What's Right with Spackenkill! October 6, 2017


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What's Right with Spackenkill!

October 6, 2017

A tradition of excellence with a vision for tomorrow

Dear Spackenkill Community,

My favorite part of serving as a superintendent is visiting and being a part of each school. You may be wondering what that means. Here are a few examples: Earlier this week I went to Nassau with facilities director Dave Downes to investigate a gas leak to ensure the safety of the students and staff. Last night along with principals Farrell and Ferrarone I attended the PTA meeting, leaving greatly impressed with the vigor and energy of the parents' plans for the year. Earlier this week I visited Hagan Elemenatary School to observe some of the science training with middle school science teachers in our professional development room. And I just returned from being a part of the Birds of Prey outdoor assembly at Hagan. I enjoyed watching the faces of the children, who seemed so engaged with the swooping hawk and falcon! At Todd I was able to informally observe two of our newer teachers and admired their energy and enthusiasm. Two hours ago I had a meeting with principal Malkischer concerning a student, while being impressed with the class decorations and Homecoming week activities. In a moment I will travel back to the school for the pep rally. Frankly, I feel very fortunate to not only work in the district office, but also to be a part of each school. In some ways it's the best of both worlds!

Monday is Columbus Day and there is no school. On Tuesday, you will receive an email message from district data coordinator Kathy Hoey and myself encouraging you to update your SchoolMessenger family information in preparation for our required early dismissal drill, where we practice using this year's parent contact information.

Have a great weekend!


Mark Villanti

Mark Villanti, Ed.D. 
Superintendent of Schools


NYSSMA Students to Represent District

The New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) has announced that the following students will be representing Spackenkill at the 2017 NYSSMA Conference in Rochester on November 30 through December 3:

Eric Choi,  violin; Rachel  Li, violin (alternate); Jeana Chun, flute (alternate); and Laura Patkus, viola. Thousands of students auditioned for this honor at solo and ensemble festivals throughout New York State.  Wonderful job!

NYSSMA students

Pictured above from left to right are  Eric Choi, Rachel Li, Jeana Chun, and Laura Patkus.


National Commended Students Named

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation has announced the names of 34,000 commended students in the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Program.  Spackenkill's own Cynthia Ma, Corrado Mazzarelli, Anya Justin, Jessica Cohen, Nyi-Rein Kyaw, Tomas Herrera, and Ethan Maslyn are being recognized for the exceptional academic promise demonstrated by their outstanding performance.  Commended students place among the top five percent of more than 1.5 million students who entered the 2018 competition by taking the 2016 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.  Congratulations to all of you on this significant achievement!

2017 National merit scholarship commended students Jessica Cohen, Tomas Herrera, Anya Justin, Nyi-Rein Kyaw, Cynthia Ma, Ethan Maslyn, and Corrado Mazzarelli

Pictured above from left to right with Mr. Malkischer are Cynthia Ma, Corrado Mazzarelli, Anya Justin, Jessica Cohen, Nyi-Rein Kyaw, Tomas Herrera, and Ethan Maslyn.

Homecoming Game Kicks Off Today

Spirit Week was a blast at Spackenkill High School.  The halls were decorated with lively school spirit displays. There was a Seniors vs. Juniors Flag Football Game on Thursday afternoon that resulted in a tie, and Friday there was a pep rally in the gym. Today, October 6, there will be a homecoming game at 7 pm. As we mentioned last week, at 5 pm, the football program is going to recognize players and coaches from the past 40 years during halftime.  The first graduating class in the football program was 1977.   All of the former varsity players and coaches are invited to attend this special event.  There will be a reception in the high school cafeteria at 5 pm prior to the start of the game. 

Please click on this link for the full sports schedule Homecoming Weekend


flag football

The Seniors vs. Juniors Flag Football game ended in a tie. Great game and sportsmanship by all! 



Cheerleaders whipped up school spirit at the pep rally.


Student-made homecoming poster.

football team practice

Football players practicing for today's game.

order spiritwear

Please click on this link to order Spackenkill Spiritwear online!

Please note: above link does not work in Internet Explorer or Safari; please use Firefox or Chrome.

drum band

Drum band entertained at the pep rally.


Senior athletes got the crowd cheering.

senior athletes

One team member rode a unicycle.


Above: Mrs. Vitek with computer students reading about the Capital Project online

Alumni Update: Gregory Koch

Gregory Koch Freddie Mac Disabilities poster

Spackenkill graduate Gregory Koch (Class of 2010) was recently interviewed by WJLA-TV, the local ABC affiliate for Washington, DC, in conjunction with the premiere of the ABC show "The Good Doctor," which is about a doctor on the autism spectrum.  The interview discussed Gregory’s success with employment as an autistic adult. He is a Quantitative Analytics Associate in the Enterprise Risk Management Division at Freddie Mac in northern Virginia. He was originally hired as part of an autism internship program and has won a number of peer recognition awards at the company “Autism is a difference, not a detriment,” he said in the interview. Please click here to see the program and scroll down the page for the full interview.

Additionally, Freddie Mac is featuring Gregory in a poster that will be displayed in the office during October, which is Disability Awareness Month. This poster campaign is sponsored by the Abilities ERG (Employee Resource Group), which is for employees who have a disability, or have a family member who does. The goal of this poster campaign is both to encourage people to self-identify as having a disability and to encourage them to join the ERG. Congratulations to Gregory!



Todd SGO Event Draws a Crowd

Todd Student Government held a Welcome Back Social on Friday, Sept. 29th, which was a beautiful day. There were plenty of sporting activities on the field, in the gym, and even in the hallways—not to mention tempting snacks available. Mr. Doherty was in charge of the tug-of-war game, which was a big hit. Many thanks to Student Government and to advisor Norma Vazquez and all the volunteers!

students at event

Students enjoyed the beautiful weather.

volunteers serving food

PTSA volunteer Mrs. Ullinger and School Social Worker Tracie Phillips served refreshments.

girls playing basketball

Basketball players filled the gym.

ping pong tournament

Ping-pong is a favorite student activity.



Science Teachers Explore New Concepts 

This week, the district began a collaborative professional development series for middle school science teachers from Pawling and Todd. The teachers are meeting five times during the school year and began their professional development in Room 26 at Hagan Elementary.

Presenter Helen Pashley facilitated an agenda that covered science and engineering practices. Teachers are shown at various stations engaging in science activities.

science teachers dissecting flowers example of activity
teacher at work drawing conclusions



Birds of Prey Visit Hagan

Today at Hagan Elementary school, a birds of prey demonstration taught fifth grade students about some of nature's most amazing animals. The educational presentation enhanced their classroom studies. Thank you to the PTA and Mrs. LaGasse for making this wonderful experience possible!

bird of prey with handler bird in flight
student with bird students watch



PTA and Scouts Join Forces

fall plantings at HaganVisitors to  Hagan Elementary School will notice that the planter at the school's entrance brims with fall flowers.  The PTA generously donated the mums, while the Cub Scouts did a great job planting them. Thank you to both! 

15 Croft Road, Poughkeepsie,  NY
(845) 463-7800
Mission: Inspired by a tradition of excellence and a spirit of continuous improvement, the Spackenkill School District will provide all of our students with the academic and social skills necessary to pursue their goals and become responsible citizens in an interdependent global community.
Vision: All Spackenkill graduates will be lifelong learners who are inspired to pursue their dreams and contribute to the global society.

Please submit story ideas to mary.forsell@sufsdny.org

Issues of the newsletter are available on the Spackenkill website: www.spackenkillschools.org/district_newsletter_ archive