From the Superintendent
Dear Mahopac Community,
It is with great pleasure that I welcome you to the 2019-2020 school year. Our goal is to continue to build an enriched learning environment where all children can achieve great success on reaching their fullest potential.
The MCSD mission is to work with our families to encourage students to explore, discover, question and develop lifelong learning skills as critical thinkers and problem-solvers in an ever-changing world.
The MCSD staff is made up of highly dedicated professionals who continue to develop their craft of teaching and learning. At Mahopac, we value the importance of feedback and a strong partnership between staff and parents. We encourage parents to reach out to staff with any concern or question. To learn more about our events and activities throughout the school year, please feel free to navigate our district and schools’ websites.
We look forward to the beginning of the design phase of the District’s capital improvement plan. We will update you throughout the year at board meetings and on the district website with timelines and phases for the next three years.
We look forward to welcoming our students for the first day of school on Wednesday, September 4. Please be reminded the MCSD parent portal will open on Friday, August 23, to allow you to see schedules, teachers and transportation schedules for your child for the school year.
I wish you and your family an exciting and fulfilling 2019-2020 school year.
Superintendent of Schools
News & Headlines
Mahopac Indians Baseball MVP Joseph Lacoparra Earns All Sectional Honors and Signs with Manhattanville College
Usually in baseball, what happens in threes are not a good thing, but recent Mahopac High School graduate Joe Lacoparra has been hit with three major achievements, including:
- Mahopac Indians Varsity Baseball Team MVP
- All-Section Honors
- Scholarship to play Men’s Baseball for Manhattanville College
For the 2019 season, Lacoparra, pitcher and designated hitter (DH), had a batting average of .375, 13 runs batted in (RBIs) and two home runs. He also had a 2.59 earned run average (ERA) in 27 innings pitched with 25 strikeouts.
“You can do it and I believe in you” was something Lacoparra heard often from his parents growing up and attributes to his accomplishments. He started learning and loving baseball with his father when he was 4 years old. What many people may not know is he also has rheumatoid arthritis and suffers chronic pain.
“Joe was born a preemie at 30 weeks with the odds stacked against him. He grew up managing his pain and it was very important to him that people do not feel sorry for him,” said his mother, Carolann Lacoparra.
Perhaps this is why Lacoparra is looking to pursue nursing. No matter where his path takes him, it will surely involve helping others.District News & Headlines
Lakeview 3rd Graders Talk to Dolphin from Classroom
Lakeview third graders, along with their teachers Ms. Terri DiMicco and Ms. Danielle Romano and teaching assistant Angela Pace, may have taken the most memorable field trip of their lives without even leaving the classroom. With support from a grant provided by the Mahopac Special Education Parent Teacher Organization (SEPTO), the class participated in a virtual field trip to the Dolphin Research Center in Grassy Key, Florida.
Located on an island in the middle of the Florida Keys, the research center’s marine mammal trainer, Noelle Belden, and dolphin “Delta” spoke with the class “live” via video conference in a lively exchange filled with unusual facts and a question/answer exchange. Delta was an active part of the dialogue and would answer questions by nodding “yes,” “no,” and even high fives. Some interesting anecdotes about dolphin life discussed included:
- Dolphins remain conscious, even when they are sleeping. This is because their breathing is not automatic, it is consciously controlled. Dolphins only allow one half of their brains to sleep at a time; the other half stays alert to enable the dolphin to continue breathing and look out for possible danger.
- Dolphins can see with sound, they use their “clicks” which travel long distances and bounce off of objects. This is how they get a sense of where they are and where they are going.
- Dolphins do not drink water. Their main food (fish and squid) contains large amounts of water. Because they are always in water they also do not get dehydrated.
The “trip” fell on World Ocean Day, a day devoted to a global celebration of the ocean, June 8. In preparation for the “trip” the students studied the bottlenose dolphin and read Winter’s Tale by Juliana Hatkoff, which inspired the movie Dolphin Tale. The story emphasizes the importance of water pollution which was instilled in by Belden to the students. “Think about what you can do every day to make sure dolphins have a healthy ocean. Let’s remember to reduce, reuse, and recycle. A big part of what we can do is to stop using plastic bags. Plastic in the ocean is polluting and dangerous,” said Belden.
