaking discovery of gravitational waves. 

One hundred years after Albert Einstein’s prediction of gravitational waves in his general theory of relativity, Dr. Dooley was on the team of scientists that detected them for the first time on September 14, 2015.  Dr. Dooley is a senior member of the LIGO Team, short for Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, a facility that detects and measures cosmic gravitational waves for scientific research and is supported by the National Science Foundation. READ MORE...

More Headline News

Why Is Good Student Attendance So Important?

The New York State Department of Education has embarked on a new statewide initiative to address chronic absence from school, which is defined as missing at least 10 percent of enrolled school days. Chronic absence diminishes successful student outcomes and undermines learning. When students stop being chronically absent, they improve academically and are more likely to stay in school and graduate. The bullets below highlight research that underscores the link between chronic absence and school outcomes. The findings span studies from preschool through college:

READ MORE...


Youth Police Academy Accepting Applications

The Town of Poughkeepsie Police Department is hosting its first Youth Police Academy.  The Youth Police Academy, which is free of charge, will provide high-school-age students with an inside look at local law enforcement. The program is designed to inspire good citizenship through criminal justice education. The academy will include physical training, traffic stops, reality-based training, law review, and much more.  Please contact School Resource Officer Hamel for further details and an application for the academy. His email address is chris.hamel@sufsdny.org. Applications must be submitted by June 1, 2016.


District Earns Safety Award

For the fourth consecutive year, the Spackenkill Union Free School District has won the Utica National Insurance Group's School Safety Excellence Award, titanium level, the highest distinction. The honor recognizes the school district's efforts as we work to keep students, staff, and visitors safe. SUFSD officials accepted a certificate to commemorate the safety efforts and a $500 award for use in furthering those efforts.


Todd Teacher Albert Scanlon Honored

Congratulations to Albert Scanlon on being chosen as a Promising New Professional by the New York State Association of Family & Consumer Science Educators/Hudson Valley Northeast Chapter (NYSAFCSE-HVNE). Mr. Scanlon will be honored at the organization's  2016 Annual Awards Banquet. CLICK HERE for more information about NYSACSE. 


As partners in education Spackenkill Union Free School District and Marist College are pleased to announce a special partnership that will offer all Spackenkill Union Free School District employees and their immediate adult family members a significant 25% tuition discount on Marist’s non-discounted graduate and adult undergraduate degree programs.

We encourage you to take part in this incredible opportunity. Advance your career and your future with a Marist education. Marist College offers their adult learners both graduate and adult undergraduate degree and certificate programs, many of which are offered 100% online. Please visit the Marist website for more information, a detailed list of programs, online course options and application deadlines. (www.marist.edu/admission)  READ MORE


Parent Portal Information for Todd and SHS Families

CLICK HERE to read a letter from Dr. Powell regarding changes in grade reporting on the Parent Portal.


Letter from the Commissioner

March 31, 2016: CLICK HERE to read a letter from New York State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia regarding changes to the the Grades 3-8 English Language Arts and Mathematics tests.


Todd Teacher Receives OMER Award

On Saturday, March 12, Todd Middle School teacher and Odyssey of the Mind (OM) coach Anthony Colon was recognized with an OMER Award.  The award, given by OM Region 5 ( (Dutchess, Orange, Ulster, and Sullivan counties),  recognizes teams or individuals who have shown artistic talent, good sportsmanship, or teamwork, or have gone beyond expectations to help others. An OMER  Award signifies that a team or individual serves as an outstanding example of the OM spirit through their words or actions. Thank you Mr, Colon for your hard work, long hours, and dedication to the OM program and congratulations on this award!


Varsity Teams Sweep Scholar Athlete Designation

Every fall and winter varsity team qualified for the NYS Scholar Athlete Team Award.  The program acknowledges teams who have collectively maintained a 90 average or above during their respective sport season.   

Teams are as follows.

Fall: Girls Soccer, Boys Soccer, Girls Cross Country, Boys Cross Country, Girls Tennis, Football, Boys Golf, Volleyball, Field Hockey
Winter: Girls Basketball, Boys Basketball, Girls Indoor Track, Boys Indoor Track

If ALL spring sports achieve this recognition the district will be recognized as a School of Distinction* by the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) at its annual summer meeting.  Good luck and congratulation to the coaches and teams!
 
