What's Right with Spackenkill! December 8, 2017


What's Right with Spackenkill!

December 8, 2017

A tradition of excellence with a vision for tomorrow

Dear Spackenkill Community,

This has been an amazing week, as you will notice in reading this edition of What’s Right with Spackenkill!  Our long-awaited Capital Project vote was completed. I would like to thank everyone who took time out of their busy schedules to participate in voting, regardless of your personal sentiment. It was a near-record turnout. I want to thank all of the organizations that worked to educate and inform the public on this Capital Project. It is our intention as a district moving forward to warrant the confidence that you have placed in us by affirming the proposition. We will work hard and smart to complete this project on schedule, with quality, and as efficiently as possible to save money.

It is my expectation that we will institutionalize maintenance schedules and protocols that facilitate the care of our roofs, mechanical systems, and field and track. You have rewarded us with a vote of confidence and we will now need to live up to your expectations.

This will not be the end of the Board’s conversation, as we will be reporting back regularly regarding the process of implementation. Be safe!


Mark Villanti

Mark Villanti, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

Pep Band Drums Up Holiday Spirit

pep bandLast Friday night, the Spackenkill High School Pep Band marched in Poughkeepsie's Festival of Lights Parade for the first time. Please click here to enjoy a brief video of the band marching. Even their instruments were festively decorated!



Unprecedented SHS Achievements

Rachel Li with team membersHigh School Junior Rachel Li was a big winner at the National Siemens Competition in Math, Science, and Technology, coming in second place with her team of two other students at the finals at George Washington University. The team won $50,000 in scholarship funds. Kudos on this amazing accomplishment! 

Rachel Li is pictured at far left with team-mates Chelsea Wang of Fort Collins, Colorado, and Jainil Sutaria of Ardsley High School. Photo: Siemens Foundation.

Spackenkill High School had its first match with QuestBridge’s College Match, a national program that pairs high-achieving, low-income high school seniors with full scholarships to top colleges. From a pool of 15,606 applicants, from which QuestBridge chose 5,759 finalists, 918 outstanding students have been selected nationwide. The Spackenkill senior has received a substantial scholarship package to a highly competitive school. QuestBridge’s education partners include such top liberal arts colleges has Amherst, Colby, Hamilton, Pomona, and Williams and such exceptional research universities as Brown, Columbia, Duke, UChicago, Stanford, and Yale. Not only is this a life-changing opportunity for the student, but for the student’s family as well.  We extend our congratulations and encourage qualifying students to apply for next year!



High School Staff Honored for Longevity

hs staff

On December 5th SHS honored its teachers and staff who have 10 to 19 years of service with the district. In ascending order of longevity they are:

Marco Lanzoni, Joan Dwyer, Andrew Mosca, Chris Rogers,
Karl Miemis, Clinton DeSouza, Victor Catanzaro,
Jane DeChristopher, Jay McAnney , Tina Campala,
Cathy Mahoney, Laura Johnson, Sam Lawhorne, Julie Carter, Marissa Kaczynski, Jim Daley, Teri Tucci, Christine Scivolette, Joan Horning, Steven Malkischer, Kristin Oakley, Jenn Fahy, Heidi Huczel, Karen Baker, Janet Stong, Jen Maloney,
Deb Hourahan, Kathleen Defreest, Dan Zammiello, Kim Sottile, Geri Vasely, Holly Fashona, Eleanor Pupko, Sheri Lynch,
Rebecca Chauossoglou-Rotter, Adam Hammond, Jodi Girard, Peter Spadaro, Mark Reed, Peggy Pisano, Donna O’Sullivan,
Tom Mulvihill, Diane McCarron, Kristine Chen, Lara Bogdan, Deborah Ruggiero, Roberto Romani, Frank Kane, Marianne Vitale, and, finally,
Sherry Ulrich with 22 Years with district!!    




Adopt a Family Seeks Donations

adopt a family treeAdopt a Family trees are up in the main lobby in every building. The Spackenkill High School Chapter of the Leo Club has been spearheading this program for 27 years and collecting donations for families in need in our community. We encourage staff, students, and parents to take a Post-it note from your building’s lobby tree and bring the new, unwrapped item listed on the tag to your school’s collection box by Monday, December 18. Thank you for your generosity!



