Message to the community sent July 17, 2020

Message from the
Spackenkill Superintendent

July 17, 2020

Dr. Paul M. FanueleDear Spackenkill Community,

I am thrilled to be back at Spackenkill as your superintendent.  It has been great reconnecting with people since I started on July 1st.  I look forward to meeting with others and serving the Spackenkillclass of 2020 graduation community. My first day was an exciting one, as the day ended with the graduation of our Class of 2020.  The evening at the drive-in was outstanding.  I was impressed with the spirit of the community as we celebrated our graduates.  Thank you to the entire high school staff for putting together such a memorable event.  My main focus since returning has been creating a school environment that is safe for our students, faculty/staff, and community as we deal with the COVID-19 public health emergency.  

class of 2020 graduationThis past Monday (July 13) the New York State Education Department (NYSED) and the Department of Health (DOH) released initial guidance to districts across the state regarding the reopening of schools in September. This includes the health and safety guidelines that all school districts will be required to implement.  On Thursday, NYSED released more expansive guidance.  Links to the documents are below:

NYSED PowerPoint July 13: Recovering, Rebuilding, and Renewing: the Spirit of New York Schools - Reopening Guidance 

New York State Department of Health Guidance July 13: Interim Guidance for In-Person Instruction at Pre-K to Grade 12 Schools During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency 

NYSED Reopening Guidance July 16: Recovering, Rebuilding, and Renewing: The Spirit of New York Schools

Our district has been actively planning a return to school while awaiting guidance from the state. Now that some guidance has been released, we are working to apply what we know about our community into our reopening plans, which must be submitted to the state by July 31.  Our plans must include in-person instruction, remote/distance learning, and a hybrid model combining in-person instruction and remote/distance learning for the 2020-2021 school year. These models must follow the guidance from the state and will enable us to adapt to the current state of affairs.

We have formed a Return to School Committee that includes sub-committees for Transportation and Food Service, Communications, Human Resources, Facilities, PE/Athletics/Clubs, PPS and Medical/Mental Health, Instruction, and Technology  We have a diverse array of constituents, including community members on our building-level teams (Nassau/Hagan and Todd/Spackenkill High School).  Our Board of Education is also an active partner as we develop our plans.  In addition, I have met with the Dutchess County superintendents multiple times and with County Executive Marcus Molinaro regarding reopening plans.

Back in June, we surveyed district parents/guardians about plans to reopen in the fall. This feedback informed us, but we need to put out another survey with the hopes of 100% participation. The second survey will be sent next week through email and will be posted on the district website, Please take a few moments to respond to the survey questions, as they provide vital information for our Return to School Committee.

Additionally, this week the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) made the decision to delay the start of the 2020 fall season for scholastic sports. The start date for Varsity and JV sports was moved from August 24 to September 21.  Online registration will begin August 22.  Click here for more information.

We realize that there are many questions still unanswered and will continue to keep you informed throughout the summer and post our return-to-school plans on the district website once completed.  As we develop our reopening plans, our top priority is the health and safety of our students, faculty/staff, and community. 

Stay Spartan Strong,

Paul M. Fanuele, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools


15 Croft Road, Poughkeepsie, NY 12603; 845.463.7800