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Minisink Kiwanis Dictionaries


A special thank you to the Minisink Valley Kiwanis organization for visiting our school and for distributing dictionaries to all of our third grade students. This is just one more example of how our local Kiwanis members go above and beyond to support our children and our community.  You can learn more about the Minisink Valley Kiwanis organization by CLICKING HERE.


Our annual school-picture day will be held next Wednesday, October 7th.  Packets for ordering and information will be coming home today with your child.  Families can choose from six backgrounds, and package pricing begins at $14.  All children will have a portrait taken, regardless of whether they go on to buy a package or not.  More information can be obtained by visiting



The Minisink Valley Intermediate School will host its annual Open House tomorrow, THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2009.  Mark your calendars!  We hope to see you there. 

  • Fourth Grade - 6:00-6:40p.m.
  • Third Grade - 6:40-7:20p.m.
  • Fifth Grade - 7:20-8:00p.m.

Our PTO will be set-up in the main lobby outside the auditorium.  Please take a moment to stop by!


Effective this year, the cafeteria will be adopting a "Point of Sale" (POS) system to quickly and effectively track lunches sold and move students through the line. 

There are benefits for everyone!  Parents will eventually be able to use the Nutri-Kids system to track student lunch and snack purchases and load money onto an account for automatic debit.  Students will be able to get their lunches faster, allowing them more time to eat and enjoy the lunch hour.  The cafeteria will be able to track lunches sold to help them forecast and prepare food. 

Students have been given a 5-digit ID number.  Be sure to ask your child what this number is and study it each night so that it becomes part of his/her memory.  If you have questions about this number, please contact your child's teacher. 

A letter will be coming home toward the end of this week detailing the specifics of this new system.


Students listened to the following words of wisdom on World Gratitude Day, which is celebrated today.

How many of you have heard the story about the plain tree?  It goes like this:

One hot, hot day, two children stopped to rest beneath a big shady tree.  It was a plain tree.  The little boy said, “What a useless tree.  It has no fruit!”

The little girl said, “Yeah, and it litters the ground with its old leaves.”

Suddenly a voice from within the tree replied, “You ungrateful creatures!  You lie here enjoying my cool shade and complain that I am useless!” 

So what is the moral of the story?  Sometimes, we’re so busy complaining about what’s wrong that we forget to be grateful for what’s good and right. 

Today is World Gratitude Day, a day for being grateful for the many gifts in our lives.  This morning, make some time to write down five things for which you are grateful.

Remember...  Be happy with what you have, and you will have plenty to be happy about!

In walking through the building, several classes were discussing this very theme!  Thanks to Ms. Gale's class and Mrs. Brenner's class for providing US with something to think about! 


On Thursday, September 17, all students in grades 3-5 gathered in the auditorium for the unveiling of the 2009-2010 MVIS Constitution.  Student delegates have gathered over the past two weeks to share input, gather feedback from their classmates, and finalize the wording. 

A copy of the constitution can be downloaded here.  This constitution differs slightly from last year's in that it delineates specific "rules" under each value statement -- a list of "dos" and "don'ts".

Congratulations to all of our delegates on a job well-done!



Mrs. Schoenleber’s fourth grade class has been hard at work learning about cells and living things. The class worked in groups to create models of plants and animal cells using jello and candy. Each group constructed the models as a team and used their creative imaginations to assign the different cell parts to the assorted candy pieces. When they were finished they enjoyed a delicious treat!


Work on the Minisink Valley Intermediate School Constitution continued today.  Delegates, one from each class, met with Ms. Peluso, Assistant Principal, today to share the input and feedback of their classmates.  These delegates came prepared with notes from their classmates (shown in the pictures above) and these notes were transcribed onto large charts.  Work on the next two days will center around getting these ideas into manageable and memorable "rules" to be listed under each of our existing value statements.  Stay tuned for further updates!  The big unveil will occur on September 17 in a school-wide assembly. 

(Photos above can be enlarged by clicking directly on them.)


On September 11th, Ms. Melvin's fifth graders took time out to show appreciation for the sacrifices made daily by our men and women in the military.  Students wrote letters to Navy Customs Battalion Juliet, Bravo Company stationed in Afghanistan.  The letters will be combined with others supplies and treats collected by a classroom mom and her co-workers.


