From the Superintendent
Dear Mahopac Community,
2020 is off to a busy start here in Mahopac Central School District!
Our Elementary schools are busy preparing for the highly anticipated Math Night with daily practice in school and at home. I am looking forward to another memorable event with all of you.Fulmar and Lakeview are participating in The Kindness Projects, challenging everyone in both buildings to be their best everyday by thinking about their actions. At Austin Road, the entire school community is engaged in their One School/One Author program - I am looking forward to the celebration when the book reading is complete!Our Middle School is busily preparing for the Steam Fair which I expect to be even bigger and better than last year’s. I am so proud of C.A.R.E.S. at MHS which every month recognizes our students for making good choices in the areas of safety, actions, respect, engagement, and support and strengthens our community there everyday. Finally, the Penny War has begun and donations are pouring in for the JenaJackPackproject. I am looking forward to seeing if we can surpass the amount we collected last year for this incredible organization.
At the High School, the recent Lohud Athletes of the Decade honors being awarded to Jeanna Brown for bowling and Shannon Becker for softball, milestone achievements by individual athletes, and the celebration of our students who have committed to play at the collegiate level, have given us reason to be proud of past and present as we look forward to our future Mahopac Indians. In the classroom, our students have access to cutting edge courses every year, but new this January we have launched a Substance Abuse, Addiction, and Recovery class - the first of its kind in New York. Stay tuned for more news on this in the coming months.
At the District Office District, January means Kindergarten registrations and, of course, the start budget season. Through the hard work of the staff, administration, parents, and residents throughout the District, I know that 2020 is going to be a successful and fulfilling year for all of us in so many ways. Go Pac!
News & Headlines
2020-2021 Kindergarten Registration For Incoming Students
Does your child turn five years old on or before December 1, 2020? Then it's time to register!
Registration is by appointment only on these dates:
Austin Road: January 13, 15 and 30; February 5 and 13
Fulmar Road: January 24 and 28; February 7 and 25
Lakeview: January 17 and 22; February 3, 11, and 27
Please contact the Office of Central Registration at 845-621-0656, ext. 13506 or 13905 to schedule an appointment and request a registration packet. Registration packets are also available on the District website under Departments/Registration/Registration Packets/Grades K-12.
The Office of Central Registration at The Falls District Office is located at 100 Myrtle Avenue Mahopac, NY.District News & Headlines
A First for New York State: MHS Offers Students a Course in Substance Abuse, Addiction & Recovery with Counselor Certification
When students learn the facts about what’s happening with substance abuse, addiction and recovery in their local environment, they have a stake in the vitality of it. This is what two Mahopac High School educators are determined to prove next semester.
In an unprecedented feat, Davia Bugge, LCSW-R, Mahopac High School student assistance counselor, and Valarie Nierman, MS, SDA Mahopac Central School District health coordinator and high school health teacher, have designed a half-credit class “Substance Abuse, Addiction, and Recovery” for junior and senior students that not only provides an instructive immersion in substance abuse awareness, prevention and treatment but also enables a viable career path opportunity.
“Our goal is to help students better understand the plight of those who have seen their lives thrown into chaos as a result of drugs and alcohol abuse and then offer a practical way for making a possible profession in helping with recovery,” said Anthony DiCarlo, superintendent of schools.
Holding true to the Mahopac Central School District’s strategic plan for supporting students in becoming caring, collaborative and compassionate lifelong learners, this elective debuts in the new year offering rigorous coursework focused around three core modules:
- Basic Knowledge of Substance Abuse Disorders:
- Overview of the Addictions Field
- Diversity of Intervention and Treatment Approaches
The curriculum will include functional partnerships with local and state services, such as Arms Acres, Cove Care Center ®, Drug Crisis in our Backyard, The Harris Project, New York Department of Education and New York Department of Health.
