Superintendent's Blog

  • Happy Halloween!

    Posted by Martin Cox on 10/31/2019

    Happy Halloween to everyone in the Clarkstown school community!

    I had the opportunity to visit seven of our 13 schools today as well as the Community Learning Center and saw some creative and fun costumes.  Best wishes to all of you for a safe night while trick or treating with family and friends.

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  • Faculty and Friends Band Shares Talent at Annual Fundraiser Concert

    Posted by Martin Cox on 10/31/2019

    The community came out to support music on October 23 at Felix Festa Middle School.

    The Clarkstown Central School District Music Department 6th annual Fundraiser Concert was held in front of a large crowd at the Festa Auditorium.  The band is comprised primarily of music teachers across the District, but also included Richard Hernandez, Assistant Director of IT, along with his father, Arsenio Hernandez and sister.  Students John Vota (North), Sam Rudin (South) and Martin Donohue (South) were members of the band as well.

    In addition to the Star-Spangled Banner, the band played a total of 12 selections: Non Piu Andrai, Somos Novios/Quando Quando Quando mix, Rise Up, Passacaglia for violin and viola, Mockingbird, Seasons of Love, Superstition, If I Ain't Got You, It Don't Mean a Thing, Capullito de aleli, Serenade in D major Flute, violin and viola, and Sing, Sing, Sing.

    Members of the band included music teachers Jason Andert, Angela Christoforou, Julie Upton, Liz vonWurmb, Cynthia Kimmel, Sophia Koukoulas, Jessica Lynady, Lydia Leizman, Larry Watson, Katie Pierce, Matt Royal, Kip Bonsignore, Vincent Reina, Jim Fogarty, Patrick Magliano II, Samantha Gambuzza, Cara Royal, Jon Ross, Michael Ponella and Niamh McCabe.

    Congratulations and thank you to the Faculty and Friends Band for sharing their amazing musical talents!

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  • Superintendent's Student Advisory Council Meets for the First Time in the New School Year

    Posted by Martin Cox on 10/29/2019

    Students from North and South High Schools came together for the first time this year to form the 2019-20 Superintendent's Student Advisory Council (SAC).

    The Council meets once per month at the Board of Education Conference Room in the Chestnut Grove Administration Building.  Agendas are most often formulated with input from the student members of the Council, but also include topics from administrators.

    Following are the members of SAC for 2019-20: Jason Albrecht (North), Ragy Bashay (North), Sorcha Byrne (North), Jayleen Caban (North), Jessica Caivano (North), Gabriel Dong (South), Jolie Falcon-Santiago (South), Aliza Feffer (North), Boston Flannery (South), Noah Jaynes (North), Ellie Kim (North), Rajan Lakhani (South), Olivia Loughlin (South), Alexa Lowenfish (North), Wyatt Mattaway (South), Emma McCormick (South), Ethan Miller (South), Michael Nunes (North), Cordelia Pestone (South), Jared Polvino (North), Jessica Polvino (North), Charlotte Salotto (North), Jordan Sheer (South), Marlee Shinder (North), Vrishin Sundaram (South), and Dora Teising (South).

    North High School Principal Dr. Harry Leonardatos, South High School Principal Deb Tarantino, and Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Susan Yom are members of SAC as well.

    Today, following opening reflections by members of the team, Ms. Yom, Ms. Tarantino and Dr. Leonardatos presented segments of a report to be delivered during the Board of Education workshop tonight (October 29) on the topic of High School Scheduling.  Students shared valuable insight and feedback on this topic during our meeting which will be processed and considered as this exploration about the high school schedule continues during the school year.

    I appreciate the presence and commitment of students who attend the SAC meetings, and appreciate their desire to be student leaders in their respective schools.

     

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  • Eighteen Clarkstown Students Participate in Theatrical Program in Manhattan

    Posted by Martin Cox on 10/23/2019

    Eighteen Clarkstown students were in their element while practicing their craft in Manhattan's Theatre District two weeks ago.

    Seventeen students from North High School and one from South High School took part in a three-day workshop, October 10-12, that brought students together from across the country, and the globe as well. The annual Theatre Arts Programme Symposium (TaPS) was held in conjunction with the International Schools Theater Association (ISTA), and I had the great opportunity to attend a segment of the program at the Ripley-Frier Studios on Eighth Avenue on October 11.

    North High School IB Theater Teacher Tim Reid was among the eight Student Ensemble Leaders who worked with the students.  South IB Theater and Music Teacher Kip Bonsignore joined Mr. Reid to support the Clarkstown contingent of students who were receiving theatrical instruction in small group settings.

