Clarkstown Central School District

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Superintendent's Blog

  • North Line and Step Dance Teams Entertain at Halftime

    Posted by Martin Cox at 1/16/2017

    Basketball games in the Clarkstown Central School District come with plenty of entertainment at halftime.

    During last week's Boys Basketball Game between South and North, the North Hip Hop and Line Dance teams entertained a standing room only crowd at their home gymnasium.  Both teams were outstanding while performing their routines: the Line Dance Team while dancing to music, the Step Dance Team without music.  Instead, the Step Dance routine consists of multiple moves team members make while clapping hands and stepping within the same rhythm as each other.

    Both teams continued the great success they started in the fall, and will provide further entertainment as the home basketball season continues at North.


    North Step Dance

    North Line Dance Team

    North Line Dance

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  • Hip Hop and Line Dance Team Members Showcase Talents at South

    Posted by Martin Cox at 1/16/2017

    Basketball wasn't the only talent being displayed during the North-South Girls Basketball Game on January 12.

    Members of both the South Hip Hop and Line Dance Teams entertained the crowd at halftime with their dance routines. Both teams had an outstanding performance, and continued the great success they enjoyed earlier this school year while performing at halftime of South home football games in the fall.

    I am thankful that the students have an opportunity to find their niche in the form of dance, and that they are able to work collectively as a team while sharing with the school community their artistic talents.


    South Hip Hop  South Hip Hop

    South Hip Hop  South Line Dance

    South Line Dance  South Line Dance

    South Line Dance  South Line Dance

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  • School Spirit, Teamwork Highlight North-South Basketball Doubleheader

    Posted by Martin Cox at 1/16/2017

    Teamwork included more than bounce passes, screens, rebounds and assists during a Clarkstown North-South Basketball doubleheader on Thursday, January 12.

    Early in the first quarter during the Boys Basketball game at North, referees delayed the game due to slippery floors, underneath one of the baskets as well as on the side of the court.  That's when Athletic Director Chris Serra, North Athletic Coordinator Tess Brogan, Principal Dr. Harry Leonardatos and school custodians worked collaboratively to rectify the matter.  The solution to the problem came in the form of a cleaning substance that was applied to the hardwood and mopped into the floor.  The substance took away the slippery surface and the referees deemed the floor safe to continue play.

    Following a 23-minute delay, the game continued in front of a packed gymnasium and North maintained the lead it had before the interruption in a 43-34 win.

    Prior to the North-South Boys tip-off, the Clarkstown High School South Girls Basketball team won at home against North, 43-29.

    I was impressed with the school spirit, hustle, sportsmanship and teamwork during both games.  Best wishes to all four teams as their season continues this week!


    North-South Boys Hoops  North-South Boys Hoops

    North-South Boys Hoops  North-South Boys Hoops

    North-South Boys Hoops  North-South Girls Hoops

    North-South Girls Hoops  North-South Girls Hoops

    North-South Girls Hoops  North-South Girls Hoops

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  • Senator Carlucci Visits Social Studies Class at South

    Posted by Martin Cox at 1/12/2017

    Senator David Carlucci immersed himself within a Social Studies class at Clarkstown High School South yesterday.

    Social Studies Teacher Brian Kiernan opened the doors to his classroom to allow the Senator to talk about his work while making connections with students through the content of Political Participation and Culture.  Following a visit to an Economics Class at Clarkstown High School North last fall, I asked the Senator to share his experiences with South students as well.  South Principal Deb Tarantino made arrangements with Mr. Kiernan, and our visit yesterday was a rewarding opportunity.

    I began by sharing with the students the importance for a Superintendent of Schools to be establishing and enhancing professional relationships within the District as well as within the school community at large.  Specifically, I explained to them how the Senator and I are partners in education, and that most recently we met with other administrators across the county as well as lawmakers to discuss budget advocacy strategies.

    When the Senator addressed the students, he talked about multiple topics.

    "You have a responsibility," he stated, "to study and understand your Constitution: to know your rights and to defend yourselves."

    He invited the students to take an active political role in their community, informing them of his Student Advisory Council meeting held yesterday afternoon at the Nanuet Library.

