What's Right with Spackenkill! June 1, 2018

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What's Right with Spackenkill!

June 1, 2018

A tradition of excellence with a vision for tomorrow

Dear Spackenkill Community,

We live in an age where so much pressure is placed on student performance – testing is just one example. Of course, formal assessments are a necessary part of a strong education. However, balance is important. By that I mean the right balance between the seriousness of schoolwork and the enjoyment of learning. Teachers look for the right balance every day in their classrooms.

As you scroll through the newsletter, you will see many examples of the right balance between students learning while enjoying their learning and teachers teaching while enjoying their teaching. Look at the photos of serious student musicians playing jazz and feeling the music and other students learning about our ecosystem while seining the Hudson River, raising money to defeat childhood cancer while participating in field day, using technology to investigate their favorite animals (every kids loves animals), or reinforcing their knowledge of geography and our country’s map through art works. These are all great examples of the right balance.

We will soon reveal our “new and improved” website. Stay tuned…

My best,

Mark Villanti

Mark Villanti, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools



Fond Memories

On Friday, May 18th, LEO Club hosted its annual Remembrance Walk. The Remembrance Walk is a supportive way for the community to band together to remember and honor those we have lost. Speakers included Elaina Gemmati and Isabel Hammond, who spoke about losing a grandparent. Tom Bell told stories about and read Ryan Libolt's words of tribute to Coach Greg Diamond. Zoe Whalen spoke about school shootings, and Brent Ackerman read the names of victims at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The club and participants then planted a tree and walked around the track,  then symbolically released  biodegradable sky lanterns.

Remembrance Walk
Remembrance Walk


Scholars Honored at Historic Breakfast

Congratulations to Adele Long and Corrado Mazzarelli for being special guests at the first-ever Dutchess County Honor Student Recognition Breakfast, held on May 23rd at the Grandview in Poughkeepsie. They are pictured below with their parents,  as well as Principal Steve Malkischer and Superintendent Mark Villanti.

Please click here to learn more about the honorees.

DC Scholars Breakfast


HS Concerts End on High Note

Two Spackenkill High School concerts recently capped off the musical year. The first concert, on Monday, May 21st, featured the String Ensemble, Women’s Choir, Jazz Band, and Concert Choir. The second event, on Wednesday, May 23rd, recognized senior students and included a special tribute to Ms. Julie Carter, who is retiring this school year. Students performed Ms. Carter’s favorite musical piece,  “O Fortuna,” from Carmina Burana (by Carl Orff) in her honor. The finale of the evening was when the Spackenklil combined orchestras performed with band and choral students, including alumni.

Spackenkill Spring Concert



Students Explore Hudson Shore

Seventh grade students recently visited Esopus Meadows for hands-on scientific exploration of the estuary and its inhabitants.  The students studied fish adaptations and senses using an aquarium stocked with fish collected during a seining activity. They also learned about aquatic macroinvertebrates, went beachcombing, and observed wildlife. 

Todd Middle School science teacher Elyse Joy received a $2,000 grant from the Community Foundations to fund the trip (which was free to students). As part of the grant, Mrs. Joy also took along high school students to explore the river by canoe (bottom group of photos).

Esopus trip
Esopus trip
high schoolers canoeing on Esopus trip



Spring Flings Give Back

Both Todd Middle School and Hagan Elementary School held their Spring Flings on May 18th. The middle school event was sponsored by Student Government. Many students stayed after school to engage in fun activities, including a tug of war. Mr. Scanlon’s FACS students and Student Government made and packaged over 400 cookies for sale. The money raised will go to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, an organization that funds research for children who are battling cancer. Alex’s Lemonade Stand also did fundraising to defeat childhood cancer.

Hagan’s Spring Fling was organized by Kim Scoralick, Fran Perch,  and Kate Stout.  It was a no-frills night of outside fun for elementary students and their families and included lawn games, music, and pizza. Families donated drinks, desserts, and snacks. Profits from the event benefited the Elementary PTA.

Todd Spring Fling
Above: Todd's Spring Fling included fundraisers and a tug of war.
Hagan Spring Fling
Above: Old-fashioned sack races, face painting, and outdoor games were part of Hagan's Spring Fling.



Hagan Musicians Visit Nassau

Music students from Hagan Elementary presented an in-school concert for Nassau Elementary on May 22nd. Mr  Andreas’s second grade music students kicked off the event with “See You Again,” which incorporated sign language. Hagan’s Concert Band, conducted by Mrs. Burgess, played a march, a song inspired by Robin Hood, and even a composition from Harry Potter, which really excited the younger students. Mrs. Royce led Fourth & Fifth Grade Chorus in “Let There Be Song,” “I Love Rock & Roll,” and a patriotic medley with lovely harmonies. Conducted by Ms. Valentine, Gold Strings introduced the students to their instruments and played Mozart’s “A Little Night Music,” among other beautiful tunes. Everyone enjoyed themselves! 

The next day, Hagan presented a similar performance at its second concert at Spackenkill High School so that friends and family could enjoy!

Hagan concerts



Minding the Store

Students in Mrs. Boyce’s second grade class recently enjoyed a visit from parent Mr. Pidanick. He is a manager at CVS Pharmacy. Using a poster board that illustrated the various parts of the store, he taught the students about how the aisles and shelves are organized and how it is important for people to easily find medicine and other products. Mr. Pidanick also spoke about the importance of teamwork among his coworkers so that the store can run smoothly and be a pleasant experience for customers. Students were happy to receive special goodie bags, which included hand sanitizer, tissues, and lip balm. They are shown displaying honorary employee name badges. Thank you to Mr. Pidanick!
Students learn about how to run a store



All About Animals

Mrs. McGurl and Mrs. Christolon's first grade class presented their animal projects for Mrs. Ravas's kindergarten class.  The students worked with Technology Integrator Marcella Byrne to create their Google Slides to share with the students. Each first grader selected one animal that he or she wanted to learn more about from one of the five animal groups: mammals, birds, fish,  reptiles, and amphibians.  Each student created a slideshow.  They invited the kindergartners to celebrate with this culminating activity and shared poems, fun facts, and individual slideshows. It was definitely a win-win situation, with the first graders reinforcing their knowledge through presentation, and the kindergartners not only learning some wonderful new information, but also getting a sneak peek of the kinds of information they’ll be learning in the upcoming school year!

1st graders present animal slideshows



Mapping It Out

Mrs. Wilcox’s and Mrs. Zanca's classes are studying landforms. Their classes worked collaboratively to paint and create physical maps of the United States using candy and other items to represent landforms.  The students included a legend to show the various landforms found in our country.  Some examples are mountains (Hershey’s Kisses), hills (mini-marshmallows), rivers (blue yarn), and desert (crushed graham crackers).

students create landforms




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