Human Resources Committee, 2/22, 4:30pm
Please be advised the Human Resources Committee will meet February 22, 4:30pm, in the District Office. This meeting was rescheduled due to weather.
Dear Mahopac Community,
Reflecting on the spirit of the season, I would like to take a moment to thank all the families, staff, Board of Education and local organizations that make Mahopac such a special place to live and raise our children.
We are grateful to the many volunteer groups; especially the PTO’s who help make this a learning-rich community. In addition, special thanks to all the school-based and community programs that have collected toys, clothing, food and other gifts for those in need. This is an invaluable example for our children.
As we begin 2019, we look forward to continuing our core focus to provide world-class learning experiences for each child in a safe and nurturing environment that embraces the “Mahopac Way.”
Wishing you a happy and healthy winter recess, and a Happy New Year!
Superintendent of Schools
Fulmar Road Elementary and Lakeview Elementary School, along with schools throughout the nation, participated in the Great Kindness Challenge, January 28-February 1. Organized by the school’s Building Coordinator, Leigh Galione, and Assistant Principal, Elizabeth Blessing, this challenge was devoted to performing as many acts of kindness as possible in and out of the classroom. “From generously donating to a local food drive, to creating a kindness checklist at home, to reading kindness-focused literature, the students, teachers and staff all participated. You could really feel the kindness spirit throughout the schools,” said, Blessing.
Evidence of this kindness spirit was found in Jacqueline DiRusso’s third grade Lakeview class. During a group discussion, one of her students asked DiRusso if the class could do something to help other children. This immediately sparked enthusiasm from the entire class and they were on board.
DiRusso turned the idea into a teachable moment. She worked with the class on selecting a cause that benefited children. Collectively, the students discussed charity options and agreed to fundraise for the Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone in New York City. The hospital serves the tristate area, including Putnam County, for children with serious diseases, and those whom need surgery.
The students decided to host a “Valentine’s Day boutique” on February 13 to sell items to the Lakeview student body during their lunchtimes. Students spent their recess time creating items for sale, such as rainbow loom bracelets, student made books, and “slime”. A few of the student’s parent also donated small-gift items. Card Smart in Mahopac also donated items for the sale. DiRusso and her students also practiced their “sales pitch.” “We wanted our Lakeview peers to know that we were inspired by the Great Kindness Challenge and are raising money to help the lives of children who are very ill,” said DiRusso.
A total of $656.00 was raised. The check was delivered to Hassenfeld, along with hand-written stories and cards for the patients.
“Throughout the whole journey leading up to our fundraiser, the students and I had meaningful discussions about being aware of the needs of others, how to care for one another, and the true meaning of kindness. The students mindset was the idea of creating a little miracle - that is bigger than them to make a difference” said DiRusso.
For more information and to donate to Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital, go to https://nyulangone.org/locations/hassenfeld-childrens-hospital-34th-street
The following is a letter to the Mahopac community from Superintendent of Schools Anthony DiCarlo, 02/08/2019:
Dear Mahopac Community,
I would like to take a moment to talk about a prevalent drug trend affecting our nation’s schools, as well as the response our District implements to keep our schools safe and drug-free.
E-cigarettes are the most commonly used tobacco product among U.S. middle and high school students. In response to the growing use of e-cigarette vaping devices among high school students, Mahopac Central School District has policies in place to prevent the use of such devices on school grounds. E-cigarette use increased seventy-eight percent among high school students in 2018. In an effort to protect the student body and curb this epidemic in Mahopac schools, the District includes the following provision in the Code of Conduct:
“Smoking, using, possessing, or selling a cigarette, cigar, pipe, chewing tobacco, lighters, matches, e-cigarettes, vaporizers or other devices used to inhale a non-prescribed substance.”
Any student found with any of these devices will be in violation of these provisions and may be subjected to discipline, referred to the Superintendent, and assigned sessions with the Student Assistance Counselor.
Students found in possession of devices with liquids or oils that contain THC or CBD concentrates or other controlled substances will subject themselves to an out-of-school suspension, and referred to a superintendent’s hearing. The District is committed to curbing the use or possession of illegal substances in the schools. If found guilty at a hearing of possession of a vaping device containing THC or CBD substances, the violating student may be subjected to an extended period of out-of-school suspension.
These measures reflect the gravity we ascribe to the objective of stopping the trend of use or possession of these devices among school-aged children.
Superintendent of Schools
During this critical time when the nation is facing a severe blood shortage, the Lakeview Elementary School Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) organized its annual community blood drive on January 27 for the New York Blood Center. Donors included a balanced mix of high school students, Mahopac Schools teachers and staff, and members of the community.
Winter storms, frigid temperatures and widespread flu are making it harder for local communities to maintain their blood supply. According to a recent NYBC media release, currently, the center has just a 3-4 day supply with types O- and B- at drastically low levels. This year’s blood donation is worse than expected and donations are thousands below what is needed to maintain an ideal 6-7 day supply of blood.