*School of Distinction Award is presented to any NYSPHSAA member school that annually can successfully meet the following criteria: Certify that 100% of its varsity programs qualified for and received the NYSPHSAA Scholar/Athlete Team Award.


Advocacy Video for Public Schools

The Lower Hudson Council of School Superintendents has partnered with the Westchester-Putnam School Boards Association on a powerful advocacy video: "The Last Straw for NY Public Schools." CLICK HERE to watch the video.  


Grades 3-8 Testing Changes for 2016

Every spring, the Grades 3-8 English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics Tests are administered to students across New York State.

CLICK HERE for information on the changes that the State Education Department has made to these tests for 2016.

CLICK HERE for a side-by-side comparions of 2015 vs. 2016 tests.


Transportation Council Discusses District Sidewalks

The Poughkeepsie-Dutchess County Transportation Council (PDCTC) recently hosted a workshop to gather public input.  The possibility of sidewalks on Spackenkill Road was discussed .

CLICK HERE for the minutes.

CLICK HERE to contact the PDCTC  with concerns about Spackenkill Road:


Parent Committee Members at SUFSD

CLICK HERE for  a list of parents who serve on building and/or district committees in the district.  These people represent the parents in our community on these committees.  Please feel free to reach out to them if you have questions or concerns.


Transportation Requests for 2016-17 School Year

Parents and guardians must have requests for private providers for the 2016-17 school year to the Spackenkill USFD Transportation Department by April 1, 2016. Requests must be filed every year.  For more information, please call Doreen Wright, Director of Transportation: 463-7800.

Assessment Requirements and State Aid

CLICK HERE to read a memo sent by the office of the Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education to chief state education officers regarding state assessment data.

CLICK HERE to read a letter to Secretary of Education John King from the Lower Hudson Council of School Superintendents. The letter addresses the consequences for not meeting the participation rates in state testing and the potential loss of state aid.


Parent Fall 2015 Survey Results

CLICK HERE to read the complete results of the Parent Survey.

CLICK HERE for Nassau Elementary survey results.

CLICK HERE for Hagan Elementary survey results.

CLICK HERE for Todd Middle School survey results.

CLICK HERE for Spackenkill High School survey results.


Strategic Plan 2015-2020

CLICK HERE to read the Board-approved SUFSD Strategic Plan for 2015-2020.


School Breakfast Program Open to All

We encourage your child(ren) to take advantage of our breakfast program, which can be enjoyed upon arrival at school. If you should have any questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to contact Food and Nutrition Services @ 463-7836 or email lisa.french@sufsdny.org


Smart Schools Bond Act Investment Plan

CLICK HERE to read the Board-approved Smart Schools Bond Act Investment Plan for SUFSD.


Comptroller's Audit

Attached is a copy of the most recent Comptroller’s Audit of the Spackenkill Union Free School District. CLICK HERE for the audit.

The Board of Education and District Administration strive to follow the highest standards of fiscal management and ethical practices. 

It is important to note that State Auditors found no instances of fraud or misrepresentation of our financial statements.

It is also important to note that none of the district’s reserves are prohibited by New York State and our independent auditors and management of the school district do not believe they are excessive. 

The audit report addresses several items concerning financial condition and includes inferences that district officials and the Board of Education have made it a practice of overfunding reserves.  It is important to keep in mind that reserves are authorized by the Board of Education and reviewed annually by the district’s independent external auditors.  . 

In January 2015, the district received, from the Comptroller’s Office, a “0% designation” on the state’s Fiscal Stress Monitoring system for the both the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 school years.   According to the Comptroller’s Fiscal Stress Monitoring System Fact Sheet, “the system is designed to identify where an entity is headed so the decision-makers are not merely responding to a crisis.  Instead, they are taking deliberate, long-term and strategic approaches to managing the affairs of their local government.”  This has been the long-term historic approach that the district has taken with respect to budgeting and managing fund balance and reserves.

Since the implementation of the tax cap the district has been consciously using reserves in a conservative manner in order to not only stay below the tax cap but as to not deplete reserves in a manner that could be considered fiscally imprudent and cause fiscal stress on future budgets.  The concern is further complicated by the revenue challenges districts are facing in having uncertain long-term state aid projections.  

The 2014-2015 independent audit found no issues. CLICK HERE for the link to that audit.