    I asked the Senator to explain to students the skills he uses when working with fellow lawmakers from across the work when the Senate is in session in Albany.

    "It's about the ability to communicate," he said. "What matters to me is making sure our interests are taken care of (in Rockland County). I have to listen as intently as possible, and focus on where is there an opportunity to work together (with other Senators)."

     Sen. Carlucci   Sen. Carlucci Sen. Carlucci   Sen. Carlucci

    Senator at South                                                                                  

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  • Little Tor Students Celebrate at PTA Reflections Breakfast

    Posted by Martin Cox at 1/12/2017

    Fourteen students at Little Tor Elementary were recognized yesterday for their creative talents.

    PTA President Stacey Gosman and PTA Vice President of Programs, Cira Willson, partnered with Interim Principal Matt Younghans to hand out certificates for students at the PTA Reflections Breakfast.  Board of Education members David Gosman and Walter Litvak were also in attendance for the event.

    The students at Little Tor were given an assignment to work on at home with the theme entitled What is Your Story?  They needed to create drawings and designs, as well as pictures, to reveal information about themselves as a student.  Yesterday, the students had their art work on display for their parents, administrators and Board members to view.  The students recognized were Jacob Bisono, Valentina Bisono, Adam Slomovitz, Celeste Thompson, Ayla Willson, Mia Willson, Zoe Abrams, Cristina Carbone, Ruby Friedman, Annalee Protasiewicz, Jessica Slomovitz, Rachael Slomovitz, Enya Thompson, and Angela Xu.

    Jacob Bisono (How to be the Best Ninja), Valentina Bisono (Valentina's Version of "Can't Stop the Music"), and Rachael Slomovitz ("My Dog Raisin") will have their projects advanced to State Level Judging. 

    Congratulations to our students for their creative work and to the PTA and Mr. Younghans for their leadership!


    Little Tor PTA Reflections  Little Tor Reflections

    Little Tor Reflections  Little Tor Reflections

    Little Tor Reflections  Little Tor Reflections

    Little Tor Reflections   Little Tor Reflections

    Little Tor Reflections

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  • North vs. South Basketball Doubleheader Today!

    Posted by Martin Cox at 1/12/2017

    School spirit should be at a fever pitch this afternoon and evening when the Girls and Boys Basketball Teams from North and South meet on the hardwood.

    The North-South Girls Basketball Game is set for 4 p.m at Clarkstown High School South.

    The North-South Boys Basketball Game is set for 5:45 p.m. at Clarkstown High School North.

    Best wishes to all four teams for competitive games that include outstanding hustle, sportsmanship and school spirit!

    North Boys Hoops  North Boys Hoops

    North Girls Hoops  North Girls Hoops

    South Boys Hoops  South Boys Hoops

    South Girls Hoops  South Girls Hoops

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  • Winter Concerts Continue at Festa Middle School

    Posted by Martin Cox at 1/12/2017

    Parents, students and community members packed the auditorium at Felix Festa Middle School for a wonderful evening of music last night.

    Dr. Diane Mitchell, Principal of C School, welcomed the audience to the concert and handed off the program to Music Teacher Niamh McCabe, whose Sixth Grade Chorus then performed selections including Al Schlosha D'Varim, Colors of the Wind, Any Dream Will Do, Drive My Car, and Count on Me.

    Ms. McCabe then partnered with fellow Music Teacher, Lauren Palazolo, to lead the Seventh Grade Chorus when students performed Dona Nobis Pacem, Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning, The Water is Wide, 1,000 Years, and I'm a Believer.

    Following a break in the concert, Ms. Palazolo continued the program by leading the Sixth Grade Chorus in the following selections: Canoe Song, Cold and Fugue Season, Mercy, and In Summer and Cantar!

    Closing out the evening, the largest group of students took the stage, students in the Eighth Grade Chorus, who were directed by Ms. Palazolo and Music Teacher Matthew Royal, while performing I hear America Singing, Riu Riu Chiu, and Tama Tu (A Maori Proverb).