“Just with the subject nature, each lesson will root in the MHS core values of compassion, resiliency, risk taking and problem solving,” Nierman said. “Twenty-seven students have already registered for this elective and will learn to view difficult situations from a new perspective. Students may or may not have a personal connection to substance abuse and addiction issues. Regardless, this course will help them gain the knowledge and skills for challenges they may face.”
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), nearly 50 percent of all high school seniors nationwide have used some sort of illicit drugs in their lifetimes. Furthermore, 60 percent of them had consumed alcohol within their last year of school. As illicit substance abuse continues to increase in the United States, so does the need for qualified, dedicated professionals to treat those suffering from addiction.
“This is why we included the OASAS [New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports] certification component to the elective which will provide each student the first-level of becoming a certified substance abuse counselor,” Bugge said.
Mahopac High School is the first school in the entire state of New York to request and be granted approval as an OASAS Education and Training Provider. The Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC) is the sole New York State credential to require the specialized addiction training needed to fully understand and treat the intricacies of addiction and at the completion of this elective, Mahopac student participants will earn their first-tier (85 hours) of certification towards the 350 hours required to be credentialed a substance abuse counselor.
The certified substance abuse counselor has a wide variety of employment options and is in high demand. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, substance abuse, behavioral disorders, and mental health counselor employment is projected to grow 22 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. This job growth is expected as people continue to seek addiction and mental health counseling.
Falling fourth to California, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, New York has the highest employment level in this occupation in the nation. Furthermore, the Bureau reports that the New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania metropolitan area has the highest employment level in this occupation and the highest annual mean wage of $56,400.
With just a prerequisite of successfully completing a required NYS health education class, any Mahopac junior or senior may register for this elective that offers the potential for a bright career path.
In learning the reality of substance abuse, addiction and recovery together, Mahopac High School students will likely transform it. And that is promising.District News & Headlines
Mahopac Teaching “Life” Beyond Academia
A well-rounded student is often considered to have an overall understanding of the world, along with the ability to write well and calculate. But students who haven’t grasped basic life skills — such as managing their time, being organized or knowing how to care for their social and emotional well-being — may graduate from high school, but also face challenges with entering adulthood.
This is largely why the Mahopac Central School District has created a required course for middle school sixth grade and high school freshman curriculum that focuses on helping students build and master skills for holistic success in and outside of the classroom. This also aligns with both the district’s strategic plan for supporting students in becoming caring, collaborative and compassionate life-long learners.
The sixth grade and freshman classes were selected to participate in this credited course because they are in transition to a higher level of learning with a new (larger) school and culture. The goal of this “skills” course is to prepare each student for college and career readiness, and to educate all students to be responsible and productive members of the community.
The need for preparing students beyond academics is not unique to Mahopac. Recently, the Pew Research Center released an analysis of Census Bureau data revealing findings that most Americans say parents are doing too much for their young adult children. “We believe incorporating real-life learning for our middle school sixth-graders and high school freshmen will help set them up for success and overall independence in school and beyond,” said Anthony DiCarlo, superintendent of Mahopac Schools.
Mahopac High School Life Class
Led by Mahopac High School Assistant Principal April Ljumic, the MHS Life curriculum creation was a collaborative effort of the High School Climate Committee, in addition to feedback from a consortium of stakeholders including students, teachers, teacher leaders, clinicians, counselors and administrators. It is rooted in the high school’s core values (risk-taking, compassion, resilience and problem-solving) and the STRIVE initiative, which stands for Be Safe, Take Responsibility, Be Respectful, Act with Integrity and Value Excellence.
“The overarching conceptual framework behind MHS Life was born from research on organizational wellness, which is near and dear to my heart,” said Dr. Matthew Lawrence, Mahopac High School principal. “One of the key factors to wellness is “Personalization,” meaning the level to which an individual or groups of individuals feel connected to each other and the organization. MHS Life is an overt mediation to increasing our sense of personalization among staff and students.
“This is designed to be a high-impact, low-stress class,” Ljumic said. The goal is to introduce freshmen to the expectations and rigor of high school life and beyond, including activities and conversations centered on boosting social, emotional, non-cognitive, executive functioning and academic skills growth.
