Tuesday, June 21, 2022: Budget Vote
Tuesday, June 21, 2022
Second grader Iker Contreras couldn’t get enough of “The Lemonade War,” the book that every child at Lakeview Elementary School – from kindergarten through fifth grade – read as part of Lakeview’s One School, One Book event.
Iker discussed the book with his classmates, his family and anyone who wanted to talk about how the characters teamed up to work together toward a goal, even when they didn’t really like one another.
But the part that Iker liked the most, came after the entire school finished the book, which was written by Jaqueline Davies. The best part, he said, was “The Challenge,” in which Lakeview Principal Jennifer Pontillo and several teachers had a Lemonade War of their own.
“It was very crazy,” Iker, 7, said. “It was a race and the torture was when Mrs. Pontillo got bonked over the head with a barrel full of lemonade. That was so funny.”
All of the elementary schools in the Mahopac Central School District have been running similar one book schoolwide reading events for several years now, though each school calls it by a slightly different name and not every school has such a dramatic finish. The PTOs in each school buy the books for the entire school.
The program was a big hit right from the start. Then, during the pandemic, “One School, One Book” went high-tech. Teachers, teacher aides and school staff took turns recording chapters of the book to be placed on a website that the children could access at home. High school students read chapters in Spanish so Lakeview’s English language learners and their families could participate as well. The reading schedule was placed on the website, with chapters assigned to each day. Children and their families were asked not to jump ahead.
Patricia Huestis, Instructional Educational Technology Specialist for K-5 schools, set up the websites.
“During the pandemic, we needed a way to do read-alouds for the kids, so we decided to record teachers reading each chapter,” Huestis said. “It worked really well, and we decided to keep doing it. We Screencastify the book cover and the kids can just sit, listen and concentrate on the voice that’s reading.”
Leigh Galione, Lakeview’s building coordinator and the district’s ENL Chair said sharing one book schoolwide brings the students, teachers, staff families together.
“Our One School, One Book initiative brings our entire school community together,” Galione said. “Parents & guardians can carve out time at night to read to their younger children. Siblings read to each other. Some teachers do chapter read-alouds.“
The reading took place during the month of March, and when every student finished the book, the “OSOB Challenge” was revealed.
The challenge “Jen Pontillo vs. Paws and Friends,” pitted the principal against the school’s special area teachers in a race that involved balancing lemons on spoons, squeezing lemon juice into containers and carrying marshmallows on chopsticks – not to mention a lot of hooting and hollering from the students and teachers who lined up along the route to cheer.
At the end of the race, Pontillo was doused, NFL style, with a cooler-full of lemonade.
“Connecting to each other through common literature is a wonderful, unifying experience,” Galione said. “To have that shared experience culminate in an event that the entire school can witness and participate in was the icing on the cake!”
The challenge sparked such interest in reading that Iker is now reading the second book in the series, "The Lemonade Crime."
Lakeview Elementary School kindergartners aged about 95 years in a single day when they dressed up as 100-year-olds to celebrate the 100th day of school on March 1.
The children in the school’s five kindergarten classes started the day by donning gray wigs and bowties and marching through the school. Then they spent much of the day working on activities that involved the number 100.
“This is fun, but it’s all about learning,” said kindergarten teacher Robin Clark. “The activities include reading, writing, math, and more.”
The students found 100 words in a classroom, made necklaces out of 100 Fruit Loops, and saw how far 100 steps would take them.
Do you Believe in Wishes? Students at Lakeview Elementary School do! For the past several years, they have participated in the Macy’s Believe campaign in support of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
“The Believe Campaign was once again a big success as students at Lakeview raised $637 for their friends at Make~A~Wish of the Hudson Valley,” said Denise Hembury, who teaches third grade at Lakeview. “They spent time giving back to others during the holidays and should be proud of their efforts and accomplishments.”
At Lakeview, it’s an annual tradition to support the Believe Campaign each November/December. Students take letter writing to a whole new level to help raise money for children with life-threatening illnesses.
For every heartfelt letter written to either Santa (letting him know they believe in the power of a wish) or Macy’s (thanking the company for hosting such a wonderful campaign), Macy’s donates $1 to Make-A-Wish (up to $1,000,000).
Every year before Christmas, Lakeview kindergarten classes do a Grinch Day. This year, The Kindergarten Team teachers wore shirts with the slogan “In a world of Grinches be a Cindy Lou Who!”
The exercise is not just fun for the children; it complements the Mahopac Central School District’s curriculum goals for social and emotional learning.
All day, students participate in activities tied to the Grinch. They dress up like characters in the Dr. Seuss classic book “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and its movie adaptations, and perform acts of kindness to make the Grinch’s heart grow to three times its size.
