Superintendent's Blog

  • North Drama Students Shine on Stage with Performance of Copacabana

    Posted by Martin Cox on 3/19/2019

    Fifty three Clarkstown High School North Students took the stage last weekend for the drama performance of Copacabana.

    Under the leadership of Director/Choreographer Cal Chiang, the students, in partnership with the orchestra and 39 members of the stage crew, did outstanding work performing the drama written by Barry Manilow, Jack Feldman and Bruce Sussman.

    The synopsis of the drama centers on Stephen, who is aspiring to be a songwriter and has a desire to compose a hit musical.  Stephen's imagination includes a visit to 1947 and a plot centered on a young singer named Lola la Mar, an aspiring singer who arrives in New York City from Tulsa, Oklahoma.

    North's Jackson Poulin played the role of Stephen and Tony Forte while classmate Rosie Houlihan was Lola LaMar and Samantha.  Meagan Johnson played the role of Gladys Murphy, Ronny Fahmi played Sam Silver, Danny Kurland was Rico Castelli and Alyssa Spagna wsa Conchita Alvarez.

    Tim Reid, English Teacher at North High School, was Set Design Director while North Music Teacher Jason Andert was the Orchestra Conductor.

    The members of the orchestra included the following: Ian Allison (trombone), Ellie Kim (Flute), Dominic Procino (Tenor Saxophone), Peter Deak (French Horn), Arielle Arbel (Flute), John Vota (Drums), Stephen Chen (Piano), Sergio Soria Llerena (Clarinet), John Oswald (Keyboard Bass), Ryan Aguilar (Alto and Tenor Saxophone), Kenny Kowalski (Percussion), Priyanka Ramanathan (French Horn), and Dylan Frawley (Piano).

    Copacabana will be presented this week on Friday and Saturday with the drama beginning at 7 p.m. each night.

    Congratulations to the cast, crew, orchestra and directors for the outstanding opening of Copacabana, and best wishes as the performances continue this weekend!

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  • Clarkstown Students to Participate in Culinary Competition

    Posted by Martin Cox on 3/19/2019

    Nulvis Barrera and Gianna Sammarco will test their culinary skills in a competition at the Culinary Institute of America.

    Both students attend the Rockland BOCES Culinary Arts School and will take part in the ProStart Competition in different categories.  Nulvis, a junior from Clarkstown High School North, will compete with the Culinary Team.  Gianna, a junior from Clarkstown High School South, will compete with the Entrepreneur Team.

    The event will take place at the Culinary Institute of America located in Hyde Park, New York.

    The two Clarkstown students, along with North's Maria Barrera and classmates from other districts, shared their culinary talents with Rockland County Superintendents, Assistants to the Superintendent, and District Clerks on March 14 at the Rockland BOCES Culinary Arts School.  The annual luncheon was designed to show appreciation to District Clerks and Assistants to the Superintendent. 

    Rockland BOCES Chief Operating Officer Dr. Mary Jean Marsico opened the luncheon while expressing her thanks to District Clerks and Assistants to the Superintendents who were in attendance.

    Joining me for the event was Clarkstown District Clerk Lucy Crosbie and Assistant to the Superintendent Jordana Medici.  I am appreciative of the work provided by both Ms. Crosbie and Ms. Medici as their efforts make a difference for others in the District, including members of the Board of Education.

    During the March 14 luncheon, the students, under the direction of Teacher Kendall Brenner, provided their guests from across the county entree choices of sauteed shrimp with eggplant or sauteed breast of chicken with artichoke hearts.  The students attending the Culinary Arts School are doing outstanding work, and I am thankful that our students, along with other students from districts across the county, have this excellent learning opportunity provided to them by Rockland BOCES.

    Best wishes to both Nulvis Barrera and Gianna Sammarco in their upcoming culinary competition!

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  • Clarkstown Police Offer Cyber Safety Presentations

    Posted by Martin Cox on 3/18/2019

    The Clarkstown Police Department is educating the school community about Cyber Safety.

    Police Officers Norm Peters and Gary Bromm will be presenting two more sessions of a Cyber Safety presentation.

    Tonight's presentation (March 19, 2019) will also be streamed live on our Facebook Page Clarkstown Central School District beginning at 5:30 PM.

    Parents are also invited come in person to the FFMS Library either tonight, March 19 or next Tuesday evening, March 26.

    I had the opportunity to attend the first session last Tuesday, March 12 when parents joined the two officers and all members of the District's Safety and Communications Teams: John LaNave, Anthony Valenti, Maureen Sullivan, Denise Farro and Patrick Frawley.