With tactics such as social media education, digital citizenship, meditation, practicing a growth mindset and civic responsibility, the class structure varies forms of introspection work, small groups activities, guest speakers and project-based learning. Instruction is innovative, interactive, multimedia rich, and learner-centered.
“The organization of MHS Life provides the opportunity for high school resources that are important for freshmen to get to know, such as counselors, clinicians, and our SRO (School Resource Officer) to give instruction in a small student setting. Also, this benefits us logistically since we do not have to take students out of class for an assembly which was how this type of instruction was previously shared,” said Dr. Lawrence.
Throughout the school year, the curriculum is divided into three modules:
- #WeEngage: Creating a supportive learning community
- #WeEffect: Developing self-awareness and self-management
- #WeUnite: Building relationships and resolving conflicts
Perhaps the most poignant component to the class is the student self-reflection and teacher-student check-in/check-out. Students complete an individual self-reflection which allows their MHS LIFE teachers to get a pulse on how students are doing socially, emotionally and academically. Surveys include self-reflection, goal setting and an exchange on how teachers can help their students be set for all-around success.
With the real-time data from students’ surveys, teachers not only are able to have a timely check-in individually but also measure curriculum impact. “The teacher-student check-in/check-out is our opportunity to connect, build positive relationships, and trust with students on a one-on-one basis and respond to individual student needs to support success. We’ve been blown away by the honesty and openness of the students’ self-reflections, and it has really made a positive effect on how we can effectively support them to meet their individual goals and the MHS LIFE curriculum therein,” Ljumic said.
This also allows teachers to thoughtfully prepare lesson plans that are data-driven based on the needs of students.
On any given school day, you’ll find no two MHS Life lessons are alike. For instance, Kelley Posch, MHS Algebra teacher, begins her class with a guided meditation that leads to a discussion about the growth mindset principle. The class does an exercise of matching famous people who have learned from failures and risen to success. Some of her examples include Walt Disney, who was fired from a newspaper for “lacking imagination,” and JK Rowling, who was rejected by 12 publishers for her first book. The students then share their learnings via a shared virtual Google Classroom with fifth graders in Austin Road Elementary School.
Down the hall, Christine Honohan, MHS History teacher, is leading a discussion about effective study techniques. Upstairs, Amy Mahoney, MHS English teacher, and Dominic DeMatteo, MHS Physical Education teacher and varsity football coach, have combined classes and are discussing paradigm shifts. Leveraging text from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey, the class is discussing methods for shifting perception with real-life scenarios that range from interacting with teachers to peers. They work in small groups and then share with the class ways to broaden their interpretation of the way they view day-to-day situations and the world.
“There are kids on all social and academic levels in the class and this gives each one tools for success in the next level of their education and then adult world,” DeMatteo said.
Mahopac Middle School Success
Like MHS Life, the middle school curriculum, MMS Success, emphasizes strategies for personal growth and development to help sixth graders figure out their place as good citizens in their community and the world. The half-credit MMS Success class are comprised of four components: technology (including topics such as key boarding skills, Chromebook care, and responsible media usage); organization (time management, collaborating for project-based learning and making reading selections); character building/social and emotional wellness (mindfulness and positive peer interactions); and middle school logistics/safety (ranging classroom expectations to safety procedures in and out of the classroom, including the use of social media).
“Middle School is a big change for sixth-grade students, no matter where they are academically. Some students are adept in coursework but lacking the skills of navigating life as a new middle-schooler,” said Tom Cozzocrea, Mahopac Middle School principal.
With full class discussions, small groups and individual reflections submitted via Google Classroom, teachers work with students on learning and understanding different learning styles. From there, students can self-identify what type of learner they are and establish the study habits and time management techniques that work best for them. Teachers then weave in strategies for students to explore, such as note-taking methods, establishing a study routine to accommodate their busy schedules and how to access help for emotional self-care.
