Message Sent April 1, 2020

A Message from 
the Spackenkill Superintendent

April 1, 2020

Dear Families:

Mark VillantiI hope that you are well and that your children are making the transition to remote learning. This is an ever-evolving process and the district takes to heart the Governor’s recent concern that schools need to maintain a continuity of instruction. In fact, this belief was so important to us that we remained open, albeit remotely, with teachers actively posting materials online using Google Classroom, teacher webpages, and other platforms during most of the first week of the shutdown. We also organized packets of materials available where online work was just not practical, especially for younger children. Fortunately, the district’s longstanding 1:1 Chromebook initiative provided us with some advantages.

Let me explain what the Governor’s statement is not. The Governor is not indicating that families do not have choices to make. The last three weeks have been unsettling for our students and I am sure for you. I made the decision very early on when the status of future closures was unknown to maximize the safety of our children by moving the spring break to a week earlier to increase the time for social distancing from school. Under our current circumstances, children and families have a right to a mental health break. It is my understanding that there are more than enough curricular materials for our students who choose to do schoolwork to ensure the continuity of instruction this week. 

We will continue to provide meals for eligible families this week. I repeat my previous plea that if you qualify for free and reduced lunch or breakfast and have not yet decided to participate, we only need a day's notice to prepare and you can still contact Food Services Director Lisa French by email at [email protected]

As a district, our faculty has worked over the years with Dr. Mulford’s leadership to put together the curriculum for our courses. I provided that link to those materials some time ago, so here it is again:

If for any reason, you believe that your children need additional teacher resources, please contact their building principal.

I am concerned that all children do not have the same advantages by working at home. I repeat again that if you need technological support of any kind or additional resources, please let your principal know.

As I mentioned in my last message, remote learning is not normally a process that is planned in a short period of time. I am proud of all of our administrators and faculty members who are working hard to make this transition for your children as smoothly as possible. We as a district are providing remote learning to increase our skill sets (including mine). 

Each building is taking a somewhat different approach to remote learning consistent with the age, skills, resources, and grade levels of children and teens. We are following every legal requirement put forth from our government. Every action that I take is thoroughly vetted. In the meantime, for those families who believe a break is welcome and needed, we support your decision and your children will in no way be penalized because you feel a rest period is warranted at this time.

My heart goes out to those afflicted by this terrible virus and their families. Be well and safe and continue to learn under adverse conditions.

Always Spartan Strong and Spartan Proud,

Mark Villanti

Mark Villanti, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools


Spackenkill Union Free School District, 15 Croft Road, Poughkeepsie, NY 12603; 845-463-7800