What's Right with Spackenkill! December 1, 2017

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

Toys for Tots Drive

STA Applebee's Fundraiser


don't forget to vote on December 5th

Parking for the Capital Improvement Project Vote on Tuesday, December 5th will be across from the High School Auditorium in the coned areas and in the lower parking lot. Voting is from 7 am to 9 pm.


What's Right with Spackenkill!

December 1, 2017

A tradition of excellence with a vision for tomorrow

Dear Spackenkill Community,

I hope that you and your family enjoyed the Thanksgiving holiday. Spending time as a family is my favorite part of the holidays. Pictured below are our enthusiastic second graders enjoying hands-on science experiments as we move toward our recently adopted Science 21 program.
We hope for a good turnout Tuesday at the voting polls, as our public will determine whether we move ahead with the proposed capital project. As usual, parking is reserved for voting in front of the school. We will post the results the next day on our website.
Finally, we are very proud that the high school is one of only 19 schools in New York State nominated for the U.S. Blue Ribbon School Designation. It is a testimony to our students, families, teachers, administrators, support staff, and Board of Education. The entire district, K–12, shares in any success that we may achieve.


Mark Villanti

Mark Villanti, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools


Second Graders Float Their Boats

Last week, students in Mrs. Zanca’s and Mrs. Wilcox’s classes participated in a Mayflower Speed Challenge Reflection STEM Project. The students learned that the ship that brought the Pilgrims to the New World in 1620 took two months to arrive. The students’ task was to design a boat that floats using only an eight-inch-square of aluminum foil, one Styrofoam plate,  a straw, and a 12-inch piece of masking tape. The students formed 13 teams and each boat they produced was unique! Then they tested their designs’ seaworthiness by floating them in a water-filled five-foot-long gutter. Boats were propelled by “wind” from a fan. Times to move from one end of the gutter to the other varied from 5 to 32 seconds, and only four of the 13 designs did not progress, but all floated. After the teams tested their designs, they were given the opportunity to improve them and retry the gutter experiment. Most times were reduced in the second trial. For example, the 32-second speed went down to 19.9 seconds! Clearly the students learned from the experiment. “There was a lot more conversation and group learning this time, compared with their STEM Pumpkin Project in October,” said Mrs. Zanca. Afterward, the students reflected in their STEM journals about what worked well and what they would do differently next time.  “Real engineers would keep going back and trying it,” Mrs. Wilcox told the classes. “So keep trying again and again! It was awesome work!”

planning their boats

Planning their boats

team shows off boat

Showing off a completed design

boat sails entire length of gutterBoat sails entire length of gutter

boat sails quicklyA very fast-moving design



SHS Nominated for National Award

Congratulations to Spackenkill High School for being one of 19 schools in New York State to have been nominated for the Federal Government’s Blue Ribbon Award. The school must now go through an application process and will not know until September of 2018 whether it has been selected.  For more information on the Blue Ribbon Schools Program, please click here to visit the US Department of Education website. 



Live-streamed Siemens Competition Finale

live stream

Spackenkill High School Junior Rachel Li is a National Finalist in the prestigious Siemens Competition.  On Tuesday, December 5 at 11 am, click here or on the above icon to link to a live stream of the 2017 Siemens Competition Winners' Ceremony.




Head Custodian Will Be Missed

Hagan Head Custodian Rodney Pucino is retiring after 33 years at Spackenkill. We wish him all the best!


Dr. Mulford Publishes in Prestigious Journal

Dr. MulfordWe’re pleased to announce that Dr. Lori Mulford, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction, and Pupil Personnel, has published an article in IMPACT, the journal of the New York State Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development (NYSASCD). This particular issue focuses on special education. Please click here to read Dr. Mulford’s article, which begins on page 32. Congratulations!

Computer Club Capital Project Site Is Up & Running

We want to thank teacher Karen Vitek and the high school Computer Club for putting together their own website examining the Capital Improvement Project from their perspective. You might find it interesting to view the interviews they conducted with students and staff. Please click here to access the Computer Club Capital Project site.

Mrs. Vitek working with computer club students
Mrs. Vitek works with students on designing the Capital Improvement Project website.



Spotlight on the Capital Improvement Project:

Field and Track

Please click here ocapital improvement projectr on the image at left to read the brochure about the Capital Improvement Project, which was sent to all residents by mail.

Each week since October 20, we have highlighted an area of the Capital Improvement Project. This final week before the vote on Tuesday, December 5th,  focuses on the state of the track and includes a discussion with staff who make use of the current field.

Track Update

Our current track is in poor condition. Athletes have attributed injuries to using it. "All of the cushioning and support of the track is completely gone," says Boys Varsity Head Soccer Coach and teacher Manny Blanco. "It has become a safety concern for my players.Without replacing the track we could potentially lose our track program. As well, the track is a great resource for our community.

damage on trackArea of track showing wear and tear

track star

Student in track and field program

community enjoying track

Community event at the track

need for lights at night game

Field and track lit for night game by generators. The Capital Improvement Project proposes field lights to provide flexibility in scheduling practices and games.

Field Use: Sports, PE Classes, and Band

The scope of the Capital Improvement Project includes an all-purpose artificial turf field. Not only sports teams use the field. For example,  Pep Band plays there at halftime. Band director Victor Catanzaro comments, "When practicing for the half-time show during the football season at 7:30 in the morning, Pep Band performers' shoes could get wet from the moisture on the field, and as a result students have to remind themselves to bring boots. Also, the numbers on the yard lines are sometimes faded if there hadn’t been a game that week, and we use those numbers to mark our formations. For this reason, a turf field would be benefit the band: It would be easier to move on and do maneuvers.”