Challenged by the winter weather, Copeland and the Lakeview PTO were creative with their outreach for recruiting blood donors. Lakeview students were offered a “hot cocoa and donut party” for the class that provided the most blood donor referrals. High school students earned community service hours for donating and or providing donor referrals.
“I am happy to report that thirty two units of blood were donated which equals to 96 lives potentially saved,” said Lisa Copeland, blood drive organizer.
Another community blood drive will take place in May when the Mahopac Middle School’s PTO hosts the annual Relay for Life Blood Drive. Once confirmed, details will be provided on https://www.mahopac.k12.ny.us.
“On behalf of the Mahopac Central School District and the entire community, I want to express how grateful we are to Lisa Copeland and the Lakeview PTO for the hard work that went into making this happen, especially now when there is a dire need for blood donations,” said Anthony DiCarlo, superintendent of schools.
Those who would like to donate can visit www.nybloodcenter.org to find a nearby donation center or mobile unit. It only takes one hour to donate, and a single donation has the potential to save multiple lives.
Mahopac Middle School students go to “war” to help local charitable organization
It’s amazing what happens with a little competition. As was the case for Mahopac Middle School students who raised $3,382 in a “Penny War” during January 7-18. The money collected was given to JennaJackPack, an organization that provides comfort to children who have recently lost a sibling or parent with a backpack of treats to help brighten spirits.
JennaJackPack came to be from the tragic loss of Jenna Nolan, a Mahopac Middle school student who passed in 2014. During the difficult time of her passing, a student gave Jenna’s younger brother a backpack filled with treats to help boost his spirits. This one kind act made such a positive impact that the Nolan family created an organization to help other children who have lost a sibling or parent by giving them a backpack of treats.
Organized by team 7A and the middle school’s Wingmen, a group of students committed to serve their student body with acts of inclusion, empathy and connectedness, the Penny War consisted of each class team filling a large water jug with money.
However, the initiative was more than dropping pennies into a jug. Collaborative strategic thinking was required as winning was determined by points. Each penny counts as one positive point for a class team classroom. Each silver coin counts as negative points for another class team. For example, dropping a quarter in another class team’s bucket takes 25 points from their total.
Mahopac Middle School teachers and Wingmen leaders, Jenifer Maloney and Christine McNeill, said the penny war really brought the students together in a spirited and positive way. “It was great to see the students working together and in such a generous way. One student gave $100 of her own money. We were truly taken back with the student’s generosity and participation,” said Maloney.
In the end, the winning team was decided by a difference of $1.80. The Wingmen personally provided Cathy Nolan with the raised funds.
“Seeing the students come together to help JennaJackPack is a testament of the ‘Mahopac Way.’ The Wingmen, along with Mrs. Maloney and Mrs. McNeill and team 7A, did a tremendous job,” said Tom Cozzocrea, Mahopac Middle School principal.
For more information about JennaJackPack or to donate, please visit jennajackpack.org.
About the Mahopac Middle School Wingmen
Mahopac Middle School’s Wingmen program was created by the father of a Sandy Hook shooting victim that helps students to hone their leadership skills and foster inclusion and connectedness with all students. Ian Hockley, who lost his 6-year-old son Dylan, created Dylan's Wings of Change in his memory. The foundation is committed to helping children with autism and other related conditions achieve their full potential. Out of that, they also developed the Wingman Program which the Mahopac Middle School instituted with students in 2016.
You can follow @WingmanMMS on Instagram and Twitter
From spin-the-wheel trivia to High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) challenges, the Mahopac Middle School cafeterias and hallways were buzzing with games, contests and activities relating health topics that impact middle school students.
The annual “Carnival of Health” included school and community organizations offering fun fair-themed ways to present serious health subjects such as vaping, depresion, sugar intake and managing stress.
Organized by Valarie Nierman, Mahopac High School health teacher and coordinator for health education for K-12 and the Mahopac Health Education team, the theme of this year’s fair is “Be a Pineapple” in memory Anne Tuite. When Mrs. Tuite was diagnosed with cancer in the winter of 2017, she created t-shirts with a pineapple and the quote: “Be a Pineapple: Stand Tall, Wear a Crown, and Be Sweet on the Inside.”
“Anne brought the concept of the health fair to our schools when she made the jump from corporate wellness to health education here in Mahopac 19 years ago. In her honor and loving memory, we made a point to have pineapple-themed decorations, table signs, and give-a-ways to reflect Anne’s positive spirit and her ability to connect our students to our community’s health partners,” said Nierman.
“Carnival of Health” participants include:
“Our hope for the Carnival of Health was to create a fun and open environment for our students to ask questions and learn more about important health issues that impact their age group. We also want them to know all the amazing support organizations in our school and community,” says Tom Cozzocrea, Mahopac Middle School Principal.
Please be advised there is a Board of Education Meeting, February 28th at 7:30pm in the Mahopac Falls Building auditorium.