The visual and audio “field trip” components were facilitated by John Ressanovich, senior facilitator for instructional technology at Southern Westchester BOCES. As the students were exchanging with the dolphin and trainer, Ms. Romano would recap highlights on the white board for students.
“As teachers…we were very excited to make this study come to life for our students. We’re so impressed with their questions and enthusiasm,” said DiMicco.District News & Headlines
A first for Mahopac: Karla Jimenez goes to Angelo Del Toro Puerto Rican/Hispanic Youth Leadership Institute
True to the teaching reputation of Mahopac High School, ENL teacher Alicia Manguso demands excellence in and out of the classroom. Such was the case when Manguso helped junior Karla Jimenez be the first-ever Mahopac High School student to participate in the annual Angelo Del Toro Puerto Rican/Hispanic Youth Leadership Institute (PR/HYLI), held March 9-11, 2019, in Albany.
The Institute is an innovative collaboration with the NYS Assembly/Senate Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force in conjunction with the annual SOMOS El Futuro conference, Office of Bilingual Education and Foreign Language Studies, the New York State City Board of Education, and other agencies. The overall purpose of the PR/HYLI is student empowerment and the development of leadership skills in Latino/Hispanic Youth.
Along with about 200 other Hispanic/Latino students from around the state, Jimenez participated in three days of activities, which focused on building and presenting a voice in their community. From team-building exercises and a Mock Assembly session conducted in the New York State Assembly chamber, to a student recognition dinner and career development workshops, Jimenez was immersed in educational opportunities about laws and rights and how to be an advocate like Del Toro, the founder of the program.
Del Toro was a public servant of New York during his 20 years in the Assembly. He was the first Hispanic Chairman of the Black and Puerto Rican Legislative Caucus, Chairman of the Social Services Committee for 10 years, and Chairman of the Assembly’s Education Committee from 1990 to 1994. He is known for giving a voice to the Hispanic/Latino community. Going through the New York public school system himself, Del Toro was an advocate for public school education and educators.
“This was an amazing experience to meet other students like me from all over the state, to learn from elected officials, educators and business leaders,” Jimenez said.
Leading up to the PR/HYLI, Jimenez, with help of Manguso, went through two application processes and six workshop sessions at Vassar College. They met with the local group for several months in preparation for the event. She was enthralled with and inspired by the opportunity.
“She was selected based on both her academics and her character. She understood the potential of what the Institute has to offer and has taken full advantage of the chance to learn and develop her leadership skills,” Manguso said.District News & Headlines
Thank you Voters. ALL IN for our Students!
The Mahopac community approved the 2019-2020 Budget, Capital Improvement Project Bond Referendum and Bus/Transportation Bond Referendum.
"This is a good day for Mahopac. I am so thankful to all who came out to vote in support of our students. The voter approval instills we have a supportive community that values education," said Superintendent DiCarlo. "I look forward to what the Capital Project Plan can do for the schools and the entire community."
The Board of Education election included four candidates running for four seats: Lucy Massafra, Ray McDonough, Michael Mongon, and Adam Savino.
The voting results included:
2019-2020 Budget: 1,170 to 605
Capital Project Bond Referendum: 1,137 to 635
Bus/Transportation Bond Referendum: 1,160 to 609District News & Headlines
Sports Medicine Student Internships Open up World of Medicine
Sports Medicine students at the Tech Center at PNW BOCES not only study anatomy and physiology and do hands-on training, but they do internships to help them determine specific areas of medicine they are most interested in. Many of this year’s second-year students received scholarships and will work toward health-related degrees.
Kevin Valdes, Mahopac, worked at Northern Westchester Hospital both with the operations manager and in the ER. He said both the Sports Medicine class and his internship helped him decide what to major in in college.
“Studying anatomy and physiology and learning to do orthopedic assessments no doubt helped give me the confidence to work with people,” said Valdes, who was accepted into an accelerated physician’s assistant program at DeSales University. Valdes said teacher Dr. Will Brightman is also instrumental in inspiring students to pursue their passion in the field. “He is amazing, inspiring and accommodating. He really wants us to succeed.”
Jessica Reiner, from North Salem, interned in Brightman’s Chiropractic and Sports Medicine office recently. “I was able to interact with patients and learn more about healthcare,” said Reiner, who will major in public health and physician’s assistant programs at Nova Southeastern University. “The Sports Medicine class gave me so much insight into different fields of medicine.”
