What's Right with Spackenkill! November 21, 2017


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What's Right with Spackenkill!

November 21, 2017

A tradition of excellence with a vision for tomorrow

Dear Spackenkill Community,

Thanksgiving is almost here. Today I spent some time at Nassau Elementary School enjoying the festivities. I was particularly taken by the performance by the class of Mrs. Davis and Ms. Gomez. This kindergarten presentation was outstanding. I can't recall ever hearing such clear recitation of each child's lines.  They belted out their lines with gusto!

I was just asked when the newsletter will be mailed with the facts about the capital project. The newsletter is at the printer and you should receive it within a week. Please save the date of December 5th at the high school. Just a reminder, parking is reserved for voters in front of the auditorium entrance.

Finally, I would like to add my salute to our student music performers. It is quite the honor to be selected to NYSSMA. 

Happy Thanksgiving! Looking forward to seeing you back on Monday.


Mark Villanti

Mark Villanti, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools


Area All State

The Area All State Music Festival took place at Taconic Hills HS in Craryville, NY, on November 18-19, 2017.  The top performing music students from Columbia, Dutchess and Putnam counties were selected to participate in an intense rehearsal and concert performance.  Baylee Kramer performed in Treble Choir and Vasvi Bhutani, Leo Herrera, Anya Justin, John Mulcahy, and Nitya Upadhyayula performed in Mixed Choir.  Robert DeLaurentis performed in Concert Band, with Eric Choi, Emily Cohen, Annika Hill, Cecelia Kim, Rachel Li, Laura Patkus, Eric Sung, Jeana Chun and Andrew Ruan playing in the Symphony Orchestra.  Congratulations to these students for their hard work!



Music Booster News

music staffBelow is a list of the upcoming concerts, all of which will take place in the high school auditorium at 7 pm.



November 28 (Tuesday) - High School Concert 
December 7 (Thursday) - Elementary Concert #1
December 13 (Wednesday) - 7th & 8th Grade Concert
December 14 (Thursday) -  6th Grade Concert
December 18 (Monday) - Elementary Concert #2


The High School Marching Band will perform in the City of Poughkeepsie's Celebration of Lights Parade Friday, December 1st. The parade steps off at 6:30 pm on Main Street near the municipal parking lot on Crannell Street and travels down Main to the 1st tree lighting at Mural Square Park. It will then continue down Main, crossing the arterial, and eventually turning right onto North Clover Street to Donegan Square Park for the 2nd tree lighting. Fireworks over the Hudson will immediately follow the parade at approximately 7:15 pm. This is the band's first appearance in this parade, so come out and cheer them on!

Cookie Sales Pick-up
Wednesday, November 29th 3 to 6pm at the High School. We apologize for the delay due to an unforeseen technology issue with the vendor. If you require a later pick up time, please let us know and we will try our best to accommodate you. 

Poinsettia Sales 

Please click here for the order form for poinsettias. These will adorn the concert stage for the elementary and middle school concerts and be available to take home following your child's concert. 



Spotlight on the Capital Improvement Project:

Wall Conditions at Hagan Elementary and Todd Middle School

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

Wall Conditions

a discussion with  Dave Downes, Director of Facilities

John Farrell, Principal, Hagan Elementary

and Daniel Doherty, Principal, Todd Middle School

Why does the Hagan cafeteria wall need to be replaced?

Dave Downes: Ever since the East Coldenham Elementary School incident in 1989 in Orange County, when a school cafeteria wall of the same design collapsed, the state has required that design to be reinforced by steel I-beams. The Hagan wall is tipping. You might notice the planter boxes heaved away from the building.  For this project,  the entire wall would come down and be replaced.

John Farrell: While the front wall at Hagan currently poses no health and safety risk to students or staff, it is clearly in need of repair.  There is a large crack on the side of the building, the planter box in front of the building is heaving in certain spots and crumbling in others, and the steps at one of the cafeteria entrances are several inches out of level.  It takes only a quick glance to see that this is an area of Hagan School that needs to be addressed as soon as possible.

Hagan planter is heaving away from the building, above.

What is the problem with the front wall at Todd near the handicapped entrance?

Dave Downes: We know water has penetrated that wall and now it is structurally impaired.

Daniel Doherty: The wall visually depicts the structural issues we have here at Todd.  At a recent evacuation drill, the fire house captain commented on the wall from the parking lot.  He could see the safety concern without it being brought to his attention.  Our "trouble spots" in our building due to our roofs continue to grow.  Our custodial crew do a good job of keeping the students and staff safe, but it is a challenge with every rainfall. 