Weather-Related Closing Information

Please be aware that the district now has the option of calling both 2- and 3-hour delays during the 2015-2016 school year.  There are also changes with SchoolMessenger, our automated calling service, which provides timely communication to parents and staff members on such matters as weather-related closings and delays, attendance, general-interest activities, and district emergencies. Upon registration in our district, only the household telephone number will be sent to the SchoolMessenger system to receive emergency or weather-related school closing information. Families are asked to sign up with a SchoolMessenger account to customize their contact information and provide additional phone numbers and email addresses. By the beginning of October, all families will receive a letter with the necessary instructions to create or access their accounts. Opt-out information will be included in the mailing. Please note, new this school year: General-interest messages will not be sent by a phone call or text message.  To receive non-emergency messages, please add an email address to your SchoolMessenger account. 


Letter from Assemblymember Didi Barrett

CLICK HERE to read a letter from Assemblymember Didi Barrett to the Spackenkill Board of Education.


Letter to Officials Regarding Tax Credit Bill

CLICK HERE to read letters opposing the tax credit bill from the Spackenkill Board of Education to Assemblymember Didi Barrett and Senator Sue Serino.


For Your Information: Passing a Stopped School Bus Traffic Violation

Spackenkill wants to remind all parents, adults, and driving students that passing a stopped school bus with flashing lights while on school grounds (private road) or roadways is a traffic violation. Every person convicted of the first violation will be punished by a fine of $250 to $400 or by imprisonment for not more than 30 days or by both fine and imprisonment.  Additional traffic violations increase both fine and time of imprisonment.  Such violation may also result in a five-point penalty on one’s driver’s license.  School district grounds are not exempt from these laws.  This information is shared in the interest of safety for all students and as a reminder to those who violate the law what passing a stopped school bus with flashing lights can cost in fines and points.  We wouldn’t want this to happen to any of our community members.


Spackenkill Mobile App Debuts

Check out our new Spackenkill mobile app! It’s available for both Android and iOS devices. CLICK HERE for the link. The app can always be found in the right sidebar of our district homepage or you can search for it in Google’s Play Store or Apple’s App Store. This app makes it easy to find information from our website when using a mobile device. Just go into the settings and choose the buildings about which you want to get news and information. You can find bus routes, team schedules, cafeteria menus, and upcoming events for each school. You’ll also have easy access to our eSchool mobile site, SchoolMessenger, and our Facebook page. Download the app today and see for yourself!


Letters to Officials Regarding Proposed Education Reforms

CLICK HERE to read letters to Governo Andrew Cuomo, Senator Sue Serino and Assemblymember Didi Barrett regarding proposed education reforms.



Parents' Bill of Rights

The purpose of the Parents’ Bill of Rights is to inform parents of the legal requirements regarding privacy, security and use of student data . CLICK HERE to read the document.


New Service of Dutchess County HELPLINE

The Dutchess County Department of Mental Hygiene has expanded its 24-hour HELPLINE service to include texting.   Dutchess TEXTS is designed as an alternate way to access mental health assistance since many people, particularly young adults and teenagers, often prefer to text rather than talk on the phone.    Young people can access support services by texting “DMH” to 741 741 READ MORE..


BOE Approves Veterans' Exemption

A partial exemption from school taxes for veterans has been approved by the Spackenkill Board of Education.   Military veterans may receive an exemption based upon their type and time of service.  The default exemptions were approved for Spackenkill veterans. READ MORE


Food Service Account Allows Parents to Manage Food Choices

If your child has a dietary restriction or allergy that you would like listed on their NutriKids/MySchoolBucks account or if you wish to limit or block the purchase of a specific food item, please contact the Spackenkill Food Service Department at 463-7836 or lisa.french@sufsdny.org.
CLICK HERE for the School Lunch web section

BOE Special Meeting May 24

The Spackenkill Union Free School District’s Board of Education will hold a Special Meeting on Tuesday, May 24, 2016 at 7:00 pm at the District Office.  It is anticipated that the Board will be taking a vote to convene in Executive Session for the purpose of discussing matters related to the potential appointment of a new superintendent. After the Executive Session the Board does not anticipate any further business being discussed.                       

The community is welcome and always encouraged to attend. For information about any BOE meeting presentations, please visit the BoardDocs section of this website, which is located under the Board of Education drop-down menu, or CLICK HERE.

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