What's Right with Spackenkill! October 27, 2017


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What's Right with Spackenkill!


October 27, 2017

A tradition of excellence with a vision for tomorrow

Dear Spackenkill Community,

Wow! Reading this issue of our newsletter, "wow" is the first word that came to mind. There are just so many good programs, lessons, and activities happening in each school and classroom at Spack!

Let me focus on one person and then one concept in my note to you. 

First, Mr. Humphrey is a remarkable man! Having attended the golf team's celebration of their season, coupled with Mr. Humphrey's announcement that he is retiring from his long coaching career, I learned so much about our golf team and this dedicated and humble coach. I was also very proud of the team not simply because of their championship season, but also because of their efforts to thank Mr. Humphrey in such a gracious manner.

My second comment is a reference to our Community Building theme in our Strategic Plan. Schools do not function alone. They require volunteers and support from the community. In only one short week, we were assisted by our local fire department, county historical society, library district, town police, as well as parent volunteers like Mr. Klein and the PTA. This is a very special issue. Look at the happy faces in each photo. You can't help experiencing what's right with Spackenkill!


Mark Villanti, Ed.D. 
Superintendent of Schools




Golf Awards Pay Tribute to Retiring Coach 

Parents and students recognized Varsity Golf Coach Keith Humphrey at their end-of-season awards and get-together on October 25 in the Todd Dining Hall. Coach Humphrey gave a lively presentation highlighting the accomplishments of each player.  "We were the team to beat," he said, reminiscing about the past season. Led by Coach Humphrey, the team has earned 13 division titles and five league titles over the past 14 years. A highlight of the evening was golfer Eric Stauderman reading a letter to the team from professional golfer Sherri Steinhaurer, who retired from the LPGA Tour in 2012 and is a personal friend of the coach. Please click here to read her words of wisdom to the team.

When he officially retires this spring, Mr. Humphrey will have coached the golf team from the 2004 through the 2018 seasons. In addition, he taught math for four years at the high school and computer programming for 25 years at the middle school, retiring seven years ago but continuing to coach. He met his wife, Marcine, who taught English for 27 years at the high school, in room 103 (now Guidance).

As a followup, Coach Humphrey wrote in an email a few days later, "I wanted to thank the team, the parents, and the Spackenkill School District for giving me the opportunity to coach this amazing golf program over the past 14 years. It's been great -- no doubt about it! Thanks for the memories and I wish each team member all of the best."


Pictured from left to right are teammates John Conti, Ryan Lo, Collin Smith, Zachary Cioffi, Ryan Ackert, Erik Stauderman, Nicholas Sassano, Rachel Curatolo, Gavin Kerr, Oliver Katz, Johnny Mulcahy, Madison Myers, Robert DeLaurentis, and Coach Humphrey.

Coach Keith Humphrey with Marcine Humphrey, both retired Spackenkill teachers.

The team presented Coach Humphrey with a commemorative throw and a plaque thanking him for 14 years of coaching and amazing dedication.

Gifts for the athletes.

Seniors Erik Stauderman and Ryan Ackert show off trophies.



To Resident Veterans of the Spackenkill Community:

To honor all who have served in the military for our country you are formally invited to Todd Middle School for a Veterans Day Assembly on Thursday, November 9th at 9:00 AM.

We would also like to extend this invitation to other family members who are veterans.

Please come and enjoy music by the Todd Middle School Orchestra, guest speakers, speeches by our student government President and Vice President and a breakfast reception.

Please click here for our Veterans Day letter and full details on how to RSVP.

Spotlight on the Capital Project:

District Roofs

Each week until the vote on December 5, we will highlight an aspect of the proposed Capital Project.

District Roofs

a discussion with Dave Downes, facilities director

At 57% of the total cost, roof replacement is the lion’s share of the capital project. Dave Downes explains the reason behind the cost and the need.

Why are all the warranties up at the same time? 

In 2005 and 2006 their 20-year warranties were up and were extended 10 years by adding three inches of foam with a silicone coating layer to extend the warranty another 10 years.

What are the signs that the roofs are showing issues?

The foam top layer (the roof that was sprayed on top of existing built-up roof system of tar and asphalt) began to blister and crack, which allowed water to enter the area between the foam and built-up roof. When that happens the roof becomes saturated and is no longer able to hold back the weather, and it’s not energy efficient. The roofs are hard to drain and snow removal is difficult, so they take a beating.