For those who might have forgotten, the Grinch, whose heart is “two sizes too small” tries to steal all the joy from Christmas in Whoville by swiping all the gifts and decorations on Christmas Eve. His plot is foiled by kindness from Cindy Lou Who, which makes his heart expand.
It’s a lesson we never get too old to relearn.
If you want to know anything about Greek and Roman mythology, just ask Luke, a fourth grader at Lakeview Elementary School.
“There’s Poseidon, the god of the sea, and Chronos, the god of time,” Luke said. “Percy Jackson is a demigod. That means he’s the son of a god, Poseidon, and a mortal.”
Luke developed his expertise by reading the Percy Jackson series of novels that he found in his class, where hundreds of picture books, young adult novels and non-fiction books line the shelves.
A classroom library stocked with high-interest books in a range of reading levels is the bedrock of the The Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, which was launched in kindergarten and first grades in the Mahopac schools in 2019. The workshop-style program was added to second and third grades last year and introduced in the fourth and fifth grades this fall.
“It was important to align the reading curriculum in all three elementary schools,” said Michael Tromblee, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Professional Learning. “Mahopac has made a commitment to the Reading and Writing Project. We’ve brought in a literacy coach to work with teachers, given teachers extra time to learn and purchased hundreds of books for each classroom so all students will have access to books that interest and engage them.”
Lakeview teachers Jeanne Russo and Don Triebel unpacked 26 boxes of books last month to line the shelves in their classroom.
“The students are really excited to read,” Russo said. “We teach them how to pick a book that is at their level. We want them to pick a book they will enjoy.”
Instead of using a textbook that contains passages of books that are chosen to illustrate a literary concept, the children read whole books. That doesn’t mean they don’t get instruction.
Reading time starts with a lesson on a topic such as character development or finding the main idea. Then the students read independently -- 20 minutes a day in class and 20 minutes a day at home. Students write about what they have read and teachers conference with students one-on-one to ensure they understand what they are reading. At the end of each book, there is a comprehension test.
At the heart of it all, however, is the freedom to choose their own books.
“This is basically old school, going back to the way people actually read,” said Triebel, who has taught in Mahopac for 26 years. “The students choose a book they are interested in and read the whole thing. Previously, we had textbooks that included bits and pieces from a book, not the whole book. It’s a different experience. This is about teaching the love of reading.”
After donning protective gear that covered him from helmet to boot, Andrew Roberto, Assistant Chief of the Mahopac Volunteer Fire Department, got down on his hands and knees and crawled through the rows of first graders at Lakeview Elementary School.
“If your house is on fire, we’re going to come in and get you,” Roberto told the children. “We’re not going to walk in. If there’s smoke, we won’t be able to see. We’ll get low on the ground and crawl around until we find you. We can look pretty scary that way. We don’t want you to be afraid of us, so we wanted to show you what we look like in all the gear.”
Chief James Stasiak had the more reassuring role, he dressed up as Sparky the Fire Dog and made all the children smile.
October is fire prevention month and Mahopac’s bravest came to teach fire safety to Lakeview Elementary students in kindergarten through fifth grade. Lt. Brian Smith reminded the students not to play with fire, to check if their home has a smoke detector, and to know the family meeting place. In the event of fire, he told the children to get out of the house and call 911.
“If there’s a fire, could you go in the pool for a meeting place?” Luca Maselli, a first grader in Dawn Ferrante’s class, asked.
“I don’t think you would want to be swimming during a fire,” Smith said. “How close is a pool to the house? Your meeting place should be a safe distance away from the house.”
The annual fire department visit is a great learning experience, first grade teacher Lisa Ettlinger said.
“We tie their visit to reading and writing about fire safety,” Ettlinger said. “Today we will read a Scholastic News magazine that talks about fire safety, and we have all of our fire safety books out for the children to read.”
Parents can reinforce the lesson, too. If families want to tour the firehouse, parents can call 845-628-3160 x121 or email email@example.com.
First, the Lakeview Elementary School runners camped on the hill started chanting “Let’s go Lakeview, Let’s go!” Not to be outdone, rivals Austin Road and Fulmar Road elementary schools got loud with cheers of their own.
The Annual All-Elementary Cross Country race at Lakeview Elementary School is the biggest good-time, healthy sporting event in Mahopac for the second-to-fifth-grade crowd. More than 300 students competed and it drew families, friends and neighbors from all over the district. Some lined up along the field waving signs, others had cameras outfitted with long zoom lenses; one spectator even launched a drone that followed the racers around the course.
“It’s great to see you all out here,” school Superintendent Anthony DiCarlo said before the races began. “It’s not about winning or losing. It’s just about having a good time.”