    The presentation includes numerous slides with a focus on the following:

    **Safe and appropriate setting up and maintaining of accounts on popular apps

    **Safe and appropriate use of social media and accountability for own activity

    **Supervising and supporting children in their use of on-line tools and resources

    **Safe and appropriate use of school supported sites

    "This presentation is so important because it shows parents the current phone apps and social media sites that their children are using on a daily basis," said Patrick Frawley, District Coordinator of Safety and Security. "More importantly, the Clarkstown Police Department illustrates the danger that these technologies present. By attending, parents will learn how to stay on top of these concerns as well as, how to effectively monitor their children's activity in our modern world. I guarantee that they will all learn things they never knew existed."

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  • Clarkstown Celtic Cuig, Step Dancers Spread Irish Cheer

    Posted by Martin Cox on 3/15/2019

    The Clarkstown Celtic Cuig tradition continued today.

    An Irish band comprised of five members and three Irish Dancers visited four schools today while spreading Irish cheer.

    The Celtic Cuig began two years ago under the leadership of Fine Arts Coordinator Liz vonWurmb. Today, I had the pleasure to join three Music Teachers - Lydia Leizman (Fiddle), Niamh McCabe (Keyboard/Vocalist) and Larry Watson (Fiddle) - as well as South High School graduate Brian McCabe (Guitar), while playing Irish music at Laurel Plains Elementary, Felix Festa Middle School, Jesse J. Kaplan School and Birchwood School.  Brian McCabe, son of Niamh McCabe, is a 2017 graduate from South and currently a sophomore at the University of Notre Dame.

    Our visits to the four schools included Irish Step Dancing performed by three Sixth Grade students from Felix Festa Middle School: Devlynn King-McDonough, Emily Nunez and Maura Forde. The students, who have learned their craft at Irish Dance schools, did an outstanding job performing in both the hard and soft shoes for audiences at the four schools.

    The audiences at the schools interacted with our songs by singing, clapping and in some schools, dancing with us as well.

    Happy St. Patrick's Day!

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  • Middle School Cast Packs the Stage with Shrek Drama

    Posted by Martin Cox on 3/14/2019

    Middle School Drama Director Michael Deming provided theatrical memories for nearly 200 students last week.

    A performing cast of more than 160 students and a stage crew consisting of 29 students combined their creative efforts with a talented orchestra in the showing of Shrek.  Students took the stage for performances on Friday, Saturday and a Sunday afternoon matinee.

    Lauren Palazolo was the Musical Director and Matt Royal was the Producer. Cal Chiang was the Choreographer and Joshua Carp was Set and Lighting Design Director while Ed Johnson was in charge of Sound Design.  Katie Megerditchian was the Student Assistant Director.

    Student performers included the following: Zach Degen (Shrek), Zoe Poulin (Princess Fiona), Melchai Mathew (Donkey), William Heidelberger V (Lord Farquadd), Jesse Garcia (Three Little Pig), Nia Kuriakose (Three Little Pig), Naomi Grillo (Three Little Pig), Ava Dominick (Gingerbread/Sugar Plum Fairy), Sienna Gonzalez (Dragon), Sophia Spagna (Pinocchio).

    Members of the Orchestra included the following: Dee Lattimer (Piano), Larry Watson (Violin), Sofia Echevarria (Violin 2), Jon Schatz (Bass), Brendan Lucas (Reeds), Fred Maxwell (Trumpet), Louis Jannone (Trombone), Emanuel Lewis (Percussion), Jim Fogarty (Guitar).

    Congratulations to the cast, crew and orchestra for their outstanding performance of Shrek.

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  • South Battles Mount Vernon to the End in Class AA Basketball Title Game

    Posted by Martin Cox on 3/14/2019

    The South Boys Basketball team ran out of time against Mount Vernon in the Section I Class AA Championship Game on March 2.

    In a game that included multiple lead changes, South led by four points, 35-31, midway through the third quarter.  The fourth quarter saw both teams staying close, but late in the game, Mount Vernon went ahead by eight points with 1:25 to play.  South came right back, however, scoring five unanswered points to draw within three points in the final minute of play.  When South missed two three-point field goal attempts to tie the game within the last 15 seconds, Mount Vernon gained control of a rebound, a player was fouled, and South came up short in a 56-51 loss.

    South finished the season at 18-6 in a game that was attended by a large contingent of South supporters at Pace University.

    South was led by senior center Ryan Giordano who had 18 points and 9 rebounds. Senior Jack Tucek had 14 points, five assists and three steals; senior Tony Hastings had 10 points and four rebounds while classmate Luke Pallogudis had nine points and seven rebounds.

    Congratulations to Coach Matt Backs and his players for their great accomplishment of reaching the Class AA Championship Game!

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  • Clarkstown Bowlers Finish Sixth at State Tournament

    Posted by Martin Cox on 3/11/2019

    The Clarkstown Bowling Team, Section I Tournament Champions, finished in sixth place at the State Tournament in Syracuse last weekend.