How much roof are we talking about?

Over seven acres of flat roofs for all four school buildings.

Can't you just fix the leaks?

It is hard to find where all the leaks in the buildings originated because water can travel hundreds of feet between the two layers of roofs.

What happens if we don't replace the roofs?

Conditions will worsen. The upside is that New York State will cover an estimated 58 percent of the cost of the project. 



Support Leo Club 

Come out to the LeZombiefesto Club’s 7th Annual Zombie Fest, to be held tomorrow, October 28, from 6-7:30 pm for a spooky, old-fashioned circus-themed zombie trail, games, food, and more! All proceeds go toward Adopt-A-Family and The Lunchbox and our other good works! Tickets are $5.

Leo Club  has reached a new high in membership applications at 153, which translates to 30% of the school! Eighty members have already volunteered for at least an hour, for a total of 300 hours volunteered by October 1st.  The club is well on its way to the goal of logging 1,000 hours and having 100 members complete the 10 hours required for membership.  

Leo club



Mathematics Team Off to a Great Start

Congratulations Mathematics Team for your strong showing ​at the first DUSO meet! (DUSO is short for Dutchess-Ulster-Sullivan-Orange.)

Spack A took first place with 28 points.  
Spack B was in a 3-way tie for second place with 21 points.
Spack C and Spack D were in a 4-way tie for third place with 17 points.  
Spack E scored 14 points.

Anya Justin, Rachel Li, Cynthia Ma and Andrew Wu all had perfect scores of 6.
Jeana Chun, Tomás Herrera, Zachary Johnson, Emily Ma and Jeremy Webster each scored 5.



Volleyball Wins MHAL Championship

Volleyball defeated Millbrook in the semi-finals and then Wallkill in the finals to win the MHAL Championship. This is the second year in a row the team won the league title!  Congrats to the team, Head Coach Cassi Diamond, and Assistant Coaches  Amanda Lewis and Wendy Strawn. 

Sectional play starts Monday home against New Paltz at 5 PM.

Post Season Schedule

Cross Country - MHAL Championship today at Ogden Mills at 11am.
Girls Soccer - Section IX finals today against Rhinebeck at Middletown HS at 3pm
Football - Section IX semi-finals on Saturday, Oct. 28th against New Paltz at Dietz Stadium in Kingston at 3pm
Volleyball -  Section IX quarterfinals on Monday, Oct. 30th against New Paltz at Spackenkill HS at 5pm 



Todd Community Initiatives

Miles of Hope

Last Friday, Todd Middle School teachers and staff marked Miles of Hope Day for the second year by wearing pink to show support for women and families affected by breast cancer in the Hudson Valley.

Miles of Hope started as a grassroots organization in 2004 to raise awareness of and support for the women and families affected by breast cancer in nine counties of the Hudson Valley. Contact Amanda Tierney if you have any questions, want to participate/volunteer, or if you or someone you know is in need of any support: amanda.tierney@sufsdny.org.

Read more about the foundation at http://milesofhope.org/mission/



Mrs. Vila’s students at Todd are collecting money to donate to UNICEF as they learn about children in need globally. There is a donation box in the main office.

Read more about the program by following these links:





Science Olympiad Students Plan for Success

Middle School Science Olympiad is in the planning stages for its upcoming competition this spring. Mrs. Pink is the advisor, and her husband, Mr. Pink, will also help the team. There has been such a high turnout for Science Olympiad for the last two years that Mrs. Pink added a second team, so now there are  A and B teams. Students have to earn a designated number of points to be on the A team.

The teams compete in both academic (test taking) and building/activity competitions. Categories include hovercraft, thermodynamics (build something that holds heat), potions and poisons (create chemical reactions), and mystery architecture (turn items into sturdy architecture, as tall as possible). 

Students team up to work on projects and topics.

Seventh grader Jeet Shahani holds up a tower he made himself that he will use in a competition.


The club meets twice a week, requiring a strong commitment from members.

