What's Right with Spackenkill! January 19, 2018

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What's Right with Spackenkill!

January 19, 2018

A tradition of excellence with a vision for tomorrow

Dear Spackenkill Community,

One of the challenges in K – 16 education is the number of students who graduate high school in good standing and for a variety of reasons start college and drop out.

It’s a complicated problem, and one contributor to the issue is that many students are not motivated to finish four-year college degrees and do not fully understand that there are good paying and satisfying careers with two-year college degrees. In the Hudson Valley, there is a shortage of qualified applicants in manufacturing-related careers. Hats off to our guidance department and our local trade association that visited the high school and began a conversation with our students concerning the local job market and options that are available.

I enjoyed my visits to Hagan today, watching the Geography Bee and the Special Education Olympics presentations. Congratulations to the classroom participants! At Monday’s Board of Education meeting, our elementary principals will be sharing school performance data and goals for the future as well as a presentation on our mentoring program.


Mark Villanti

Mark Villanti, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools


Dr. Martin Luther King Remembered

YAR MLK Dream Board


Students Explore Modern
Manufacturing Careers 



On Wednesday, January 10, the guidance and science departments hosted three speakers from the local manufacturing industry to talk about career opportunities for all students, whether or not they are college bound. Johnnieanne Hansen, Director of Workforce and Apprentice Coordinator for The Council of Industry, spoke to classes about the wealth of high-tech manufacturing right here in the Hudson Valley. “Manufacturing is bigger than you know,” she said. Ms. Hansen encouraged students to visit the website gomakeit.org to learn about career opportunities in this booming industry. “You learn a trade that you can build on as you gain problem-solving skills.” 

Robb Engle of Sono-Tek spoke with Physical Science and Introduction to Engineering classes about the Milton-based company’s pioneering work in ultrasonic atomization technology. After more than 35 years, the company continues to prosper and is always interested in reviewing resumes for machinist positions. Visit sono-tek.com.

Steven Pomeroy, Owner and President of Poughkeepsie's Schatz Bearing Corp., addressed the Principles of Engineering class about the continued rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) -- the science of using algorithms to develop computer software that is capable of reasoning, problem solving, and decision making. AI will be a leading force in driving opportunities in the job market, especially in the engineering realm, he said. Visit schatzbearing.com

The third speaker, Mark Harris, Director of Manufacturing of LoDolce Machine Company in Saugerties, specializing in precision machining and fabrication, gave the MST class an overview of the diverse manufacturers in the area, making parts for aerospace, military drones, medical machines, and more. “Everything you do, everything you touch, someone has had to manufacture,” he said. LoDolce currently has nine apprentices and is always looking for people with computer programming and math skills. “You can transfer your skills to anywhere in the country,” said Mr. Harris. “There are a lot of different avenues for whatever you do.” Visit lodolce.com.

  Adam Hammond shows off bearing made by Schatz Bearing Mark Harris of LoDolce Machines at center with teacher Kathy Prisco at left and Johnnieanne Hansen of the Council of Industry
Guidance counselor Adam Hammond holds up a sample made by Schatz Bearing. Mark Harris of LoDolce Machine Company is shown at center with teacher Kathy Prisco at left and Johnnieanne Hansen of the Council of Industry at right.
  Steve Pomeroy of Schatz Bearing Robb Engle of Sono-Tek
  Steve Pomeroy of Schatz Bearing Robb Engle of Sono-Tek


Hagan Geography Bee Fosters Global Awareness

Congratulations to all of the students at Hagan Elementary School who participated in the annual National Geographic Bee, popularly known as the "Geography Bee."  The event was moderated by Mrs. Riehl and Mr. Simmonds was the scorekeeper.

Finalists representing each 4th and 5th grade classes fielded questions about world geography. They also used maps of America marked only by roadways to answer questions about different states. In the final round first runner-up Blythe McQuade and Champion Sayeed Hossain wrote their answers on whiteboards. Sayeed received maps and an inflatable beach ball globe as a prize. He will move on to compete at the next level. The National Champion of the Bee wins a $50,000 scholarship and a prize trip.  Good luck to Sayeed!

Student finalists from grades 4 and 5 are shown above:

Bottom row, left to right: Elijah Choubah, grade 4; Blythe McQuade (First Runner-Up), grade 5; Sayeed Hossain (Champion), grade 4; Andrew Park, grade 4; and Adam Khurshid, grade 4.

Top row, left to right: Caroline Sottile, grade 4; Jacob Sammon, grade 5; Muhammad Baloch, grade 5; Mayleigh Giorgio, grade 5; and Mischa Parsons, grade 5.

Champion Sayeed Hossain with Mrs. Riehl and Mr. Farrell.


Special Olympics Presentation Inspires Participation

During their lunch period on Friday, January 19, Hagan students celebrated No Name Calling Week and learned about the Special Olympics of New York, which will take place February 23-25. There are over 3,800 participants from the Hudson Valley alone. They also learned about the upcoming 20th Annual Polar Plunge on February 24th, which raises funds for Special Olympics participants. Athletes are never charged to participate.

School Social Worker Joanne Shaffer introduced Teresa Gilli, a representative of the New York Special Olympics, who talked about how our words and actions affect others. "The athletes work harder than you and I to accomplish what they need to do," she said. "They do the best they can. And we do not allow bullying of any kind." Her words reinforced the message of No Name Calling Week at Hagan. "There seems to be a lot of mutual respect at the Special Olympics," said Mrs. Shaffer. Theresa Miller, sister to Spackenkill graduate and Special Olympic athlete Ricky Miller, as well as being a coach, said that the athletes don't compete with one another. "It's all about having fun."

Please visit the following websites to learn more:

www.specialolympics-ny.org and www.polarplungeny.org/fishkill

Left to right: Joanne Shaffer, Teresa Gilli, and Theresa Miller speak to Hagan students about the Special Olympics during No Name Calling Week.



OM Teams Prepare for Competition


Odyssey of the Mind (OM) practice is in full force at Hagan Elementary school. Last week, parent coach Mrs. Cohen presented 4th grade students with the challenge of building a prop that could (or appear to) change color, travel, dance, and/or make a sound effect. Using a limited amount of materials, they had seven minutes to build a prop and practice with it, then one minute to present the solution to the judge. The team is scored for creativity, presentation, and teamwork. After several minutes of working together and tweaking each other’s suggestions, they unveiled a “spinning, color-changing” object and a “moving, dancing puppet.” 

Mrs. Cohen also worked with 5th graders, who energized themselves on the playground before embarking on two challenges: balancing hardboiled eggs on a spoon and competing in a relay race in which team members could only advance by walking on strips of strategically arranged newspaper. The goal was to be creative by coming up with alternative ideas for advancing as quickly as possible. The students had a lot of fun while coming up with inventive ideas.

OM students will compete against teams from other districts in Goshen on March 10th. Stay tuned!

  Fourth grade OM team
  Pictured above from left to right  are OM fourth grade team members Eva Parsons, Nica Conte, Leianne Strelec, Grace Kunkel, and Alejsia Jaelyn McCalla-Rhoden.
  Fifth grade OM team
  Pictured above from left to right are OM fifth grade team members Mayleigh Giorgio, Joyce Suarez, Daniel Johnson, Mischa Parsons, Morgan Weaver, Aidan Wood, and Ahmed Shoaib.
  4th graders present and explain their creation Fifth graders prepare for a relay race.
  Fourth graders present and explain their color-changing creation. Fifth graders prepare for a relay race using fragile hard-boiled eggs.





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