What's Right with Spackenkill! March 23, 2018

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What's Right with Spackenkill!

March 23, 2018

A tradition of excellence with a vision for tomorrow

Dear Spackenkill Community,

Our spring break begins on Monday, March 26th and runs through April 2nd. We have lost one day of vacation on May 25th. Please enjoy the time with family and friends. Students, please crack open one of your favorite books.

Speaking of books, I can’t say enough about Mrs. Darcy and the entire Hagan community that hosted children's book author Chris Grabenstein. I'm not sure if by looking at the photo you can fully appreciate the showcase created by the PTA that served as a backdrop to the event. It was so creative and artistic. Mr. Grabenstein may be one of the most dynamic speakers whom I have ever listened to. His comments about the writing process were spot on. As you can see, purple is not my color.

I also have to mention the PTA’s sponsorship of the Harlem Wizards competing against our staff and the Town of Poughkeepsie police department. It was exciting watching the fun competition and most of all seeing the Spackenkill community coming together as one! 

Thank you, Marist College, for your ongoing mentorship of our students! Go, Rachel!

My best,

Mark Villanti

Mark Villanti, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

Junior Headed to
International Science Fair


Congratulations to High School Junior Rachel Li,  who competed with her team of two other students at the Regeneron Westchester Science & Engineering Fair (WESEF). The team won 1st Place in the Engineering Category and was also chosen as Regeneron Finalists to advance to the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), held in Pittsburgh in May. From a pool of some 600 participants, only 12 individuals and three teams were chosen to advance to ISEF. “The awards ceremony was huge!” said Rachel. “They had spotlights, two big TV screens, and confetti canons. It was a really amazing experience.” Readers may recall that Rachel and her team previously came in second place nationally at the finals of the Siemens Competition at George Washington University. 


Math Students Conquer DUSO 

Congratulations Jeana Chun, Tomás Herrera, Zachary Johnson, Anya Justin, Adele Long, Cynthia Ma, Emily Ma, Andrew Wu, and Qihang Yao for earning spots on the DUSO team at States.  The DUSO A Team--which included Spackenkill's Jeana Chun, Anya Justin, Cynthia Ma, and Andrew Wu--not only won the Most Improved award, but also received recognition for placing second in the B Division! A special thank you to Cynthia for her leadership and helping with logistics at the event.
Freshmen and sophomores are encouraged to join the team!


Freshmen Explore Shakespeare's World

On March 16, Mrs. Fahy’s English 9 Honors classes had a Shakespeare Festival. Students researched Renaissance recipes and made period-appropriate treats like flame cupcake cones and pistachio tartlets. Students also wrote research papers and created projects inspired by them. For example, one student put together a journal by hand and filled it with Shakespearean quotes, which the class discussed while enjoying their feast. Another made court jester hats and told Renaissance-related jokes about kings and knights. Other Shakespeare-related projects included a model of the Globe Theatre and a double-sided shield reading “Montague” and “Capulet,” the feuding families of Romeo and Juliet.



Science Olympiad Headed to States

Science Olympiad Students

All the hard work and preparation of The Todd Middle School Science Olympiad team has paid off: They won 2nd place in regionals and will be headed to Syracuse in April for the state competition. Kudos!


Hagan Celebrates Author's Day

Authors day at Hagan

Best-selling writer Chris Grabenstein visited Hagan Elementary School on March 20th for Author’s Day.  In preparation for his visit, students have been reading Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library, which has been made into a movie. At assemblies for all the grades, the writer discussed story structure, how to beat writer's block, the importance of rewriting, creating hooks to grab readers' attention, the power of verbs, and creating conflict with protagonists and antagonists. He shared his insider tips on how to get a story going by always asking the question “What if?” Most of all, he encouraged students to pursue their own personal gifts and work to develop their talents. 

A highlight of the fifth grade assembly was when the author collaborated on a story with students, which involved a bird, bread, and a blue potato! The students had many questions for Mr. Grabenstein about inspiration, when and why he started writing, his own favorite authors, and  favorite books that he authored. He discussed how he developed his think-on-your-feet technique years ago by working in an improv troupe with Bruce Willis and the late Robin Williams. Another highlight was when Mr. Lemoncello himself made an appearance: Superintendent Mark Villanti dressed as the character, adding even more magic to an awesome day!

Thank you to the PTA and Michele Williams for her awesome balloon arch, and to Mrs. Marchesona and Mrs. Darcy for going above in beyond in making this a great day!


Marist Athletes Mentor Hagan Girls

Hagan with Marist mentors

For four Mondays from February to April, members from the Marist Girls Crew, Diving, and Swim teams have been coming to Hagan Elementary  School to mentor fourth and fifth graders. The program stresses academics first, then athletics, teaching the girls homework tips and how to balance schoolwork and sports. The first meeting involved a getting-to-know-each-other Q&A session, followed by homework help. Students spend time afterward in the gym involved in physical activities ranging from jump rope to basketball. The Marist students coach the girls while providing lessons in good  sportsmanship. PE Teacher Lisa Papo orchestrates the program.

Marist students visit


Kindergartners Present Day of Green

day of green

Mrs. Andrea Davis’s kindergarten class had a Day of Green celebration for St. Patrick’s Day. With their families, Superintendent Villanti, and Mrs. Ferrarone in the audience, the students presented songs and a dance and recited lines from their own writing about what they would do if they ever caught a leprechaun. The room was decorated with beautiful student-made rainbows. After the performance, the students enjoyed healthy green snacks and presented their leprechaun traps, each one different and very clever!


Principal Ferrarone with Harlem Wizard

Principal Ferrarone poses with one of the Harlem Wizards at last Friday's fundraiser. It was a night to remember!



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