Board of Education Meeting

The Spackenkill Union Free School District Board of Education will hold a Regular Meeting on Tuesday, May 3 at the Todd Middle School Dining Hall.  The Board anticipates taking a vote to convene in Executive Session at 6:30 pm for the purpose of discussing matters related to the appointment of a new superintendent. Once the Executive Session is over the Regular Meeting will follow. On the agenda are the Budget Hearing, Atlas/Curriculum update by Dr. Lori Mulford, and the Facilities Committee Report by Michele Moloney..  

The community is welcome and always encouraged to attend. For information about any BOE meeting presentations, please visit the BoardDocs section of this website, which is located under the Board of Education drop-down menu, or CLICK HERE.

BOE Candidate Profile

 

Candidate Herman Lo is running for the five-year Board of Education term of office that begins July 1, 2016, and expires June 30,  2021. The election will be held at the Annual Meeting of the Spackenkill Union Free School District on Tuesday, May 17, 2016, at Spackenkill High School. Election polls will be open from 7 am to 9 pm on that date.

Mr. Lo is an engineering program manager at IBM and has lived in the Spackenkill district for 19 years. With his wife, Maureen, he has four children who attend or have graduated from the district: Brittany (class of 2010), Derek (class of 2014), Ryan (10th grade), and Morgan (7th grade).  Mr. Lo was a Hagan Room Parent for 14 years and coached Odyssey of the Mind elementary teams for three years. He has also been a judge at the Hagan Science fair and participated in the Budget Forum multiple times. In 2009, he served on the Grade Level Schools Committee and in 2013 on the Transportation Committee. For the last two years, Mr. Lo has been actively involved with Engineering Week and STEM Day at Spackenkill. 

As a Board of Education member, he would work to maintain excellence in our schools and expectations in the district. Mr. Lo believes that high-quality academic programs and extracurricular opportunities are important to uphold. He would contribute his expertise in program management, collaborative team problem solving, quantitative and statistical analysis, quality systems design and management, and LEAN Six Sigma-based business process analysis and improvement methods.

Mr. Lo believes that the district needs to find more ways to support our teachers and school administrators, which would result in wider and deeper achievements from our students; embrace fiscal discipline as we continually look for better value for the services the schools deliver; and look for growth possibilities to ensure long-term sustainability. 

 

 

Alumna to Present on Gravitational Waves

On April 28 at Spackenkill High School, Dr. Kate Dooley, a district graduate and an assistant professor of physics at University of Mississippi, will talk about the ground-breaking discovery of gravitational waves.

One hundred years after Albert Einstein’s prediction of gravitational waves in his general theory of relativity, Dr. Dooley was on the team of scientists that detected them for the first time on September 14, 2015.  Dr. Dooley is a senior member of the LIGO Team, short for Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, a facility that detects and measures cosmic gravitational waves for scientific research and is supported by the National Science Foundation.

At Spackenkill, Dr. Dooley studied science with Amy Matts. and she was quite active in the Science Club. The community congratulates Dr. Dooley on this historic achievement.

 

Todd Students Meet with Officials

Assemblymember Didi Barrett and Lydia Biskup, Districtor of District Operations for Senator Sue Serino,  met with 7th grade Todd students in the middle school library on April 18 to discuss sidewalks on Spackenkill Road. The students had originally written letters to their prinicpal, Mr. Doherty, requesting sidewalks, and these were passed along to the legislators."It would enhance the community to have these sidewalks by allowing kids to be able to walk more places," wrote one student. As a group, the students presented a Powerpoint to Ms. Barrett and Ms. Biskup, as well as members of the Spackenkill administration. The presentation highlighted the need for sidewalks to make it easier and safer to walk home and to and from Spackenkill High School. Pictured above are Assemblymember Barrett (far left) and Ms. Biskup (second from right) with students Caroline Siegrist, Kate Peek, Morgan Lo, Melissa Conti, Lucy Palumbo, Naomi Hawkins, Caroline Curne, and Elizabeth Katz. Kudos to the students for taking the initiative to make changes happen. Stay tuned for further developments!

District Earns Safety Award

For the fourth consecutive year, the Spackenkill Union Free School District has won the Utica National Insurance Group's School Safety Excellence Award, titanium level, the highest distinction. The honor recognizes the school district's efforts as we work to keep students, staff, and visitors safe. SUFSD officials accepted a certificate to commemorate the safety efforts and a $500 award for use in furthering those efforts.