    "I am so thankful for the opportunity the Theatre and Performance Symposium (TaPS) provides," said Tim Reid, while reflecting on the experience. "Our students work with students from schools around the country and around the globe, sharing interests, enjoying theatre aactivities, experiencing Broadway productions, learning from professionals, and making new, lasting friendships. It provides them in just three days with experiences we would build in a month of classes. I love seeing the excitement on their faces, hearing about some new insight they gained or upcoming performance they've created.  It's also so amazing to collaborate with our South cohort and experience the wonder of TaPS as one big ensemble.  I'm so grateful that our district recognizes the tremendous opportunity this provides and allows us to go year after year."

    Students attending this year from North High School included the following: Roma Clifford, Meaghan Johnson, Valentina Rodriguez, Siena Stoller, Olivia Riddle, Zachary Sudol, Kayle Pinedo, Charlotte Salotto, Jeremy Cazes, Makayla Fetterman, Jillian Calabrese, Claudia Jo, Emily Levy, Micah Ventry, Jack Kahan, Daniel Kurland and Jonathan Friedman.  South High School was represented by Shreya Rajkumar.

    "It's inspiring to watch the students interact with other IB Theatre students from all over the world," said Kip Bonsignore.  "Many of the students speak of the liberating aspects of the environment and how they are able to take risks in this unique and intense setting. There is also a clear distinction in the understanding of the theatre curriculum and assessment between those students who attend the trip and those who don't. I get very excited to hear the students talk passionately about the synthesis of information that occurs for them via the ensemble work, master classes, and live theater performances. This three-day trip is in many ways more valuable than an entire year of classroom instruction!"

    Congratulations to all of our students and many thanks to Mr. Reid and Mr. Bonsignore for providing leadership to our students with this outstanding theatrical experience.

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  • South Graduate Jessi Wills Wins Emmy Award

    Posted by Martin Cox on 10/16/2019

    South High School graduate Jessi Wills has won an Emmy Award.

    A member of South's Class of 2013, Ms. Wills won the Emmy for her position as Coordinating Producer for the show titled Artificial.  The Emmy Award was for the category of Primetime Outstanding Innovation in Interactive Media.  

    "In South's TV and Radio program, students have always had the capacity to explore the media field and expand their communications skills in preparation for a career in the media," said Debra Tarantino, South High School Principal.  "Under the tutelage of South's Ms. Helene Fishkin, the students overly prepared for college and a career in the communications field.  I am so proud not only alumnus Jessi Wills and her Emmy Award, but also of Ms. Fishkin and her commitment for providing the building blocks of students' success."

    "It's always a joy to see students following their dreams and succeeding too!" said Ms. Helene Fishkin. "What an amazing achievement made by Jessi.  We are so very proud of all of her accomplishments.  I am looking forward to seeing what's ahead as she and former CCSD-TV students embark on their careers."

    Congratulations to Ms. Wills on her tremendous accomplishment.  The Clarkstown school community is proud of your recognition, and we wish you great success with your career.

     

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  • Festa 7th and 8th Grade Teachers Provide Open House for Parents

    Posted by Martin Cox on 10/9/2019

    Parents were moving from one class to the next while visiting Felix Festa Middle School on September 24.

    The 7th and 8th Grade Open House resulted in a packed parking lot and bustling hallways while parents followed a shortened, simulated bell schedule of their child(ren).  While in the classrooms, parents were informed by teachers about curriculum, program, instruction, schedule and much more from content area teachers. The visit allowed for parents to ask questions along the way while seeking to understand a day in the life of their child(ren)'s academic day.

    Best wishes to all students, parents, teachers, staff and administrators in all grade levels at Felix Festa for a rewarding school year!

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  • Ragy Beshay, Sorcha Byrne Represent North High School at Board Meetings

    Posted by Martin Cox on 10/9/2019

    North High School will be represented at Board of Education meetings by Ragy Beshay and Sorcha Byrne.

    The two students are seniors at North High School and will do an excellent job representing their school while communicating to the Board of Education about current events pertaining to their school.

    Ragy Beshay is a member of the soccer, swimming and track teams and particpates in several extra-curricular activities: Science Olympiad, Model Congress, Philosophy Club, Chess Team, Health Careers Club, National Honor Society, and Model United Nations. Last summer, Ragy conducted research during an internship at the Cardiovascular and Genetics Research Center at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.

    Sorcha Byrne is a member of the school's tennis, golf and fencing teams.  She is also very active with extra-curricular activities that include the following: Model Congress Club, Philosophy Club, World of Difference Peer Leader, Model UN Delegate, Freshman Mentor, National Honor Society, St. Paul-St. Ann Food Cupboard, Student Council and Inishfree Irish Dance School.

    I appreciate the interest and energy shown by Ragy and Sorcha to be a Board of Education Student Representative, and wish them both great success in their new leadership role.

     

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