Upcoming Student Survey 

Spackenkill will be partnering with the Council on Addiction Prevention and Education (CAPE) along with other schools in Dutchess County to offer a survey on Friday, December 1 to students in grades 8, 10 and 12. Student participation is voluntary. If you do not wish for your child to be involved, please notify your school's main office by email. The surveys are used to better understand teenage drug use and what we can do to reduce the use of illegal drugs. The data is provided back to us by county and not by school or by student.

Please click here to read a letter from HS Principal Steve Malkischer about the survey.



SRP Recognition Day

SRP Recognition Day acknowledges the contributions of School-Related Professionals in helping to educate the whole student. NYSUT's 90,000 SRP members perform a variety of key roles in schools, working as bus drivers, school nurses, custodians, secretaries, food service workers, teaching assistants and aides, and in dozens of other job titles. Officially established as law in 2007, SRP Recognition Day falls on the third Tuesday of each November. We are fortunate to have our SRPs!

Left to right: Silvia Sanders, Laura Chavez, Raquel Suarez from Food Service

Bus drivers at a training session, from left to right: Laura Reilly, Wendy McNeill, Mitch and Australia Turner, Vickie Riley, and James Cardascia.

Custodian Charlie Christolon

Teaching Assistant Judianne Middlebrook with student

Nassau Principal's Secretary Patricia Petrillo

Nassau Head Custodian Tony Elting



Evacuation Drill at HS Runs Smoothly

On November 21, the annual full-scale evacuation drill took place at the high school under the direction of School Resource Officer Chris Hamel. 

Students and staff exited the building and followed an evacuation route. Attendance was taken just outside the school. Students and staff were escorted to the football field for a secondary attendance. After all students and staff were accounted for,  students were dismissed to their buses, which were parked on Hagan Drive. Walkers were then dismissed, followed by students who travel by car. Traffic was diverted so as not to interfere with the drill.  Everything ran smoothly.



Teachers Run for Local Charity

Left to right: Teachers Geraldine LaGasse, Kim Rogers, Karin McGuire, and Jennifer Wilson

The third year running event with Sparrow’s Nest has been completed! Spackenkill teachers Karin McGuire, Michelle Pink, and Kim Rogers from Todd Middle School and Geraldine LaGasse and Jennifer Wilson from Hagan Elementary have finished a half marathon (13.1 miles) running #forthosewhocant.  The group includes over 100 runners (pictured below) who participated in races in both Walt Disney World and Las Vegas.  But more important than the races, they are part of a running team that raised over $250,000 for the local Sparrow's Nest charity, which provides meals for Hudson Valley families in which a member is undergoing cancer treatment. In fact, Sparrow’s Nest has helped over 28 people right in our Spackenkill community. Each runner’s commitment is able to feed a family of four for one year. 
Recipients who have received this amazing support spoke at the prerace dinners, describing the impact that Sparrow’s Nest has made and how its members and their assistance  made the darkest of times bearable. These brave speakers provided a poignant reminder of why the runners participate as well as gave them the inspiration to complete the grueling distance. 

The “Spackenkill Sparrows” are extremely grateful to the community for their continuing support at their fundraising events throughout the year, including t-shirt sales, raffles, trivia night, volleyball tournament, pasta dinner, painting event, as well as for every dollar donated “just because.”



Happy Thanksgiving from Nassau Elementary School

Students at Nassau Elementary feasted, made crafts, and even presented a play with a song this week. Thank you to all the parent volunteers who brought in food and helped out.

Ms. Drummond's kindergarten class made fun crafts and then enjoyed a full-course feast in the art room. 


Ms. Fyffe's first grade class had a Thanksgiving feast on Monday. After the students enjoyed their meal, they made a cupcake turkey craft.

All of the second graders were involved in a Thanksgiving Share activity on Monday.  The students have been learning about the history of Thanksgiving and what it means to be thankful.  To celebrate the act of sharing and community, all of the second grade classes made an item to share with each other.  The students enjoyed sharing trail mix, acorn cookies, pumpkin fluff, chili, and a corn and bean salsa. The children enjoyed preparing these items in class, but it was even more fun to share them with their friends in different classes.  Students in Mrs. Strapec's class are shown at right making trail mix. Mrs. Strapec, Mrs. Turner, Mrs. Zanca, Mrs. Boyce, and Mrs. Wilcox would like to thank everyone for donating an item in order for our share to be successful and we hope everyone has a lovely Thanksgiving.


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