Mahopac High School student Tess Bartman interned with Cove Care, Carmel, in the psychiatric outpatient department as well as with a child psychiatrist. “When I came to the Sports Medicine program I wanted to be a naturopath,” said Bartman. “But after learning about all the different fields, I fell in love with western medicine.” Bartman will study biology and psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Luca Petriello, Mahopac, interned at Aon Physical Therapy in Brewster. “I learned different therapy techniques. I knew I wanted to be a physical therapist, but this class helped me discover that I like the hands-on aspects of athletic training.” Petriello will major in athletic training at Sacred Heart University.
Colleen MacNeil, Mahopac, is interning at North Westchester Restorative Therapy & Nursing Center. “I am going to further my education at College Of Mount Saint Vincent as a nursing major,” she said.
Matthew Vassallo, Mahopac, interned at Northern Westchester Reconstructive Nursing Center in Mohegan Lake. “This class and the internship really prepared me for a major in the healthcare field,” said Vassallo, who will attend Iona College. “What we learned in class is totally relevant to the real world. When I was interning, they were so impressed that I already knew how to read an EKG machine. We learned that here.”
Joseph Muratore, Mahopac, also interned at Aon Physical Therapy. “This class really showed me what is out there in the field,” Muratore said. “It helped me focus in on what was interesting to me.” Muratore will study human performance and health promotion at SUNY Morrisville.
Photo: from left: Kevin Valdes and Matthew Vassallo (Mahopac); Jessica Reiner (North Salem); Luca Petriello, Joseph Muratore, and Tess Bartman (Mahopac).District News & Headlines
Lakeview Physical Education Teacher Donn Tobin is National Teacher of the Year
Donn Tobin was named National Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award by SHAPE America — Society of Health and Physical Educators. Tobin’s selection is the highest honor a physical education teacher can receive in the country. He was also named the 2019 District Teacher of the Year in Elementary Physical Education in the Eastern District earlier this year which geographically includes Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virgin Islands.
“To be the recipient of the national Teacher of the Year Award SHAPE America is a distinguished honor. It is an acknowledgement of his commitment to professional excellence and to his students. Donn and his family should be exceptionally proud of his accomplishment,” said Colleen Corsi, executive director, New York State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (NYSAHPERD).
Although not confirmed, due to archive information not being available past 2004, it is believed that Tobin is the first elementary teacher in New York to win the national teacher of the year award.
“I am humbled and truly honored by this recognition. It is an absolute privilege to teach the children in the Mahopac community. Our students are eager to learn and I cherish getting to watch them grow. It’s wonderful to be part of a place which parents and caregivers truly support our students’ education and livelihood,” Tobin said.
Since his youth, teaching and working with children have been a big part of Tobin’s life. When he was young, he was involved in martial arts where he learned the notion of breaking down skill instruction into simple steps; this is something that he still uses with his students today. As a teen, he worked as a counselor with children at summers sports camps.
Tobin’s father was the true motivator for encouraging him to become a teacher which resulted in a bachelor’s degree from State University of New York College at Cortland in Physical Education with a concentration in elementary education. Tobin earned his master’s degree in school administration also at Mercy College.
“My philosophy to teaching is to keep instruction as simple and as positive as possible so I can help create a lifelong commitment to health and fitness with my students,” says Tobin. His favorite part of teaching is seeing students grow and improve, especially when they reach the “aha” moment of skill mastery.
“Mr. Tobin’s dedication to inspiring students, nurturing their natural abilities, and encouraging them to lead an active and healthy lifestyle makes it no surprise for us that he was awarded this prestigious national honor,” said Jennifer Pontillo, Lakeview Elementary School principal.
“We are so proud of Mr. Tobin and his recognition as national teacher of the year is duly deserved. He serves as a positive role model for all students and is an inspiration for us all to be healthy, fit and active for a lifetime,” said Anthony DiCarlo, superintendent of schools.District News & Headlines
DISTRICT CLERK ANNOUNCEMENTS
2019 MCSD Vote Results
2019-2020 Budget: 1,170 to 605
Capital Project Bond Referendum: 1,137 to 635
Bus/Transportation Bond Referendum: 1,160 to 609
Board of Education candidates: Lucy Massafra, Ray McDonough, Mike Mongon, Adam Savino