What's Right with Spackenkill! May 11, 2018

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What's Right with Spackenkill!

May 11, 2018

A tradition of excellence with a vision for tomorrow

Dear Spackenkill Community,

This week is Nurse and Teacher Appreciation Week. I remember a conversation with Principal Farrell and he made the comment that if he were starting a school his first hire would be a great school nurse. Thank you Joan Dwyer, Elizabeth Giancaspro, Nora Bergstraser, and Sharon Dooley-Russo.  Almost all of us can think of a teacher who had a profound influence on our lives. For me it was Mr. Torre, my 4th grade teacher. He encouraged me as a student and as a classroom leader. Thank you to all of the educators in the district. You make a difference.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. I read an article given to me by high school social worker Joann Klein on the negative correlation between mental health and the overuse of social media. This is a relatively new area of research (Caroline Miller, Child Mind Institute), however, the article presented some common-sense suggestions and they are listed below.

Steps you can take to ensure healthy social media use:

  • Focus on balance: Make sure your kids are also engaging in social interaction offline, and have time for activities that help build identity and self-confidence.
  • Turn off notifications: App developers are getting more and more aggressive with notifications to lure users to interrupt whatever they’re doing to engage constantly with their phones. Don’t let them.
  • Look out for girls at higher risk of depression: Monitor girls who are going through a particularly tough time or are under unusual stress. Negative effects of social media can have more impact when confidence is down.
  • Teach mindful use of social media: Encourage teenagers to be honest with themselves about how time spent on social media makes them feel, and disengage from interactions that increase stress or unhappiness.
  • Model restraint and balance in your own media diet: Set an example by disengaging from media to spend quality family time together, including phone-free dinners and other activities. Kids may resist, but they’ll feel the benefits.
  • Enforce phone-free time before sleep: Have a policy of no smartphones in the bedroom after a specific time and overnight. Use an old-fashioned alarm clock to wake up.

We also know that gratitude is one the healthiest emotions to express. With that in mind, students, make sure that you thank your mothers and grandmothers this Sunday on Mother’s Day!

Tuesday, May 15th, is our school budget vote at the high school lobby. Parking remains in front of the auditorium for the convenience of community voters. The budget is under the cap and information is included in the newsletter mailed to you, posted on our web page, and linked below. 

My best,

Mark Villanti

Mark Villanti, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools


voteOn, Tuesday, May 15th, the School Budget Vote and Trustee Election will take place in the Richard D. Woolley Auditorium lobby, Spackenkill High School. Polls are open from 7 am to 9 pm.  Please remember to vote!



Rising Junior to Attend Prestigious
Summer Program

Johnny MulcahyJohnny Mulcahy auditioned for and was accepted into the competitive Juilliard Summer Performing Arts Program in Voice.  He will attend a boarding program in July in Orlando. The program is for talented high school singers looking to take their craft to the next level. Congratulations to Johnny!  

Please click here for more information about the Juilliard program.


SHS Named a Best High School

US NEWS & WORLD REPORT US News & World Report has named Spackenkill High School among the Best High Schools in the United States, Silver Level. 

Click here to learn more.


Leo Club Remembrance Walk


Science Symposium May 29

Fall Sports Registration

The Spackenkill Athletics Department is now offering the convenience of online registration through FamilyID (www.familyid.com). FamilyID is a secure registration platform that provides you with an easy, user-friendly way to register for sports, and helps us to be more administratively efficient and environmentally responsible. When you register through FamilyID, the system keeps track of your information in your FamilyID profile and you only have to enter your information once. You can upload sports physicals and check your profile to see if your son/daughter is cleared for participation.

FALL Sports registration opens May 7, 2018 for all high school and middle school sports (Varsity, JV and Modified).  Please click on the Family ID icon below to register.

Family ID Link


Varsity Tennis Seniors Honored

Senior Varsity Tennis Players

On May 8, the Varsity Boys' Tennis team played a Senior Recognition Game against the Pine Plains Bombers. Pictured above with Coach Mark Reed are Samuel Chen, Eric Choi, Ryan Ackert, Collin Smith, Alexandar Ristic, and John Conti. Best of luck in future endeavors!

Please click here for the Senior Recognition Program.