PE classes also use the field to take advantage of good weather. PE teachers Don Neise, Heidi Huczel, and Laura Johnson put their heads together to say, “A turf field would allow for safer conditions for all PE classes: Classes could continue after inclement weather from previous days, which otherwise would be shut down due to poor field conditions. Classes would not have to move around to find appropriate field conditions due to overuse. Classes could continue to go outside longer during the school year, which would enhance our curriculum and activity time for students--less time inside one gym. A turf field would allow for consistency in scheduling location. Classes usually have to change locations daily if grounds department have to prep fields--mowing, lining, etc. This would also allow administration the ability to locate classes quickly if necessary.”

Laura Johnson adds, “We take our classes outside as long as the weather permits.  It was fairly warm this fall so we were able to get out quite a bit.  However, the fields are muddy, the grass is wet, not to mention all that mud and grass gets tracked into the building when the students come back in. By the end of the day, the stairways as well as the gym floor are covered in mud and grass. It creates a dangerous situation because the gym floor gets slippery from all the dirt.  Also, it makes a lot of clean up for the custodians. A turf field would eliminate all of this and we could use the fields, weather permitting, longer.  It would be a great addition to our PE program!"

Spackenkill alumnus, Head Varsity Football Coach, and HS Social Studies teacher Clinton DeSouza says, "I have spent over half my life playing or coaching on that field. It has not changed once. When it's hot and dry, it turns to dust that makes it hard for kids to breathe and when it rains it turns into slop and creates craters that make it unsafe. It has become a hazard for the players. This is a unique opportunity to truly invest in our athletic programs."

Aerial view of track showing worn areas

Example of turf field


Experience Midnight Madness!

Tonightscene from last year, Friday, December 1, Midnight Madness takes place in the high school gymnasium from 7 to 9 pm (doors open at 6:30 pm).Admissions for Adults is $5 and for students is $2. This Basketball Club fundraiser began last year and was the prelude to a winning season: “Last year the boys basketball team won the Division, League, and Section IX championships,” says Marco Lanzoni, Director of Health, Physical Education, and Athletics. “The girls basketball team won their Division and were Section IX Class B runner-ups. Both teams return some key players and look to challenge for another division championship this season.”

We're including a few photos from last year's event and asked the Basketball Club about what’s planned for this year:

It's the 2nd annual event. What went so well last year that you wanted to repeat it? 

The players really enjoyed it--it was like a basketball pep rally.  We had approximately 150-plus people show up and everyone seemed to have a good time.  It was the kickoff to the season and a good fundraiser.  We also want to help bolster some community spirit. Go Spartans!!!

Why is it called Midnight Madness when it ends at 9 pm?

Midnight Madness comes from the opening/first official practice for college teams. We couldn’t really do it at midnight for high school--a little late for the younger future Spartans--but thought it would be a good way to begin our season here at Spackenkill.

What types of contests will there be?  
We have a 3-point competition, half-court-shot competition, dress-and-shoot competition. and knockout.


scene from last yearWhat's on the menu?   
Hot dogs and pizza.  We will also have some baked goods, chips, and candy.   We'll also sell some Spiritwear!

What are you raffling off?  
There will be themed baskets and restaurant gift certificates as well as a 50/50.

What other special features can we expect?
There will be an MC, music and, of course, our cheerleaders!

What sorts of activities are there for younger children?  
The younger children are able to participate in the contests--they are primarily the participants. 


History Students Stage Rally

Last week Mr. Boenig and Mr. DeSouza's 10th grade global history class took part in an in-class rally pitting the ideologies of Capitalism and Communism against each other. Students were divided up and given the task of creating a "rally" atmosphere in the class promoting their economic systems. Each side was required to create posters and speeches and then present them to the class on Tuesday, November 21st. Both groups did a great job of going above and beyond on their presentations by creating an anthem with music for their system, dressing up in costume, making and using props during the demonstration, and even writing poetry. The rally also included chants and visual presentations that really took the rally to the next level. 

global rally
Global History students made presentations about different economic systems.


Leadership Event Generates Ideas

leadership conference

On November 20th, adviser Ms. Klein and members of the high school SGO attended the 30th annual NYS Council on Student Leadership and Activities conference in Albany.  SGO student leaders Nyi-Rein Kyaw, Marcella Breglia, Evan Habert, Madison Myers, Madeleine McCall, Mariam Anwar, and Hodo Duale joined some 800 youth at the event.  The students and advisers participated in keynote sessions and workshops on such topics as community service activities and ideas for generating school spirit and fundraising. Nyi-Rein and Marcella also presented a poster session on the Adopt a Family community service program. The students came back inspired with many new ideas to share with others in the club.


District Celebrates Fundraising

The district recently held its second United Way Campaign. It was once again successful, with
Spackenkill raising $6,434 for our local
United Way. Todd/District Office raised
$2,949 and celebrated with a pizza party. Principal Dan Doherty and Secretary Diana Petrocca are pictured above. The pies were generously donated by Tony's Pizza Pit of Poughkeepsie.



pj day
Mrs. Strapec's second grade class enjoyed Pajama Day this week.


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