A recent lesson in teacher Paula Frey’s class focused on the importance of morning routines. She encouraged the students to share their routines with each other in detail, including the time their alarm goes off, morning hygiene regimes, eating breakfast and getting to school. With no right or wrong answers, she skillfully pointed out examples of growth mindset in the discussion. For example, one student commented on wanting to get up a little earlier after listening to another student talk about waking up early, so he doesn’t have to rush.
Digital citizenship is another major focus for MMS Success. “We see a big disparity among sixth-graders on this issue. Some sixth-grade students have had a cellphone for a while and are very adept with social media and others do not yet have a phone,” Cozzocrea said. “Our goal is for MMS Success to help build a foundation for our students with responsible digital citizenship for years to come.”
As the sixth graders learn how to set themselves up for success in and out of the classroom, the teachers also tie in the importance of community. Embracing the core value of giving back to those in need, the sixth graders chose to collect the following items for the Putnam Humane Society through December 12:
- Pro Plan Canned Chicken & Rice for Dogs
- Pro Plan Dry Chicken & Rice for Cats
- Friskies Canned Pate Cat Food -Kitten Food (any brand) *
- Kitty Litter
- Dog Treats*
- Dog & Cat Toys
- Large “Bully Sticks”
- XL Red & Black Kongs
- 6 ft. 1 in.-thick Nylon Leashes
- Large & Extra-Large Elk Antlers
- Blankets, Comforters & Towels **
- Gift cards to office supply stores
- Postage stamps
- Paper towels
- Dishwashing liquid
- Large Black Industrial-Sized Garbage Bags
- Hose Nozzles
* Please no treats or food that is made in China
**Please no sheets, pillows or mattress pads
Anyone interested in donating items can deliver them to the Mahopac Middle School main office.
As these freshmen and sixth graders continue their education at Mahopac, it will be interesting to follow their progress. “Something magical is going on here,” says Ljumic.District News & Headlines
Mahopac Schools Hosts Annual Family Night for English as a New Language (ENL) Learners
"If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” Nelson Mandala
Despite the cold and rainy evening, the gymnasium was filled with warm smiles and conversation for the Mahopac Central School District second annual English as a New Language (ENL) Family Night at Lakeview Elementary School on October 16. Parents and caregivers throughout the district joined the Mahopac Schools ENL team, school administration members and community resources who help support an education and healthy living.
Leigh Galione, ENL Chairperson, and Jackie Vasquez, the district translator, kicked off the evening with a welcome and overview of Mahopac Schools services and offerings to students with English as a new language.
“This evening is about you, your children and your families. It is important to know how much we care about you. We are very proud of all the wonderful programs our schools offer to ensure our children have a successful school career,” said Galione, with Vasquez translating to Spanish.
Superintendent of Schools Anthony DiCarlo gave the crowd a welcome in Spanish and spoke of the mission of Mahopac Schools to “foster a partnership between our teachers, parents, caregivers and community members to ensure our ENL students receive a strong academic, social and career foundation with high standards of excellence and achievement.”
The evening continued with the opportunity for parents and caregivers to get information and assistance from Mahopac Schools educational and support services, community health and well-being resources. Tomas Vasquez and Emmanuel Pichardo from the district’s Information Technology department were on hand to help parents with any questions, such as the parent portal signup and student Chromebooks.
“The district has a translation service we can provide in order to promote productive conversations; we don’t want families to feel they cannot contact the schools. If you need assistance, we will be here for you,” Vasquez said.
The following is a list of ENL educational and well-being support resources and services:
Mahopac Public & School Library
Information on obtaining a library card, and extracurricular programs and learning experiences
Mahopac Sports Association
Provides information on youth sports in the community such as soccer, baseball, softball, basketball, lacrosse, football, volleyball, wrestling and cheer
Open Door Family Medical Center – Brewster Office
Dental services, urgent care, immunizations, examinations and more
Putnam Community Action Partnership
Assists families with basic needs, community services and resources
Putnam/ Westchester BOCES
For families who have recently arrived from other countries and need assistance learning EnglishDistrict News & Headlines
Austin Road fifth graders become “field scientists” to help NYS stream study
Austin Road Elementary fifth graders elevated their status from students to field scientists earlier this fall when teachers Mary Jean Cerbini and Beth Doré tasked their classes with conducting a water-health study of the Water Pound Ridge Reservation stream in Pound Ridge, NY.
