What's Right with Spackenkill! January 12, 2018

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What's Right with Spackenkill!

January 12, 2018

A tradition of excellence with a vision for tomorrow

Dear Spackenkill Community,

This has been an exciting week of math and science competition at the high school and our students have fared extremely well, as you will notice from the articles in our newsletter. The Regeneron science competition, for example, only selects 300 students in the nation and two of those students are from Spackenkill! Behind every successful student typically are a supportive family and a teacher who challenges students to achieve their best. Congratulations to all of you!

We can’t be thankful enough to the PTA and PTSA in the district. This has been a great year for both organizations and for many reasons I am indebted to their hard work on behalf of the children in the district.

There is no school on Monday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King. 


Mark Villanti

Mark Villanti, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools


Schools Honor Dr. King

Dr. Martin Luther King bulletin board  at HaganAs we look ahead to Martin Luther King Day this coming Monday, January 15th (school is not in session), each building has been honoring Dr. King’s memory in unique ways. Nassau students have been reading books and Scholastic news articles about Dr. King and have also watched a few videos about his life and times.  Some classes are doing activities based on heroes, making a difference, and dreams for the future. Teachers have held discussions about the changesTodd bulletin board honoring Dr. King our country has gone through over the last few decades.

Todd Middle School and Hagan Elementary School have created bulletin boards (shown above and right) to serve as reminders of Dr. King's contributions. At the High School, Youth Against Racism is planning a "dream board" on which students can write messages of hope during lunch periods on this coming Tuesday. How will you honor Dr. King?


Ways to Help the Diamond Family

Efforts are under way across the district to help the Diamond family following the loss of beloved coach and Spackenkill alumnus Greg Diamond. The family preference has been to create a scholarship fund for the children’s future education. Checks can be given to the following building reps:

Bill Murin at Nassau

Ashley Murin at Hagan

Wendy Strawn at Todd

Laura Johnson at SHS

Hagan is collecting cash and creating gift cards.

The high school main office will accept cash donations if people or groups wish to contribute in this way. 

SRO Gets Sentimental Sendoff

Every school building in the district paid tribute this week to retiring School Resource Officer Chris Hamel, who is also finishing his service with the Poughkeepsie Police Department. A highlight was when the second grade classes at Nassau presented Officer Hamel with a unique present on Monday. “We hope these are the last set of fingerprints you receive,” student representatives recited as he opened the gift, a canvas that contains the thumbprints of each second grade student. The artwork also included such messages as “You’ve touched our hearts” and “You’ve imprinted our lives!” Officer Hamel remarked that this is "one of the most special gifts" he has ever been given.   Later in the week, the District Safety Committee and District Office said their fond farewells to Officer Hamel and welcomed new SRO Corey Kilfoyle.

Officers Kilfoyle and Hamel with cake Nassau students present Chris Hamel with commemorative art
Officers Kilfoyle (left) and Hamel are feted at the District Office. Officer Hamel receives the gift of commemorative art from the Nassau second grade.


STEM Scholars Soar

Regeneron winnersCongratulations to future STEM leaders Jessica Cohen (far left) and Jeana Chun, who have been named as top 300 Scholars in the 77th Regeneron Science Talent Search—the nation’s oldest and most prestigious science and mathematics competition for high school seniors. They will each receive $2,000. Spackenkill HS will also receive $2,000 per scholar to use toward STEM-related activities. The students could also be named as one of 40 Finalists who each receive $25,000 and are invited to Washington, DC, for the final competition in March. The top prize for the most well-rounded emerging STEM leader in the United States is $250,000. More than 1,800 students entered the competition this year.


Science Olympians Scoop Up Medals

Science Olympiad team

Two teams participated at the Science Olympiad Invitational Competition at Columbia High School on Saturday, January 6th.

The A team placed 3rd overall versus 31 teams attending.

The following students earned medals for individual events:

Anatomy and Physiology (2nd) Anya Justin, Sharon Devlin
Anatomy and Physiology (3rd)   Jeana Chun, Sneha Kamada
Astronomy (3rd) Jeremy Webster, Ian Horvath
Chemistry Lab (2nd)   Tomas Herrera, Rachel Li
Dynamic Planet (2nd)   Andrew Wu, Zachary Johnson
Experimental Design (2nd) Nyi-Rein Kyaw, Sharon Devlin,  Shinyee Su
Fermi Questions (2nd)     Jeremy Webster, Albert Yao
Materials Science (2nd)  Rachel Li, Jessica Cohen
Microbe Mission (3rd) Jeana Chun, Sneha Kamada
Mission Possible (3rd)   Tomas Herrera, Jeremy Webster
Thermodynamics (3rd) Jessica Cohen, Ian Horvath
Science Bowl (2nd) Zachary Johnson, Albert Yao, Luke Hannan


DUSO Successes

Congratulations to the Mathematics Team for its performance in the January DUSO (Dutchess/Ulster/Sullivan/Orange) Math League meet.  

The A team came in first with a score of 25 points. 

The B team tied for second with 17 points.

The C team tied for third with 14 points.

The D team came in fourth with 12 points.

Jeana Chun, Anya Justin, and Andrew Wu each scored a meet high of 5.  Rachel Li, Cynthia Ma, Adele Long, Emily Ma, Sneha Kamada, Yanlam Ko, and Justin Moore each scored 4.



Norovirus Alert

Dutchess County Department of Behavioral & Community Health is reporting clusters of norovirus cases around the county. Norovirus is very contagious and spreads through contact with people, food, water, or surfaces.  Symptoms of the virus include any or all of the following: stomach pain; nausea; watery, nonbloody diarrhea; vomiting.

Symptoms can start within 12-48 hours of exposure and usually last between 1-3 days. The very young, the elderly, and those with chronic health conditions may be affected more severely. Those who have the virus are at risk of dehydration and are urged to drink plenty of fluids.

Anyone who is symptomatic should avoid contact with others for at least 72 hours after the symptoms have subsided. Others can be infected from the start of symptoms until three days after recovery. Those who have the virus should not prepare food for others. It is important for everyone to be vigilant about handwashing.  Norovirus can remain on surfaces for weeks. To clean and disinfect surface areas use a chlorine bleach solution of five tablespoons of bleach per gallon of water or other EPA-registered disinfectant.

Click here for key facts about norovirus.


PARP Kickoff Brings Community Together



The Pick a Reading Partner (PARP) event at Boardman Library on Wednesday night was a huge success! Thank you to all the families who attended (some 120 people!) and all those who helped make the evening so great:  the Poughkeepsie Public Library District and staff (especially Children's Librarians Miss Laura and Miss Rose); celebrity readers Ms. Spiegel, Mr. Andreas, and Arlington Fire District Chief Gallante; volunteers Mrs. McGurl and Ms. Drummond; and of course PARP Chairs Yvonne Laube and Terry Mooney. Students are now encouraged to complete their Reading is Magical reading logs. All Spackenkill Elementary families and staff are invited to the finale magic show and party on Friday, February 2 at Crown Heights Clubhouse. The show begins at 6 pm.  See you then!

  Reading Is Magical Making magical crafts
Mr. Andreas singing Pete the Cat Fire Chief Gallante reads Unicorn Thinks He Is Pretty Great
  Clockwise from top left: Reading Is Magical is this year's PARP theme; students and parents work on book-related crafts; Fire Chief Gallante reads from "Unicorn Thinks He's Pretty Great"; Mr. Andreas tells the story of Pete the Cat. 





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