More Headline News

 

Todd Teacher Albert Scanlon Honored

Congratulations to Albert Scanlon on being chosen as a Promising New Professional by the New York State Association of Family & Consumer Science Educators/Hudson Valley Northeast Chapter (NYSAFCSE-HVNE). Mr. Scanlon will be honored at the organization's  2016 Annual Awards Banquet. CLICK HERE for more information about NYSACSE. 


As partners in education Spackenkill Union Free School District and Marist College are pleased to announce a special partnership that will offer all Spackenkill Union Free School District employees and their immediate adult family members a significant 25% tuition discount on Marist’s non-discounted graduate and adult undergraduate degree programs.

We encourage you to take part in this incredible opportunity. Advance your career and your future with a Marist education. Marist College offers their adult learners both graduate and adult undergraduate degree and certificate programs, many of which are offered 100% online. Please visit the Marist website for more information, a detailed list of programs, online course options and application deadlines. (www.marist.edu/admission)  READ MORE

 


Parent Portal Information for Todd and SHS Families

CLICK HERE to read a letter from Dr. Powell regarding changes in grade reporting on the Parent Portal.


Letter from the Commissioner

March 31, 2016: CLICK HERE to read a letter from New York State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia regarding changes to the the Grades 3-8 English Language Arts and Mathematics tests.


Todd Teacher Receives OMER Award

On Saturday, March 12, Todd Middle School teacher and Odyssey of the Mind (OM) coach Anthony Colon was recognized with an OMER Award.  The award, given by OM Region 5 ( (Dutchess, Orange, Ulster, and Sullivan counties),  recognizes teams or individuals who have shown artistic talent, good sportsmanship, or teamwork, or have gone beyond expectations to help others. An OMER  Award signifies that a team or individual serves as an outstanding example of the OM spirit through their words or actions. Thank you Mr, Colon for your hard work, long hours, and dedication to the OM program and congratulations on this award!


Varsity Teams Sweep Scholar Athlete Designation

Every fall and winter varsity team qualified for the NYS Scholar Athlete Team Award.  The program acknowledges teams who have collectively maintained a 90 average or above during their respective sport season.   

Teams are as follows.

Fall: Girls Soccer, Boys Soccer, Girls Cross Country, Boys Cross Country, Girls Tennis, Football, Boys Golf, Volleyball, Field Hockey
Winter: Girls Basketball, Boys Basketball, Girls Indoor Track, Boys Indoor Track

If ALL spring sports achieve this recognition the district will be recognized as a School of Distinction* by the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) at its annual summer meeting.  Good luck and congratulation to the coaches and teams!
 
*School of Distinction Award is presented to any NYSPHSAA member school that annually can successfully meet the following criteria: Certify that 100% of its varsity programs qualified for and received the NYSPHSAA Scholar/Athlete Team Award.


Public Input Sought on District Policies 

The Board is beginning its review of the following policies: 6000 series, 9000 series,  Policy 1115 (Parental Involvement Policy), Policy 3132 (Investment Policy), and Policy 3133 (Purchasing Policy & Procedure), All comments should be sent to Nancy Melilli at nancy.melilli@sufsdny.org by May 15.


Advocacy Video for Public Schools

The Lower Hudson Council of School Superintendents has partnered with the Westchester-Putnam School Boards Association on a powerful advocacy video: "The Last Straw for NY Public Schools." CLICK HERE to watch the video.  


Grades 3-8 Testing Changes for 2016

Every spring, the Grades 3-8 English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics Tests are administered to students across New York State.

CLICK HERE for information on the changes that the State Education Department has made to these tests for 2016.

CLICK HERE for a side-by-side comparions of 2015 vs. 2016 tests.


Transportation Council Discusses District Sidewalks

The Poughkeepsie-Dutchess County Transportation Council (PDCTC) recently hosted a workshop to gather public input.  The possibility of sidewalks on Spackenkill Road was discussed .

CLICK HERE for the minutes.

CLICK HERE to contact the PDCTC  with concerns about Spackenkill Road:


Parent Committee Members at SUFSD

CLICK HERE for  a list of parents who serve on building and/or district committees in the district.  These people represent the parents in our community on these committees.  Please feel free to reach out to them if you have questions or concerns.