More than 50 students examined the stream water and surrounding area for macroinvertebrates to determine if whether there were signs of pollution. “Macroinvertebrates are creatures that do not have a spine like a crayfish, snail, and insects like dragonflies,” said Paige Bonder, a student in Mrs. Ceribini’s class. “Many macroinvertebrates cannot survive if the water is polluted,” she added.
The testing was done by kicknetting. A kicknet is a square mesh net about one meter wide and long with a pole handle on each side that is used to collect aquatic macroinvertebrates in a stream. “The students then classified them right in the stream by using placing their macrovertebrate findings in ice cube trays and using dichotomous keys and to determine what level indicator species they are,” said Cerbini.
The students were able to determine that the stream water was not polluted, and the trout eggs could be released when they reach the fingerling stage in the Spring. “I found a Dobsonfly in the stream which confirmed the water was healthy for the trout. By just finding one Dobsonfly out of 100 macroverabrates means the stream is not polluted,” said Sully Hunter, a student in Mrs. Dore’s class.
A crawfish with a missing claw was one of the many macroverabrates the students found and examined. “We learned that crawfish are somewhat sensitive to pollution and often time will fight with each other over territory,” said Hunter. Cerbini kept the injured crawfish as a pet for her classroom which her students named “Captain Hook.” “We get to see the claw back a little every day,” said Bounder.
The students’ study supports a grant from the Candreva Environmental Foundation. This New York state-based organization provides funding for local environmental education initiatives and projects that involve young people in environmental service.
The foundation was created in 1974 in memory of Dr. George Candreva, a Yorktown educator, journalist and visionary environmentalist. Since then, thousands of students in the region have participated in grant-supported activities that range from studying forest and aquatic ecosystems to developing a hands-on and student-run weather station.District News & Headlines
MHS Living Environment Teacher Inducted into NYS Master Teacher Program
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the selection of Mahopac High School Living Environment teacher Tricia Fuller-Johnson, along with 228 other educators from across the state, to join the New York State Master Teacher Program (NYSMTP) in partnership with the State University of New York and Math for America. Fuller-Johnson has been a teacher with Mahopac High School for over a decade and a science educator for over two decades.
In effort of strengthening the state’s K-12 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education, the NYSMTP honors the work of the highest-performing STEM teachers by establishing an expert community dedicated to developing expertise in teaching science, technology, computer science, robotics, coding, engineering, and math courses across grades K-12, including Advanced Placement, honors, Regents and International Baccalaureate levels. These educators will join the network of Master Teachers created in 2013, bringing the total number of Master Teachers across New York State to 1200.
"I salute these brilliant and dedicated teachers who have made an incredible, lasting impact on New York's future leaders," Governor Cuomo said. "These 228 new members of the Master Teacher Program will join the ranks of the state's top educators, a group who strive every day to enrich and expand the horizons of countless students in every corner of the Empire State."
Throughout their four-year participation in the Program, Master Teachers:
District News & Headlines
- Receive a $15,000 stipend annually.
- Engage in peer mentoring and intensive content-oriented professional development opportunities throughout the academic year.
- Work closely with pre-service and early career teachers to foster a supportive environment for the next generation of STEM teachers.
- Attend required regional cohort meetings, participate in and lead several professional development sessions each year.
DISTRICT CLERK ANNOUNCEMENTS
The Board of Education meets monthly in the Mahopac Falls auditorium at 7:30pm as follows:
Sept 19 Mar 19
Oct 24 Apr 23
Nov 21 May 19 (Voting Day)
Dec 19 May 21
Jan 23 Jun 18