Tell that to Dylan, a 10-year-old in Mary Moriarty’s class at Lakeview who was the fastest boy in the fifth grade. Dylan trained every Friday afternoon with his mother, Angela O’Keefe, and it paid off when he came in first in his race.
“I heard the cheering and I got so excited,” Dylan said. “I looked one time and I got very distracted, so I tried not to look again. I just concentrated on running.”
For Kaitlin, a fifth grader in Vanessa Stavisky’s class, the race was all about school spirit. If the green t-shirt didn’t give away Kaitlin’s school allegiance, the Fulmar name in erasable marker on each of her arms might have.
“I came in as number 31,” Kaitlin said. “I count that as good. I don’t compare myself to others.”
The race, planned by the elementary school physical education teachers, is a long tradition in Mahopac.
“This event has been going on for well over 26 years,” Lauren Kittredge, a physical education teacher at Austin Road Elementary School, said. “Children in grades two to five competed in a race according to their age.”
Those ages 10 and older ran a mile. Those eight and nine years old ran three-quarters of a mile and the youngest runners, six and seven-year-olds, ran a half mile.
Alexa, a Lakewview second grader whose father stood at the sidelines with a brightly colored sign, came in fourth.
She mock-collapsed on the ground as if the race had taken all the energy she had.
Still, she will be back for more. Students from Austin, Fulmar & Lakeview schools will compete at The Mahopac Elementary 5K Run at FDR Park in Yorktown on Wednesday, Oct. 27.
Learning math isn’t only about numbers in Christina Salo and Jenn Borst’s kindergarten class at Lakeview Elementary School.
The children in the ICT, or integrated co-taught, class practiced number writing on a recent Monday by reciting poetry and playing a game of Simon Says.
When Simon -- also known as Mrs. Salo -- recited a number-writing poem, the children got to work.
“Simon says ‘Make an S and close the gate,’” Mrs. Salo said. “That’s the way to make an eight.”
The children repeated the rhyme and wrote number eight on their whiteboards.
Charlotte, who happened to be celebrating her fifth birthday on the day of the lesson, said writing the number one was easiest. The rhyme sure makes it sound easy.
“Come right down and then you’re done,” Mrs. Salo said. “That’s the way to make a one.”
Teachers often combine skills, such as using language to reinforce math and vice versa, Mrs. Salo said. When children are just learning to write numbers, it helps to have a little rhyme to remember.
As part of the National 4-H Ag Innovators Project, MHS Senior WISE Intern and Putnam 4-H Teen Leader, Anne Kasparian facilitated the Curbing Your Carbon Appetite Lesson for Denise Hembury’s 3rd Grade at Lakeview Elementary.
This is the eighth year, National 4-H Council has collaborated with Bayer for the annual 4-H Ag Innovators Experience (AIE) to provide 7,000 youth in seven selected states, from urban, suburban and rural backgrounds, the opportunity to develop the workforce skills to feed the planet. The AIE helped drive youth awareness of, and interest in, agriculture innovation and agriculture careers.
Cornell Cooperative Extension’s 4-H Youth Development Program applied for and was selected to take part in the 2021 4-H Ag Innovators Experience, Curbing Our Carbon Appetite Challenge; which is a series of interactive, hands-on activities that helps youth understand why everyone has a role to play in addressing climate change.
In January, Putnam 4-H teens were given an opportunity to apply for a leadership role to serve as 4-H Ag Innovator Youth Leaders. Five Putnam teens representing Brewster, Carmel, Haldane & Mahopac School Districts were selected.
Throughout February and March, 4-H Ag Innovator Teen Leaders took part in National and Statewide train-the-trainer workshops to learn how human activity, including burning of fossil fuels, deforestation, soil mismanagement, and unwise food systems are increasing atmospheric carbon and contributing to climate change. The 4-H Ag Innovator Teen Leaders also learned how to lead a series of hands-on activities, which are aligned to Next Generation Science Standards, for elementary and middle school students in both an in-person and virtual format.
The Putnam 4-H Ag Innovator Youth Leaders were also given the task of finding a teacher in their home school district to work with on this project and allow them to teach in their classroom.
Once teachers were identified and the training was completed, the teen leaders began to visit classrooms. Between April and June, Putnam 4-H successfully delivered the 4-H Ag Innovators Experience, Curbing Our Carbon Appetite Challenge to 266 elementary and middle school youth in Putnam County, serving four out of five school districts. We are so proud that Anne and Lakeview were part of this exciting project!
Congratulations to all our Lakeview 5th Graders and their families!