Ed Tech Forum a Success

On Saturday, February 6, some 70 educators and school staff  from around the Hudson Valley descended on Spackenkill High School for the Educational Technology Summit. The event, co-hosted by The New York State Association for Computers and Technologies in Education (NYSCATE), focused on Google Apps for Education, a suite of productivity tools for classroom collaboration. Popular sessions included Google Apps for Struggling Learners, Google Apps for the iPad, The Latest and Greatest iPad Apps for Education,  and Best Elementary IPad Apps. Teachers were also trained in Google Sites, a webpage creation tool.  Google Cardboard, an evolving technology with potential for making virtual field trips possible, offered a look into the future of virtual and augmented reality of images.

CLICK HERE to view a gallery of images of the day.


Town of Poughkeepsie Police Warn of Phone Scam

The Town of Poughkeepsie Police Department warns citizens about Internal Revenue Service (IRS) scams that have been common and will likely increase during tax season. This type of scam is intended to steal your money and/or personal information.Typically a caller (scammer) impersonating the IRS will claim that you owe back taxes or that there is a warrant for your arrest due to non-payment and threaten you with arrest, jail time, or license suspension if you don’t provide payment immediately. An alternative method is the scammer may claim you’re owed a refund from the IRS and request your personal information to process it. Be aware that the caller may use spoofing software that disguises the caller ID, and the caller ID could appear as the “Internal Revenue Service” or display its phone number. READ MORE


Transportation Requests for 2016-17 School Year

Parents and guardians must have requests for private providers for the 2016-17 school year to the Spackenkill USFD Transportation Department by April 1, 2016. Requests must be filed every year.  For more information, please call Doreen Wright, Director of Transportation: 463-7800.

Assessment Requirements and State Aid

CLICK HERE to read a memo sent by the office of the Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education to chief state education officers regarding state assessment data.

CLICK HERE to read a letter to Secretary of Education John King from the Lower Hudson Council of School Superintendents. The letter addresses the consequences for not meeting the participation rates in state testing and the potential loss of state aid.


Athletic Jersey Retirement Nominations

The retirement of an athletic jersey is a Spackenkill District honor that is bestowed upon former student athletes for extraordinary athletic performance.  Nominations will be accepted from January 1 through March 31. Please contact the Spackenkill High School Athletics Department with questions at (845) 463-7824.

Click here for more information and to download nomination form


 

Superintendent Search

At a Special Meeting of the Spackenkill Board of Education on December 17, the Board appointed Dr. Richard Hooley, the Dutchess BOCES Superintendent, as the consultant for the superintendent search. Spackenkill District Superintendent Dr. Lois Powell will retire on January 17, 2017.


Parent Fall 2015 Survey Results

CLICK HERE to read the complete results of the Parent Survey.

CLICK HERE for Nassau Elementary survey results.

CLICK HERE for Hagan Elementary survey results.

CLICK HERE for Todd Middle School survey results.

CLICK HERE for Spackenkill High School survey results.


Strategic Plan 2015-2020

CLICK HERE to read the Board-approved SUFSD Strategic Plan for 2015-2020.


School Breakfast Program Open to All

We encourage your child(ren) to take advantage of our breakfast program, which can be enjoyed upon arrival at school. If you should have any questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to contact Food and Nutrition Services @ 463-7836 or email lisa.french@sufsdny.org


Smart Schools Bond Act Investment Plan

CLICK HERE to read the Board-approved Smart Schools Bond Act Investment Plan for SUFSD.


Comptroller's Audit

Attached is a copy of the most recent Comptroller’s Audit of the Spackenkill Union Free School District. CLICK HERE for the audit.

The Board of Education and District Administration strive to follow the highest standards of fiscal management and ethical practices. 

It is important to note that State Auditors found no instances of fraud or misrepresentation of our financial statements.

It is also important to note that none of the district’s reserves are prohibited by New York State and our independent auditors and management of the school district do not believe they are excessive. 

The audit report addresses several items concerning financial condition and includes inferences that district officials and the Board of Education have made it a practice of overfunding reserves.  It is important to keep in mind that reserves are authorized by the Board of Education and reviewed annually by the district’s independent external auditors.  . 

In January 2015, the district received, from the Comptroller’s Office, a “0% designation” on the state’s Fiscal Stress Monitoring system for the both the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 school years.   According to the Comptroller’s Fiscal Stress Monitoring System Fact Sheet, “the system is designed to identify where an entity is headed so the decision-makers are not merely responding to a crisis.  Instead, they are taking deliberate, long-term and strategic approaches to managing the affairs of their local government.”  This has been the long-term historic approach that the district has taken with respect to budgeting and managing fund balance and reserves.