All-State Students Perform

Laura Patkus and Eric Choi were chosen by the New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) to participate in the All-State String Orchestra.  The festival took place in Rochester on November 30th through December 3rd.  Laura (viola) and Eric (violin) rehearsed for three days and performed a celebration concert on Saturday evening at the Eastman Theater, which is part of the Eastman School of Music. All-State students are the top students from across New York State (as opposed to Area All State, which is comprised of top students from Dutchess, Putnam, and Columbia counties). Hundreds of students apply to All-State, which makes it extremely competitive and therefore an honor to be selected. Congratulations also to Rachel Li (violin) and Jeana Chun (flute), who were accepted as alternates this year.  We are very proud to have Spackenkill so well represented at this year's All-State Festival!

all state performance

all state draws top musicians



Making Their Mark!

students speaking with Dr. Villanti

On the opening day of school, the middle school guidance counselors held an assembly and placed a bulletin-board-size piece of blank white paper near the gym floor where all students would see it as they passed by.  During the assembly, the counselors talked about ways that students could leave their positive marks on the school.  “What mark will you make on Todd Middle School this year?” they asked at the end of the assembly.

Fast forward to Friday, December 1st, when the counselors and Principal Dan Doherty joined the lunch periods.  Each student was given a Post-it and asked to write down a positive mark. It could be something that the student did or witnessed another student doing during the first quarter.  During the discussion, students enjoyed a slide show of pictures from the Yearbook Club while they listened to music highlighting acceptance and kindness. They also spent time speaking with Superintendent Villanti (shown here with students). Afterward, students placed their Post-its on the sheet of white paper on a bulletin board, leaving over 120 positive marks ranging from helping in the classroom to being kind to other students!

watching a video in the dining hall

Watching a video in the dining hall

posting their notes

 Posting notes


Todd Scientists Explore Climate and Energy Topics

On Thursday, November 30, middle school students attended a Climate Science Interactive Field Trip at the Boardman Road Branch of the Poughkeepsie Library. Students from Dutchess Community College's Environmental Economics Class conducted demonstrations, presentations, and discussions. Students learned about alternative fuel sources and talked about electric cars and biofuel. Ecological Footprint Bingo was a fun activity. They also watched a video about solar power and answered questions for a chance to win a solar-powered rover! 

learning about how food waste contributes to global warming

Measuring how food waste contributes to global warming


Conducting a cost analysis of how regular cars compare with electric cars

Conducting a cost analysis of how regular cars compare with electric cars

DCC student demonstrates how solar works using light-powered rover

DCC student demonstrates how solar works using light-powered rover

learning about renewable energy vs fossil fuels

Learning about renewable energy vs fossil fuels

exploring algae as an energy source

Investigating algae as an energy source

Taking a quiz on solar power and showing answers

Taking a quiz on solar power and showing answers


Students Code at Hagan


hour of code at Hagan

All Hagan students  participated  in Computer Science Education Week. Each class took part in the Hour of Code Challenge. Students used the Minecraft game to learn the basics of coding.


Concerts Celebrate the Season

On November 28,  the Spackenkill High School Winter Concert ushered in the holiday season. It was a great show of talent. Congratulations to students and their teachers!

Women's choir lifts their voices.

Women's Choir lifted their voices.

The Spackenkill Symphony Orchestra was amazing.

The Spackenkill Symphony Orchestra sounded amazing!

Concert choir expressed the beauty of the season.

Concert Choir expressed the beauty of the season...

and some even put on their Santa hats!

...and some even put on their Santa hats!

Concert band did an energetic set.

Concert Band did an energetic set.

The Chamber Orchestra drew plenty of applause.

The Chamber Orchestra drew plenty of applause.

On December 7, Hagan Elementary held an in-school concert as well as an evening event at the high school. The musicians and choristers were outstanding, and those who saw the in-school show will long remember Mr. Farrell's solo on the triangle! He will repeat the performance at Elementary Concert #2 with Gold Strings on Monday, December 18.

Thank you to the teachers!

Concert band played such memorable songs as "Attack of the Snowmen" and "Starburst Fanfare."

Concert Band played such memorable songs as "Attack of the Snowmen" and "Starburst Fanfare."

Concert Band taking a bow.

Concert Band taking a bow with teacher Pennie Burgess.

Ms. Valentine conducting Gold Strings.

Ms. Valentine conducts Gold Strings.

3rd grade chorus

Third Grade Chorus sang "Menorah Glow" and "Snow."

Fourth and fifth grade chorus did a beautiful job.

Conducted by Ms. Berube, Fourth and Fifth Grade Chorus sang beautifully.

One of the highlights of the show was when fourth and fifth grade chorus sang "Light a Candle."

One of the highlights of the in-school performance was when Fourth and Fifth Grade Chorus sang "Light a Candle."


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