What's Right with Spackenkill, November 3, 2017

Please see flyer(s) that might be of interest:

DC Stabilization Center

Locust Grove Holiday Book Sale

STA Book Swap

PTA Fundraiser


What's Right with Spackenkill!

November 3, 2017

A tradition of excellence with a vision for tomorrow


Dear Spackenkill Community,

There is a line in James Goldman's The Lion in Winter that has always stuck in my head. Eleanor says, “Every family has its ups and downs.” It is spoken as an understatement with sarcastic tones. The fact is, though, that it's true. Every family has ups and downs and occasionally a family may experience more than a "down" or a family crisis. So where does one turn? Recently, I attended a meeting of all county school superintendents and learned about the Dutchess County Stabilization Center. This is a 24/7 service that provides a family with an option right away. We are attaching a flyer that describes this confidential service that has been around less than one year. Just a reminder, there is school on November 7th, as the conference day has been moved to November 17th, and school is closed on November 10th in observance of Veteran's Day. Great energy in each school as revealed in this edition of What's Right with Spackenkill!


Mark Villanti, Ed.D. 
Superintendent of Schools


NHS Inducts New Members

The National Honor Society inducted 56 new members on October 26. Thirteen seniors and 43 juniors joined the society.  Congratulations to the inductees and to co-advisers Christine Scivolette and Maureen Tremblay. Teacher Elaine Moss was also honored at the ceremony during the Recognition of Retiring Faculty segment.

 Please click here for the NHS program.




Staff Attend Dutchess County Workshop

Spackenkill social workers, counselors, and psychologists recently attended the Dutchess County Building Bridges Conference at Locust Grove. The conference informs participants of new services for children and youth in Dutchess County, offers workshops to increase knowledge, and enhances connections between school and the community to improve outcomes for children and families. High School Social Worker Joann Klein (pictured fourth from left, seated)  participated in a workshop panel titled "When Anxiety Affects School Attendance." 


SHS Scores High on Ratings Site

The website greatschools.org just came out with new school ratings. When you  plug in a zip code, a list of local schools with ratings come up. GreatSchools summary ratings follow a 1-10 scale, where 10 is the highest and 1 is the lowest. Spackenkill High School came in overall at 9! It scored a 10 for college readiness, with 9s in the Test Scores and Advanced Courses categories. According to the website:  “The GreatSchools Summary Rating ,,, provides an overall snapshot of school quality based on how well a school prepares all its students for postsecondary success—be it college or career.” 



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:

HVAC Upgrades


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

HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning) / Mechanical Upgrades

a discussion with Dave Downes, facilities director

and Marco Lanzoni, director of health, physical education, and athletics

Why is HVAC important beyond temperature control?

DD: It’s a health and safety issue. If we don’t have a good air exchange in an occupied area, the one person who gets sick is going to get everyone else sick.

What’s the state of the HVAC equipment?
DD: We’re still using original equipment in these buildings from when they were built in the 1960s and 1970s.  Especially in larger areas, such as the gyms, auditoriums, and cafeterias. the key is to have more reliable mechanical equipment, ventilation, and air movement.

Can you give an example of how this aging equipment affects students?
ML: When the HVAC system is not running properly the gymnasium becomes very hot and humid.  This negatively impacts our students, especially in August when we start fall sports.  Asthmatics have a difficult time working out in the gym during these conditions.  Even in the winter months, when the gymnasium is full for basketball games, the gym becomes very hot and you can feel the moisture in the air.     


The HS gymnasium becomes quite warm when filled with people.

Activity Fair Offers Choices

The SHS Student Government's Club and Activity Fair, held outside the cafeteria on November 1st, introduced students to the many choices available to learn something new and participate in a meaningful extracurricular activity.




Volleyball Victorious!

The Volleyball Team defeated New Paltz on Monday and Rondout on Wednesday in the Section IX Tournament. They look to defend their Section IX title this Sunday when they play Port Jervis in the championship game at Mount Saint Mary College at 12 PM.  The team has already won the league championship, which was held October 25th. Go Spartans!



Chromebooks Come to Nassau

Technology Integrator Marcella Byrne has been doing Chromebook introductions all week at Nassau. Students logged into the Chromebooks using Clever, got on to Google Classroom, and even played Kahoot. Kindergartners signed on with their badges.


Science Experiments Are Fun for 2nd Graders

As part of a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) series, Mrs. Zanca’s and Mrs. Wilcox’s second grade classes learned about engineering this week when they took on the challenge of making pumpkin stands using straws, scissors, and tape. The goal was to support the weight of a pumpkin so that it does not touch the ground. The students had 10 minutes to plan their designs individually and then 10 minutes to plan in teams. The teams then had 30 minutes to construct their own pumpkin stands using tape and scissors. At the end of the time limit, the students put their creations on display. They learned the value of teamwork, that triangles are stronger than squares for holding weight, and that it’s a lot harder than it looks to construct a pumpkin stand! There will be more STEM activities ahead so stay tuned!
In another STEM activity on Monday, Mrs. Zanca’s and Mrs. Boyce’s 2nd  grade classes learned about states of matter and chemical and physical reactions when they made their own mystery substances. In this hands-on activity, the students observed how the ingredients changed as a result of being dissolved together or through stirring and heating. The results were Slime and homemade Play-Doh and the students got to take them home, along with recipes!

On Tuesday (Halloween!) Mrs. Strapec's and Mrs. Turner's second graders were treated to a delicious snack when they made root beer floats in class to observe how a solid can change to a liquid and then to a gas right before their eyes.  The scientists made predictions and then recorded the results after the experiment.  The students have been learning about states of matter this month and have worked hard.  The teachers were happy to do such a fun experiment in class with their students -- especially on Halloween!

Click here for mystery substance recipes.

Students collaborate to figure out how to build a pumpkin stand.

Working with straws is harder than it looks.


Teams tried different strategies in building their stands.

Mrs. Boyce describes the science behind slime. Root beer floats make perfect Halloween science experiments.   Mrs. Zanca works with a student to heat up ingredients for homemade Play-Doh.

Halloween Highlights

Halloween has always been huge at Spackenkill. Enjoy these photos taken around the schools to celebrate the season. Not only the students dressed up: You'll see staff and parents in full costume, too!


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