Since the implementation of the tax cap the district has been consciously using reserves in a conservative manner in order to not only stay below the tax cap but as to not deplete reserves in a manner that could be considered fiscally imprudent and cause fiscal stress on future budgets.  The concern is further complicated by the revenue challenges districts are facing in having uncertain long-term state aid projections.  

The 2014-2015 independent audit found no issues. CLICK HERE for the link to that audit.


Weather-Related Closing Information

Please be aware that the district now has the option of calling both 2- and 3-hour delays during the 2015-2016 school year.  There are also changes with SchoolMessenger, our automated calling service, which provides timely communication to parents and staff members on such matters as weather-related closings and delays, attendance, general-interest activities, and district emergencies. Upon registration in our district, only the household telephone number will be sent to the SchoolMessenger system to receive emergency or weather-related school closing information. Families are asked to sign up with a SchoolMessenger account to customize their contact information and provide additional phone numbers and email addresses. By the beginning of October, all families will receive a letter with the necessary instructions to create or access their accounts. Opt-out information will be included in the mailing. Please note, new this school year: General-interest messages will not be sent by a phone call or text message.  To receive non-emergency messages, please add an email address to your SchoolMessenger account. 


Letter from Assemblymember Didi Barrett

CLICK HERE to read a letter from Assemblymember Didi Barrett to the Spackenkill Board of Education.


Letter to Officials Regarding Tax Credit Bill

CLICK HERE to read letters opposing the tax credit bill from the Spackenkill Board of Education to Assemblymember Didi Barrett and Senator Sue Serino.


For Your Information: Passing a Stopped School Bus Traffic Violation

Spackenkill wants to remind all parents, adults, and driving students that passing a stopped school bus with flashing lights while on school grounds (private road) or roadways is a traffic violation. Every person convicted of the first violation will be punished by a fine of $250 to $400 or by imprisonment for not more than 30 days or by both fine and imprisonment.  Additional traffic violations increase both fine and time of imprisonment.  Such violation may also result in a five-point penalty on one’s driver’s license.  School district grounds are not exempt from these laws.  This information is shared in the interest of safety for all students and as a reminder to those who violate the law what passing a stopped school bus with flashing lights can cost in fines and points.  We wouldn’t want this to happen to any of our community members.


Spackenkill Mobile App Debuts

Check out our new Spackenkill mobile app! It’s available for both Android and iOS devices. CLICK HERE for the link. The app can always be found in the right sidebar of our district homepage or you can search for it in Google’s Play Store or Apple’s App Store. This app makes it easy to find information from our website when using a mobile device. Just go into the settings and choose the buildings about which you want to get news and information. You can find bus routes, team schedules, cafeteria menus, and upcoming events for each school. You’ll also have easy access to our eSchool mobile site, SchoolMessenger, and our Facebook page. Download the app today and see for yourself!


Letters to Officials Regarding Proposed Education Reforms

CLICK HERE to read letters to Governo Andrew Cuomo, Senator Sue Serino and Assemblymember Didi Barrett regarding proposed education reforms.



Parents' Bill of Rights

The purpose of the Parents’ Bill of Rights is to inform parents of the legal requirements regarding privacy, security and use of student data . CLICK HERE to read the document.


New Service of Dutchess County HELPLINE

The Dutchess County Department of Mental Hygiene has expanded its 24-hour HELPLINE service to include texting.   Dutchess TEXTS is designed as an alternate way to access mental health assistance since many people, particularly young adults and teenagers, often prefer to text rather than talk on the phone.    Young people can access support services by texting “DMH” to 741 741 READ MORE..


BOE Approves Veterans' Exemption

A partial exemption from school taxes for veterans has been approved by the Spackenkill Board of Education.   Military veterans may receive an exemption based upon their type and time of service.  The default exemptions were approved for Spackenkill veterans. READ MORE


Food Service Account Allows Parents to Manage Food Choices

If your child has a dietary restriction or allergy that you would like listed on their NutriKids/MySchoolBucks account or if you wish to limit or block the purchase of a specific food item, please contact the Spackenkill Food Service Department at 463-7836 or lisa.french@sufsdny.org.
CLICK HERE for the School Lunch web section

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