Morning Announcements 9/17/09

September 17th, 2009 by Todd Online

Date- September 17, 2009

A.M. Announcements
•    First informational Book Club meeting will be held tomorrow from 2:30-3:00 in the Library
•    Mathcounts will meet in Room 13 tonight from 7:00-8:30
•    Peer mediation applications are available in the guidance office.  There will be an informational meeting for current peer mediator and anyone interested in learning more about the club on Monday, September 21st at 2:30 in the dining hall.  Please sign up during lunch.
•    Peer mediation applications are due back to guidance by Friday, September 25th by 8:00 a.m.
•    Todd PTA Directory forms are due back tomorrow.
•    Ms. McCabe’s class please report to the library today for class
Can’t write an essay paper by yourself? Then make an order at!
Today’s Breakfast – Whole grain cereal and ½ wheat bagel, fruit and chilled milk
Today’s lunch- Twin taco, vegetable & fruit

TMS Developmental Responsiveness Survey

April 23rd, 2009 by Karen Vitek

Please participate in the next Schools to Watch survey on Developmental Responsiveness.  Please click on the link below to go to the survey.  Comments on the survey can be posted here.

TMS Developmental Responsiveness Survey

Foreign Language Night

March 27th, 2009 by Todd Online

March 26, 2009



Dear Eighth grade foreign language students and parents,


Thank you so much for your participation in the 2009 Multicultural Dinner.  This annual dinner was such a great success because of your support and kind generosity.  Spackenkill Schools are a melting pot of many cultures and it was wonderful to have so many represented at our dinner.  There were dishes representing five continents and dozens of countries.  People enthusiastically sampled foods that were completely unknown to them and we were bombarded with requests for recipes.  So, in the spirit of cooperation, promoting cultural diversity and the joy of cooking (and eating), we ask that you share the recipe for your contribution (or any other you think we would enjoy).  We will compile your entries into a multicultural cookbook and distribute it to all eighth grade students and their families as a reminder that everyone, no matter where they’re from, has so much to share.

Please send in your recipe ASAP.  Be sure to include the name, origin and a brief description.     Thanks again for your continued support!

Muchas gracias, merci, Grazie, Dankie, Hvala, Tak, Go raibh maith agat, Arigato, xie xie, Obrigado, Dzie, kuje, Spasibo, Danke, Koszonom, Asante,




The Foreign Language Department







2009 Social Equity Survey Results

March 25th, 2009 by Karen Vitek

You can view the presentation of the 2009 Social Equity Survey by clicking on Social Equity Survey Results under “Pages” on the top right hand column.

Todd Site Team Minutes 2/25/09

February 26th, 2009 by Todd Online

February 25th, 2009

ATTENDEES:  Steven Malkischer, Kristin Talleyrand, Meg Banks,
Holly Fashona, Tom Grega, Mary Gugumuck, Susan
McBride, Tom Mulvihill, Dawn Nedin, Mary-Nel
Palumbo, Erin Shields

School to Watch
Mr. Malkischer did a power point presentation showing graphs made from all the data compiled from the Social Equity survey questions answered by staff/teachers, parents and students.  We reviewed each question and quickly discussed some of the questions that seemed to be askew.  Mr. Malkischer will e-mail the Site-Base Team the power point presentation, so each team member can carefully review each question.  At the next meeting, we will discuss in more detail what areas the team feels needs to be addressed and how they will be addressed.  Mr. Malkischer would like to set up another on-line survey before the end of the year for one of the other two School to Watch criterias which are academically excellent and developmentally responsive.  With the help of KarenVitek, Mr. Malkischer now has the Site up and running.

The next meeting is March 18th, 2009 at 2:30pm.

Social Equity Survey

January 27th, 2009 by Karen Vitek

Please post your ideas about the Social Equity survey here.  Let us know what you think about the survey.

1/21/09 Todd Site Team Minutes

January 26th, 2009 by Todd Online

January 21st, 2009

ATTENDEES:  Steven Malkischer, Kristin Talleyrand, Meg Banks,
Holly Fashona, Tom Grega, Mary Gugumuck, Tom
Mulvihill, Dawn Nedin, Erin Shields, Mary Gugumuck

School to Watch
We reviewed some of the Social Equity on-line survey questions on the smart board showing the responses that had been received to date.  Since there wasn’t a big response, the Site Base Team agreed they would take another month to encourage everyone to participate.  Mr. Malkischer will have the teachers complete the survey at the next faculty meeting.  The PTA and Site-Base Team parents will encourage parents to complete the survey.  The students will be taking the survey in the next few weeks.  We will start to evaluate the survey next month no matter how many responses are received.  Mr. Malkischer announced he has been hired by New York State Education Department to be on a committee that will go to approve an upstate school as a School to Watch school.  This will allow him bring back much information and ideas for us to reach the same goal.  Mr. Malkischer is still working with Karen Vitek to get a blog set up for the Site Base Team which will be opened to the community at some point.