    Our students and teachers did an outstanding job together while creating beautiful music for each other and the audience.  Special thanks go to Pianist DeWilton Lattimer, who performed last night as well as at the Concert on Tuesday.  Mr. Lattimer, an Instrumental Band Teacher at Festa, will be back next week as well, alongside colleagues Lydia Leizman and Fred Maxwell, when the concerts continue on Tuesday, January 17 and Wednesday, January 18 as students in the Band and Orchestra take the stage to perform.


    FF MS Concert  FFMS Concert

    FFMS Concert  FFMS Concert

    FFMS Concert  FFMS Concert

    FFMS Concert  FFMS Concert

    FFMS Concert  FFMS Concert ]

    FFMS Concert



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  • The Benefits of Beginning with the End in Mind

    Posted by Martin Cox at 1/11/2017

    "Visualizing something organizes one's ability to accomplish it."

              -Stephen R. Covey, Author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People


    During the Board of Education Meeting on January 9, I opened a presentation by borrowing a page from author Stephen R. Covey's philosophy.

    When presenting to the Board members about the upcoming Strategic Goals, I referenced Habit #2, Begin with the End in Mind, as written by author Stephen R. Covey (1996). The purpose of utilizing Covey's slide was to share with the Board, alongside Susan Yom, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, that the end result of the work will be revised goals with action steps accompanying each goal.

    Shortly thereafter, Heidi Bernasconi, Biology Teacher at Clarkstown High School North, contacted me to share a similar view.  Ms. Bernasconi, who also teaches a Business elective class at North, informed me that the "Beginning with the End in Mind" concept is one that she recently implemented within her Business class, showing students a Ted Talk video clip of Maurice Ashley, a Grandmaster Chess Player.

    The video clip is attached, for your information, and I find Mr. Ashley's concept very similar to leadership strategies that are implemented during administrative meetings across the District.  Specifically, Mr. Ashley states the following benefits to working backwards:

    "In order to look ahead, it pays to look backwards."

    "See an end game."

    "Steer the position that's in front of us."



    While working with administrators, faculty, staff, parents, students and Board of Education members, it is essential do exactly as Mr. Ashley is referencing.  If, while making decisions for what is in the best interest of students in our District, it is important to have the vision for where we want to go, and then strategize how we want to get there.





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  • Middle School Winter Concerts Are Underway

    Posted by Martin Cox at 1/11/2017

    Music Teacher Matt Royal opened the Winter Concert season last night at Felix Festa Middle School where his students shared the beautiful gift of music with the school community.

    Following a friendly welcome from Dr. Liz vonWurmb, K-12 Coordinator of Arts, Music and Library Media, to begin the program, Mr. Royal then directed his Sixth Grade Chorus in front of a packed auditorium with four selections: Rock Around the Clock, Hitori, Blackbird, and Life's a Happy Song.

    Next, the Seventh Grade students took the stage while Mr. Royal led the Chorus with selections that included Jingle Bells, Flight of the Grackles, Hallelujah, and Build Me Up Buttercup.

    Congratulations to our students, Mr. Royal and Pianist DeWilton Lattimer, an Instrumental Music Teacher at Festa, for the outstanding performance at the concert!

    As Dr. vonWurmb shared with the audience last night, there are three more concerts to follow.  Students are back on the stage at the Felix Festa Auditorium tonight for a 6th, 7th and 8th Grade Chorus Concert.

    The 6th Grade Orchestra and 6th Grade Band will perform on January 17th while the 7th Grade Band, 7th and 8th Grade Orchestra and 8th Grade Band performs on January 18.


    FFMS Concert  FFMS Concert

    FFMS Concert  FFMS Concert

    FFMS Concert  FFMS Concert

    FFMS Concert

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  • Students Engaged During Story Read Aloud

    Posted by Martin Cox at 1/10/2017

    Weekly visits with Principals result in great opportunities to see teaching and learning in our schools.

    During my meeting with Bardonia Elementary Principal Christine Arlt today, I had the fortunate opportunity to watch students listen to a story read aloud.  First Grade Teacher Susan Koppel injected passion and energy into her presentation of the story Tacky the Penguin, a humorous fiction story by author Helen Lester about a penguin who does things his own way and often the exact opposite of the other penguins.

    I was intrigued with the level of engagement by students who were immersed in the story and captivated by the humor.


    Susan Koppel  Susan Koppel

    Tacky the Penguin


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