    Senior Mike O'Malley bowled a 268 in his final game, the third-highest score of the tournament, and he finished ninth overall in the individual competition with a 1,296 series.  He was also the recipient of the Section I Championship Sportsmanship Award.

    Clarkstown Senior Dominic DeLibertis finished in 16th place with a 1,271 series. Teammates Benjamin Calabro was 28th and Dominic Procino was 32nd out of 59 total bowlers.

    Clarkstown, coached by Chris Frank, finished with a total pinfall of 6,011.

    Congratulations to the bowling team for their outstanding accomplishments.

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  • Clarkstown Staff Visits North Rockland to Study Yale RULER Program

    Posted by Martin Cox on 3/10/2019

    The Clarkstown Central School District has been studying the Yale RULER Social Emotional Learning Program.

    And teachers and staff from the neighboring North Rockland Central School District have assisted with the study.

    Clarkstown sent administrators, support personnel and a Board of Education member to see the Yale RULER Program in action during a visit at two North Rockland elementary schools in January. The visit was a valuable learning opportunity, as our team came away with a deeper understanding of how the social emotional learning approach is taught to students and embedded within the culture of a school.

    RULER is an acronym that stands for the following: Recognizing emotions in self and others; Understanding the causes and consequences of emotions; Labeling emotions accurately; Expressing emotions appropriately; and Regulating emotions effectively.

    Two separate teams from Clarkstown visited West Haverstraw Elementary and Haverstraw Elementary on January 24. 

    The North Rockland host team consisted of Laura Fojanesi, Teresa Wargo, Beth Shusterman, Reyna Texler, Denise Casanova, Amaris Scalia and Benito Herrero. 

    I had the pleasure to visit at West Haverstraw Elementary where Principal Mary Esposito hosted our team that included elementary principals Annie Streiff, Matt Younghans, Deb Forman and Lisa Maher.  Ms. Esposito did a presentation in the library and explained how the school is infusing the components of the social emotional learning program within the school curriculum and culture.  The school has developed a charter that reads, "As the leaders of West Haverstraw Elementary School, we want to feel: Connected, Calm, Motivated, Secure, and Valued."

    Later, our Clarkstown contingent walked throughout the school and then watched Staff Developer Reyna Texler lead a Yale RULER lesson within a Second Grade classroom.  In addition to Ms. Texler teaching varying components of the RULER program to students, the lesson was also an outstanding example of differentiated instruction by meeting multiple learning styles of students in the classroom.

    A second group, including Susan Yom, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, Iren Tagaris, Board of Education member, and Eileen Casey, Lakewood Elementary Interim Principal, visited Haverstraw Elementary and enjoyed a similar experience.

    Back in Clarkstown, the Social Emotional Learning Advisory Group, led by Ms. Yom, has moved in a direction of pursuing the Yale RULER program for the District.  Administrators, K-12, recently supported the concept at a meeting, and Ms. Yom will be presenting on the state of this initiative at an upcoming Board of Education meeting.

    I am appreciative of the several members of our school community for making this visit, and thankful to our neighbors at North Rockland, including Superintendent of Schools Ilena Eckert, for their generosity of time and professional development.

     

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  • South Advances to Boys Section I Class AA Basketball Finals

    Posted by Martin Cox on 3/1/2019

    The South Boys Basketball Team is playing in the Class AA Section I Finals.

    Trailing by seven points in the fourth quarter against Suffern on Wednesday evening, South went on a 7-0 run late in the game for a 43-38 win at the Westchester County Center. The team will play Mount Vernon in the Section I Class AA Championship Game tomorrow at 12 p.m. at Pace University.  Mount Vernon defeated Mahopac in the earlier semifinal game on Wednesday.

    South led early, but Suffern came back to take a lead at intermission, 18-16. 

    In the second half, Suffern maintained its lead, but South stayed close and tied the game at 38-38 when senior guard Jack Tucek stole a pass and drove for a left-handed layup with 1:01 remaining.  Senior Ryan Giordano put South ahead with under a minute to play by making a free throw, and Tucek increased the lead to three points by adding two more free throws.  Suffern tried to tie the game with three-point field goals, and when South senior Tony Hastings grabbed a rebound, he was fouled on the play.  Hastings made both free throws with 1.7 remaining on the clock to seal the win, 43-38.

    South, coached by Matt Backs, improved to 18-5 on the season.  Two of the five regular season losses were against Suffern, including the last game of the regular season when South was held to only 20 points,

    Tucek led his team in scoring with 19 points while Giordano finished with 16.

    Mount Vernon (17-4) defeated South during the regular season in a game that South trailed by only two points with under two minutes to play.

    Congratulations to Coach Backs and his players, and best wishes for success in the championship game against Mount Vernon!

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