Firefighters Educate Elementary Students

To promote Fire Prevention Week, members of the Arlington Fire District visited Hagan and Nassau elementary schools. Students learned the importance of stop, drop, and roll if their clothes catch fire, took a tour of a fire truck, and saw a video about fire safety and prevention in a fire safety house. The safety house comes with its own stove with mock paper flames to mimic the real thing. A simulated smoke drill taught students how to get out by staying low.

Hagan third graders practice leaving a smoke-filled building by staying low.

Taking a tour of the fire truck at Hagan.

Nassau students learn to stop, drop, and roll.

Mrs. Strapec's second grade class poses with firefighters after touring the truck.


Students Explore Native American Trunk

Hagan students are taking part in the Poughkeepsie Public Library District's Little Read, which focuses on Native American history and culture. Each of the third and fourth grade students were given a copy of Joseph Bruchac’s book The Warriors, and the author will visit Hagan on November 2nd to discuss his work in an assembly.

As an exciting tie-in, the Library District was able to loan a trunk of authentic Iroquois artifacts prepared by the Dutchess County Historical Society. The Trunk contains such items as an Iroquois headdress, a turtle rattle, a wampum belt, and a coyote pelt. In these photos, Mrs. Burlingame and Mrs. Diaz-Batista’s 4th grade class explore the contents of the trunk.

The Little Read, including Joseph Bruchac's books and author visit, are made possible by a grant from the NEA and generous support from many sponsors. The Native American Artifact Trunk loan is made possible by support of the Dutchess County Historical Society and the Friends of the Poughkeepsie Public LIbrary District. 


Mrs. Burlingame explains how wampum was once used.


Students examine native artifacts.



Students guessed at the types of animals associated with skulls.


A turtle shell rattle is an example of how native peoples made good use of objects all around them.



Parent Teaches Songwriting Basics

Mr. Klein from the Steve Anthony Band recently came to speak to Mrs. Boyce’s class about editing and recording songs. He explained how a recording studio works and what it’s like to work with musicians and vocalists. After listening to Mr. Klein, students worked on writing their own songs and brainstormed rhyming words.  Mr. Klein even sang with his daughter, Reagan. Mrs. Boyce commented on how perfectly Mr. Klein’s talk ties in to the curriculum. “We have been focusing on revisiting our work for revisions,” she said.

Student Isabella Molon waits to hear what Mr. Klein thinks of the song she wrote. 

Mr. Klein with his daughter, Reagan.


HS Students Give French Lessons

Students from Brittany Hart's Honors French classes visited Nassau students to teach them about the culture of France through PowerPoints---and also to give them a mini foreign language lesson. Thank you to students Mauro Gonzalez, Karthik Dusi,  Ayman Ali, Jessica Cohen, Shinyee Su, and Manavi Jaluka.

Students watch a PowerPoint on French culture and geography.


Jessica Cohen, Shinyee Su, and Manavi Jaluka.answer questions about visiting France.



Pumpkin Science Counts as Fun

The Kindergarten class of Mrs. Andrea Davis, Ms. Gomez, and Mrs. Sherilla investigated pumpkins last week.

They talked about their size, shape and color, measured how tall they were with Unifix cubes,  weighed them, compared the similarities and differences between them, checked them out inside (the pulp), scooped all of the insides out (with both their hands as well as spoons), counted the seeds, observed and discussed what the outside of the pumpkin felt like and looked like, and turned the pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns using shapes. 

This week, Ms. Drummond and Mrs. Scoralick's classes also explored pumpkins in detail, weighing and measuring them, and even predicting whether they would float or not. They did!



Observing that pumpkins actually float...



Perking Up the Playground

Last Saturday morning, school social worker Tracie Phillips gathered helpers to transform the Nassau playground with painted details for activities and games. Thank you to all who came out with paintbrush or roller in hand. Abby Straus and Udaya Rattan from the Spackenkill Leo Club stenciled beautiful details. Also on hand were Cub Scout pack 223 with Cubmaster Jeff Cohen; Girl Scout Troop 10056 with leader Lisa Bradly; and members of the Spackenkill Elementary PTA.




Students Learn How to Celebrate Safely

Officers from the Town of Poughkeepsie Police Department visited Nassau Elementary School today to talk about Halloween safety. The students watched a video and then answered questions about safe trick-or-treating practices, such as walking in well-lit areas and always examining treats with an adult before consuming them.


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