What's Right with Spackenkill! April 6, 2018

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What's Right with Spackenkill!

April 6, 2018

A tradition of excellence with a vision for tomorrow

Dear Spackenkill Community,

This newsletter is chockablock with students participating in various competitions. For those who don’t know this, all of these competitions are voluntary, so hats off to students who want to challenge themselves beyond the school day and their advisors who take the time to help them in their endeavors. Unfortunately, I couldn’t greet the students returning from their trip to Spain over the break, but I understand that this was one of the best trips we have sponsored. I want to thank our foreign language department because they have gone above and beyond their normal work day preparing the students for the trip and supervising them while traveling. I was so pleased to learn how much they enjoyed and benefited from it.

Understanding Down syndrome is somewhat near and dear to my heart, because my wife, who is a retired special education teacher, has worked for many years with some wonderful  children with Down syndrome. These children are truly special in every sense of the word. 

The Board of Education has approved the 2018-19 budget at our last meeting. We are preparing a budget newsletter and will be sending it to you shortly. I want to acknowledge the Board for their hard work through this process. Thank you. Monday is our next Board meeting, and one of the topics we will be discussing is cyber security education. In addition, one of the students will be talking about the Spanish trip. 

My best,

Mark Villanti

Mark Villanti, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

Students Demonstrate Global Knowledge 

The Academic WorldQuest Competition took place on March 3rd. Sponsored by the Mid Hudson Valley Chapter of the World Affairs Council, the event is held each year at the FDR Estate. The competition questions students from various Hudson Valley schools about current world affairs with some history mixed in. This year the Spackenkill team came in second out of approximately 15 teams. Shown above are team members and seniors Adele Long, Jeremy Webster, Jessica Cohen, and Tomas Herrera.


Science News 

Science Olympiad Places in Top 10

At the Science Olympiad State Competition on March 10, our team won overall 8th place versus 55 teams (there are over 400 teams in New York total)

Individual Medals are as follows:
4th Parasitology Sharon Devlin, Shinyee Su
5th Chemistry Lab Tomas Herrera, Rachel Li
6th Materials Science Jessica Cohen, Rachel Li
7th Disease Detective Cynthia Ma, Jeana Chun
7th Helicopters Sharon Devlin, Qihang Yao
7th Remote Sensing Zachary Johnson, Andrew Wu
8th Dynamic Planet Andrew Wu, Zachary Johnson
10th Thermodynamics Ian Horvath, Jessica Cohen
10th Microbe Mission Jeana Chun, Sneha Kamada

Wonderful job!

JSHS Victory

At the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (JSHS) Regional Competition on March 8th, Jeana Chun won 1st Place Biomedical Group / 5th Place Overall (qualified for National Competition) for “The Role of Necroptosis in the Development of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms.”

Students Qualify for Prestigious Exam

Congratulations to Rachel Li, Jeremy Webster, Cory Mazzarelli, and Jessica Cohen for qualifying for the National Exam for the Chemistry Olympiad Competition.  The National Exam will be given on Saturday, April 21st at Mount Saint Mary College. The U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad is a multi-tiered chemistry competition. The top four students of the national competition represent the United States in the annual International Chemistry Olympiad.


Spring Break with a
Spanish Accent

High school juniors and seniors embarked on Thursday, March 22 for a trip to Spain during spring break. They had been preparing since September with after-school classes that study the culture, architecture, and traditions of the country. The itinerary included Madrid, Toledo, Seville, Granada and Barcelona. Highlights included viewing Seville's world-famous Holy Week processions, a ceramics workshop, and dance and cooking classes.
Students visited the Gothic cathedrals of Toledo and Seville, the Moorish palace in Granada, and saw artwork by major classical and modern artists, as well as the modernist basilica in Barcelona designed by architect Antonio Gaudi. Students practiced their foreign language skills, sampled the cuisine, and witnessed and enjoyed Spanish life and culture first hand.


NYSML Competition Achievements

Members of the Spackenkill Mathematics Team traveled to SUNY Geneseo on Friday to participate in the New York State Mathematics League competition.  The DUSO League team was comprised of 33 students, nine of them from Spackenkill: Jeana Chun, Tomas Herrera, Zachary Johnson, Anya Justin, Adele Long, Cynthia Ma, Emily Ma, Andrew Wu and Qihang Yao. Jeana, Anya, Cynthia, and Andrew competed on the DUSO A Team, which earned the Most Improved award as well as placing second in  NYSML's Division B. Great job!


Todd Students Place in
Continental Math League Contest

Congratulations to the following students on their math league accomplishments!

6th Grade:
1st place - Andy Zhu
2nd place - Akram Almady
3rd place - Daniel Jea

7th Grade:
1st place - Jeet Shahani
2nd place - Edison Sung
3rd place - Soumya Kamada

8th Grade:
1st place - Shinrea Su
2nd place - (tie) Andrew Chun and Emily Jea
3rd place - (tie) Nicholas Busaba and Julia Gill

Congrats to all!


Shakespeare Teaching Troupe Visits Todd

Just before spring break, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival teaching artists came to Todd Middle School to present workshops focused on Hamlet. The teaching artists visited the classrooms of Mrs. Morehead/Mrs McGuire, Mrs. Grega, Mrs. Shields, and Mr. Shanks and worked with students on movement and theater games. To help students develop a greater understanding and enjoyment of Shakespeare and his characters and language, they approached Hamlet from an actor’s perspective, speed-performing the play in rotating groups of students. In its unabridged form, Hamlet is four hours long. The students performed their version in less than an hour.



World Down Syndrome Day Celebrated

World Down Syndrome Day is observed on March 21 throughout the world to help raise awareness  of what Down syndrome is, what it means to have Down syndrome, and how people with Down syndrome play a vital role in our lives and communities.

In recognition of this day at Nassau, Mr. and Mrs. Gehlert sent in silly socks for each student in Mrs. Blazek and Mrs. McGurl's class.  The socks were generously donated by the Down Syndrome Association of the Hudson Valley. The students were excited to wear their silly socks  to school! The two classes gathered for the story “My Friend Has Down Syndrome,” by Jennifer Moore-Mallinos, followed by a silly socks photo shoot!


Elementary Students Jump Into Fundraising

Led by physical education teachers Carrie Spiegel, Tim Molon, and Bill Murin, Nassau and Hagan schools participated in a national program and fundraiser called Jump Rope and Hoops for Heart during the week of March 19th - 23rd. The event raises awareness about heart disease while also encouraging students to take care of their own hearts through physical activity and nutrition. Students in PE classes cycled through stations where they  jumped ropes, played WII and basketball, used rackets to bounce balloons over volleyball nets, and used special fitness equipment to get moving. They also participated in fundraising activities for the American Heart Association. Ms. Spiegel noted that her classes have been active in the program since 2005 and that Spackenkill benefits by receiving funds for PE equipment as a result of our fundraising efforts. This year’s event raised an amazing $5,963.


Recycled Creations Stimulate Fresh Ideas

Mrs. Zanca’s second grade class recently studied economics in social studies. Their challenge was to take on the role of producers and use recycled materials to create a useful item. The students had to think of an idea, draft a blueprint, and describe the item’s purpose. This was a parent-partner project. Some of the students used old car parts, recycled barn wood, egg cartons, records, and battery-operated motors. Some students even learned how to use tools like screw guns, table saws, and blow torches! Some of their clever creations are shown above.



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