Sports Update

Boys Tennis - record 10-1, Currently tied for 1st place in the league 
MHAL TOURNAMENT Monday, May 14, 2018 Quarterfinals Bard College 9:00am 
Tuesday, May 15, 2018 Semis and Finals Bard College TBA 

Baseball - record 7-6, MHAL Division 3 Champions
MHAL BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP Saturday, May 12, 2018 Saugerties, Cantine Field Conf. Champ – 10:00am        League Champ – 1:00pm 

Softball - record 7-6, plays at Dover this Thursday for a chance to clinch a tie in the division 
MHAL SOFTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP Saturday, May 12, 2018 Highland HS/Tony Williams Park Conf. Champ – 10am     League Champ – 12pm 

Spring Track -  MHAL CHAMPIONSHIP Saturday, May 19, 2018 FDR High School 10:00am

Crew - NYS Championships - May 13th and 14th at Saratoga Rowing Association 

For daily game schedules:



For daily game results:



Alumni Corner:

Jeff Maling, Inventor

Jeff MalingAlumnus Jeff Maling from the class of 1985 tells us that he owes much of his success as an inventor with Global Foundries to time spent at Spackenkill, citing his Industrial Arts teacher David Banks as his mentor.
“His impact has stuck with me all these years,” says Mr. Maling of his former teacher. “I would have dropped out if not for him taking me under his wing and teaching me a lot of hands-on skills that I still enjoy using today.” 

After graduating from Spackenkill, where he was named “Class Ghost” in the Senior Superlatives section of the yearbook because he was always building projects in the machine shop,  Mr. Maling worked for IBM, and later went on to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute to earn engineering degrees. He was recently awarded Master Inventor status at Global Foundries after receiving his 25th patent. He is shown above with his first patent.

“Looking back, few people influenced my life and career as an innovator and inventor more than David. He showed me I could be good at something, and that made all the difference.” 


Hamlet Performance
Enthralls Middle School


The Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival company presented Hamlet to 7th and 8th grade Todd students on Friday, May 4. Students had previously studied the drama in class with touring instructors, who helped deepen the understanding of the play through workshops. At the post-performance actors’ talkback, students were able to pose questions about the performance. Thank you to the English teachers who made this visit possible.


Faculty Teach Each Other

At an Extended Faculty Meeting on May 8th, Todd teachers and Principal Dan Doherty  taught professional development sessions geared to the needs of staff on topics ranging from taking their classes on virtual field trips using goggles to using online math tools. Ms. Cunningham, Mrs. McBride, Ms. Sautter, Mrs. Pink, Mr. Doherty, Mr. Houtman, Mrs. Vila, and Mrs. Byrne all led workshops. A few scenes are below, including the view through virtual reality goggles of the Galapagos.


TMS Spring Concerts Draw Applause

Todd Middle School held its spring chorus concert this week. On May 8th, the sixth grade chorus sang, directed by Gwendelyn Royce and accompanied by Dave Myers. They performed four beautiful songs, including a Japanese folk tune.  On the same evening, the seventh and eighth grade mixed chorus, directed by Julie Carter and accompanied by Elizabeth Schwoerer, performed five selections, culminating in an American folk song. Everyone did a beautiful job! Stay tuned for more information about additional concerts!

6th grade chorusSixth Grade Chorus performs.
7th and 8th grade chorusSeventh and Eighth Grade Chorus sing out


Plenty of Energy at Nassau Family Folk Dance 

Nassau Elementary hosted Family Folk Dance night on May 3rd in the gym. About 50 students attended, each with an adult partner, for a total of 100 participants. Partners included parents, grandparents, aunts, older siblings, and friends. Students became the teachers as they helped guide their older partners through the various dances that they had practiced in class. 

Led by Nassau music teacher Kody Andreas, the participants performed a number of dances. There was the Bobolinka, a long ways partner folk dance; the Mexican Hat Dance, a circle dance of the entire group; and Mission Impossible, a movement activity designed by Mr. Andreas himself, bringing students through a "spy mission" while reflecting the form of the Mission Impossible Theme Song. Shake It Off ended the night with a free-for-all dance-off. Everyone had a blast! Please enjoy photos below


Family Folk Night

Hurricane Houses Withstand Gusts

Working in teams and using cardboard, straws, plastic cutlery, and recyclable materials, second grade students set to work building hurricane-proof houses last month. Then on May 2 they tested their designs outdoors on the Nassau playground. Mr. Elting used a "category 3" powerful leaf blower on the designs to see which would withstand the wind. Many of the houses stayed on their foundations.  One house without windows remained intact. Another tent-shaped design also withstood the blast. The students were very excited by the project and interested in analyzing the results.
2nd grade portrait
students experimenting
students experimenting


Students Learn Safety Lesson 

Learning about poison preventionNassau recently had a school assembly on Poison Prevention. Lee Livermore, Public Education Coordinator for Upstate New York Poison Control Center, educated our K-2 students about the importance of never putting anything in their mouths or eyes using the mantra "Stop! Ask First!"


Honoring Mom

On the Friday before Mother's Day, Dutchess BOCES Special Education teacher Jennifer Frankovich held her annual Mother's Day brunch in her cheerful classroom at Nassau. There was plenty of delicious food to go around. Happy Mother's Day to all!

mothers day brunch



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