The next meeting is February 18th, 2009 at 2:30pm.

A perspective on the Comptroller audit report from Mr. Geoghan…

January 15th, 2009 by Todd Online

As you may have seen, Spackenkill made the news yesterday with reports about the District’s financial operations. Since you may hear conversations in the community about the report and resulting news articles, I thought I would share with you some of my views on the highlights.

How Spackenkill will use the report? The Comptroller’s report is very useful in pointing out opportunities for Spackenkill to improve internal procedures related to fiscal operations. These procedures involve who does what in the business office, and in what sequence. Most of the comments concerning fiscal operations relate to actions being taken out of sequence, or actions that were taken but not documented. In some instances, functions were performed by the “wrong” people in the business office. As reports indicate, the business office had corrected a majority of issues raised before the report was issued. Some recommendations will require staff training that will take place over time and on a continuous basis. Others call for a realignment of staff roles in the business office, and these changes will be recommended to the Board of Education for the 2009-10 school year. In summary, the report includes useful recommendations and the District has either acted or plans to act on all recommendations.

Are taxpayer / district assets being used properly? With the exception of a $19 error, there were no misappropriations of funds actually uncovered during the course of the audit. To put this in some perspective, the audit covered 17 months of financial transactions for an organization with revised budgeted expenditures for 2006-07 of $31.9 Million. The Comptroller’s review of Spackenkill’s fiscal operations lasted over a year, suggesting it was rather thorough.

What about the separation payments of $17,839 to two employees? The Comptroller correctly points out that there were no provisions to pay this amount to these employees as separation payments. While true, the Comptroller doesn’t say that the District owed the money to these employees. These employees had contracts that permitted them to work during vacation periods and accumulate vacation time for later use. When they retired, they had accumulated a significant number of vacation days and could have simply stopped working when they did and gone on vacation before they actually retired. There would have been no difference in the number of days they actually worked for the District or the amount of pay they received.

Can the District really save $30,000 by printing checks in-house? No. The District simply disagrees with the Comptroller’s cost analysis because it includes only the cost of checks and a printer. It does not include software, staff training, staff time, trouble-shooting and support, or transition costs. It also ignores the fact that payments for payroll must be produced on time, every time, and without error, which it has in the past. By using BOCES to print checks, the District brings greater resources and “back-up” options that are simply not available in-house. The Comptroller analysis also ignores the amount of BOCES aid generated by using this service. BOCES aid for the 2006-07 school year was $934,975, and the aid generated by having BOCES print checks is included in this figure. While it is understandable that the Comptroller would ignore BOCES aid from a state perspective, the District is clearly acting in the best interests of District taxpayers by taking this opportunity to generate as much state aid as possible.

If any of you have questions or concerns about other aspects of the audit or the district’s response to the audit, please let me know. I believe it’s important for District employees and our taxpayers to have an honest and straight forward view of the audit.

Site Team Minutes 12/17/08

January 8th, 2009 by Todd Online

December 17th, 2008

ATTENDEES:  Steven Malkischer, Kristin Talleyrand, Meg Banks,
Tom Grega, Sue McBride, Tom Mulvihill, Erin Shields,                             Mary Gugumuck

School to Watch
Mr. Malkisher announced that he had the Social Equity part of the self-study and rating packet put on-line which will allow students, parents, teachers and staff to participate easily.  A note to parents will go home in the 5week report mailing asking them to participate.  One English class from each grade with various abilities will be asked to do the survey.  Mr. Malkischer is still working with Karen Vitek to get a blog set up for the Site Base Team which will be opened to the community at some point.

The next meeting is January 21st, 2009 at 2:30pm

Important Information Regarding Upcoming ELA Testing

January 8th, 2009 by Todd Online

January 6, 2009

Dear Parents/Guardians:

We will be administering the ELA State Exam to students in grades 6 on January 21st, 22nd, and 23rd and to grades 7 and 8 on January 21st and 22nd.  Make-ups will be given the week of January 26th.  The New York State tests are designed to measure how well students have mastered necessary skills and to monitor the effectiveness of instructional programs.

The purpose of the tests is to:
•    measure a student’s knowledge and overall achievement
•    measure a student’s mastery of specific skills
•    provide information to schools that can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of instructional programs
•    monitor the performance of schools and school districts for the purpose of accountability to the public

To help prepare your student for the test, I have listed the following tips for test taking that you can discuss with your child:

•    Ensure your child gets a good night’s sleep.
•    Ensure your child eats a good breakfast.
•    Encourage your child to listen carefully to the directions for each test and then follow them exactly.
•    Encourage your child to look at all the answer choices before selecting one.
•    If your child is not sure about the answer to a question, they should first eliminate any choices they know are wrong and then choose an answer from among those that remain.
•    Encourage your child to pace themselves through the test and to note the time the test began.
•    Encourage your child to do their very best on the test so that their scores accurately reflect their true ability.


Steven J. Malkischer