Message to the Community sent March 26

A Message from the 
Spackenkill Superintendent

RE: Guidance for the next two weeks from April 6 - 18

March 26, 2020

Mark VillantiDear Spackenkill Community,

This Friday will conclude the second week that school has been closed, as we entered this new frontier called Remote Education / Remote Teaching. It happened quickly and the planning time given to this huge endeavor was small in comparison to the tasks required. Our approach was to simplify and take a two-week approach. We will enter our third week of absence from school next week so now it’s time that we provide updates for you. In addition, building-specific updates will or have been sent from your school’s principal.

I have received some of your questions and therefore am following a Q-and-A approach to guidance for parents. Before I do, however, I need to thank all of you. We are appreciative of your support, especially under these stressful circumstances.

Spring Break, March 27 – April 3

Please take care of yourselves and your family members. You are fully entitled to a “vacation,” although it is hard to think of this time as equivalent to a vacation. This Friday, March 27, through April 3rd are the new vacation dates that I provided (to avoid the stress of not knowing whether the executive decree would be lifted or extended).  You and children need a break from the rigors of schoolwork and the stress of living under social distancing.

Further School Closings

We have not received any update as of this posting from either the Governor or the County Executive. I anticipate an extension of the closing decree and we need to know soon. Think of the local schools that are planning a return to school on Wednesday.  I will send you a special notice as soon as I hear from the Governor.

Technology Issues

Please notify your school’s principal if you have any problems, need access to a Chromebook, or are having Wi-Fi issues.

Car Caravan, Tentatively April 10

Our students and staff need some fun time also. We are considering a car caravan parade through our community neighborhoods on Friday, April 10. More information to follow.

General Issues/Questions/Concerns

Are we delivering new material or continuing with review/reinforce/enrich?

We expect an incremental shift to teaching new material. As teachers develop their capacity to use remote tools we need to introduce new work. We do not expect to keep the pace of the regular curriculum, however.

How are we delivering this material – what will be the options?

We will continue to use Google Classroom and teacher webpages. There are so many other choices that it is overwhelming. Therefore, teachers are concentrating our efforts on four platforms: Google Classroom (new for Nassau), EdPuzzle, Screencastify, and Google Meet.

What do you expect from our children as far as schoolwork production?

We will continue to provide guidance on this question, and it will vary by grade and building level. These are historic times and we have asked our teachers to remain patient as we think through our options. We believe that parents need to be informed if a student is not engaged to determine if this is with your consent. 

What are the specific expectations moving forward?

We expect that our teachers will shift from remote education to remote teaching. The most important next step is for teachers to begin (at the minimum) with class "check-ins" with their students.  As our teaching tools grow with technology, we will be able to move towards more effective online instruction.

How much work should we be giving the students, especially at levels K-8, where parent involvement is often needed?

By and large our teachers demonstrate high expectations and rigorous standards. For the time being we want teachers to "dial it back" with their instruction.

What if our children don’t have access to the Internet / Wi-Fi?

Please contact your school’s principal.

School Breakfast and Lunch

We have reached out to all eligible families by phone and email, so we can continue serving brown bag meals. If you are eligible and have not responded, you could do so now. If financial circumstances have changed and you want to find out if you are eligible you may also inquire. Please, we want to help those who are needy and eligible. You may email Lisa French at [email protected] or call 845-463-7836.

Professional Development Day, April 6

On April 6th, we will be conducting a teacher Professional Development Day remotely to update our skills in using technology remotely, so teacher contact on that day is limited.

Corona-19 Resources for Parents

*Please click here for a BOCES pamphlet with helpful information for parents

*Please click here for information from the NYS Office of Mental Health (OMH)

*OMH has also created the New York State Emotional Support Line staffed by specially trained
volunteers who can help you. Call 1-844-863-9314.

*Click here for Talking to Children About COVID-19 from the National Assn of School Psychologists

SGO Holds School Spirit Week

This week, Student Government Organization held School Spirit Week. High School teachers Ms. Girard and Mrs. Oakley kept school spirit going at home with their families. Please see below:

Jodi Girard and family 

Kristen Oakley and family

Elementary Staff Collaborates Remotely on Videos

Hagan and Nassau staff put together videos for the community to enjoy. Thank you to Kody Andreas for organizing this effort. 

Hagan Misses You!Please click here for the Hagan video.

Nassau Misses You!Please click here for the Nassau video.


Snapshot of Digital Learning

This is what remote learning looks likeThank you to Elyse Joy for submitting this photo of her daughter, Maya, learning online in Mr. Latino's honors chemistry class.  Mr Latino sent students a video of himself doing chemistry problems.





Mark Villanti 

Mark Villanti, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools



15 Croft Road, Poughkeepsie, NY 12603; 845-463-7800