In two beautiful gatherings in the auditorium complete with all the Lakeview traditions from the Finney Award Presentation to the banner exchange to a standing ovation when Principal Jennifer Pontillo exclaimed, “You’re no longer fifth graders, you’re our newest members of the sixth grade class."
Even though it wasn’t the ‘traditional’ moving up it was a memorable ceremony. Mr. DiCarlo wished to the class and their families well and applauded their resilience over the past year and a half and Mrs. Pontillo reminded the class, “Once a bulldog, always a bulldog.”
MCSD 2020-2021 District-wide Art Show
The Mahopac Central School District believes that Art education is an essential component of human development. Through Visual Art, students are empowered to be creative, “out of the box” thinkers and conscious designers; they are able to discover and express who they are, communicate their ideas, understand the visual, cultural, and virtual world, take risks, work collaboratively, make connections in their learning, innovate, develop an increasing sense of their own aesthetic, and authentically engage in their education.
The inaugural District-wide Art Show centralizes all the a talent district wide from Kindergarten to 12th Grade. Click the link below, explore, and enjoy!
Unlike traditional fundraisers where participation is focused on raising money, this year ALL students participate in Raise Craze by completing Acts of Kindness. Students throughout the school registered on Raise Craze, an online platform where students create a username and request donations via email. Students who were registered would then post their acts of kindness online, and people in the community were able to make a donation.
The initiative kicked off with PAWS, Lakeview’s bulldog mascot, visiting each class to give teachers a bag of paper hearts. Students wrote their name on a heart each time they completed an act of kindness and added it to the Kindness Bulletin Board outside the library.
The more good deeds they did, the more dough they drew in. Kids did everything from writing letters to military members, creating cards for people living in nursing homes, decorating kindness rocks and leaving motivational messages in sidewalk chalk.
Kindergarten teacher Jenn Borst said the school has done fundraisers before, "but what was different about this one was that every child had the opportunity to do a kind act for someone else. We started each day with special education teacher Jim Lieto making fun and encouraging announcements over the loudspeaker and throughout the day they were “caught in the act” of being kind. The kids realized quickly how much their actions affect others.
Along with daily acts of kindness, the students “stuffed a bus” for St. John’s Food Drive, literally bringing in bags and bags of food items that were then transported by bus to the food pantry and the next week a similar drive, this one collecting items to be donated to the Putnam Humane Society.
As with all fundraisers, the money is going directly back to the students. Averill said it will be used for school improvements, like more picnic tables so teachers can hold class outside and other classroom supplies.
In just a few weeks, they raised $22,000, and performed 888 acts of kindness! The entire school celebrated with an ice cream party the day before the Memorial Day weekend break.
We are excited to announce that we are participating in The 2021 Great Kindness Challenge where we will join thousands of schools across the country to create a culture of kindness. This initiative is one week devoted to performing as many acts of kindness as possible in school and at home.
This past year has been challenging for our school community and the world, so we are extra excited to participate in this uplifting week of positivity. To help our students “practice kindness” and put their compassion into action, they will receive a Great Kindness Challenge checklist. The challenge will be for your child to perform as many kind acts as they can in one week. In the chart below is the schedule of events that will take place in school and virtually throughout the week. Your child is part of a powerful and positive initiative that will lead to more kindness, unity and respect at school and beyond.
This Calendar includes school breaks, holidays, and color cohort days for the entire 2020-2021 school year. *Please refer to specific communications from schools for building specific changes and updates.*
Please enjoy this Spotlight especially for Lakeview Families about the Reopening.
Teachers and staff from all three of Mahopac’s elementary schools - Lakeview, Austin Road, and Fulmer Road - held a parade on Friday, June 5, to pay tribute and say goodbye to their students, who they haven’t seen in person since the pandemic shutdown began. Students lined Route 6 with signs so they could say “goodbye” as well in a touching tribute.
Check out pictures of the parade - with many pictures submitted by YOU - here!
Read more about it and see even more pictures in the Mahopac News: https://www.tapinto.net/towns/mahopac/sections/education/articles/a-parade-of-goodbyes
The entire Mahopac Community is invited to line the parade route on Friday, June 5th, as spectators in the Mahopac Elementary End of Year Parade. Expect beeping horns, waving and cheering teachers and staff in decorated cars, and lots of smiles as the parade winds through town.
The parade will start at the bus garage at 10 a.m. After leaving the bus garage, the route will be as follow: right on Myrtle Avenue, left on Brook Road, left on Route 6N, right on Secor Road, right on North Wood Street, bear right on Bullet Hole Road, Right on Austin Road, left on Secor Road, left on Route 6N, left on Route 6 and end at approximately 10:45 a.m. on Route 6 and Crane Road.
See the flyer and trip detail below this message.