This weekend, Sunday, September 13, we celebrate a little-known, but very important day of recognition.  It's Grandparent's Day

This morning, as part of our character education program "words of wisdom", students listened to five of their peers who were recognized through our Pledge Pass program share a fable about honoring those older and wiser than us.  The selection is excerpted below:

How many of you have heard Aesop’s fable about the donkey and the driver?  It’s about a stubborn donkey who was being driven down a mountain path.  The donkey was in a hurry to get home.  He decided that the fastest way home was straight over the cliff.  The donkey’s master said, “Listen to me, I am older and wiser than you.  That’s a very dangerous way to go.”  But the donkey refused to listen to his master’s advice.  He jumped over the cliff and tumbled head over heels down the mountain.

So what’s the moral of the story?  When we listen to the wisdom of those who are older and wiser - people like our parents, grandparents, teachers, and spiritual leaders - we can avoid dangerous and hurtful experiences.  Can you remember a time when you heard some great advice worth taking?

This weekend, maybe you can make some time to discuss this fable further with your child and honor the "grand-people" in your lives! 

Special recognition should also be given to Michael Copeland, Alex Diem, Sarah Pietrazska, Julia Paone, and Katherine Harrison for setting an example in our cafeterias.  They were the five students chosen for Pledge Pass this week.  We look forward to a year full of recognition!  Congratulations!


As your children may have told you, the first week of recess on the intermediate campus serves as a recess orientation.  Last year was our first year of implementation of this plan, and we found it to be effective in reducing disciplinary incidents on the recess grounds for a multitude of reasons. 

On day one, students meet with the assistant principal, Ms. Peluso to discuss general recess expectations to keep everyone safe and to make sure that everyone has fun!  It's a welcome and information session for them. 

On the subsequent days, students rotate through the four main recess-zones:  the basketball court, the large field, the "purple toy", and the swing / slide area.  At each of these stations, students spend a brief amount of time learning the rules of play for that particular zone and then move into playing a cooperative and community-building game, such as hula-hoop pass, toxic can, bulldog, relay races, human knot, etc.

The function of recess orientation serves many purposes.  First, students get to meet each of the recess aides assigned to the recess zones. Second, recess aides get to know the students.  While they may not learn every name in the period of orientation, it's helpful to meet the students and learn some of the group dynamics.  Students see that the aides are there to help as resources when they encounter a problem or an issue.  Finally, it provides classes and mixed groups of students a time to bond together.  Students learn the rules of play while bonding as a class. 

The resulting process is enjoyable for staff and students alike!  A Washington Post article about a similar program can be viewed and read here.

A vodcast of selected highlights of our recess orientation program can be viewed here


Student delegates were each given a passport to attend the Constitutional Convention.
A group of third grade students works with Ms. Peluso to receive their first assignment.

As you may be aware, last year, "delegates" from each homeroom in the intermediate school worked together to create an Intermediate School Constitution.  Students set the following responsibilities through value statements:

  • We will act in a safe manner at all times.
  • We will show respect to everyone and everything.
  • We will listen with our whole bodies and follow directions.
  • We will be responsible, honest, and truthful.
  • We will work hard and have fun!

This year, delegates from each homeroom have once again been selected to further develop this guiding document.  We will be adding rules under each value statement listed above - specific "dos and don'ts" for the various settings across school (bus, cafeteria, recess, hallway, etc.)

The first meeting has already taken place with the delegates on each grade level.  Delegates have now been charged with the task of gathering information from their classmates about what they think the specific rules should be. 

Delegates (one from each class) will meet again next week to finalize this list of rules and create the appended constitution.  Stay tuned for updates! 


The following is a link on how best to instruct your child to pack and carry his/her backpack.  The link was provided by Ada Pardini, district-wide Occupational Therapist.  It contains some useful tips to help keep your child safe and healthy throughout the year.


Students in Mrs. Riker's class were part of a pilot lesson featuring healthy habits, including hand-washing and proper cough and sneeze hygiene.  Students began by coating their hands with glitter and going about everyday tasks in the classroom, leaving trails of glitter on commonly-touched objects.  Students were asked what these particles of glitter represented - and they correctly responded with "germs." 

Select students then had their hands coated with a bit of paint, were asked to rub it in, and then tested the removal of paint at two sinks - one with water alone, one with water and soap.  The paint came off only with the use of soapy water.  Students were timed as to how long it took for the paint to be completely removed - and it took anywhere from 25-45 seconds, showing them that a "quick rinse" with water alone was not sufficient for the removal of germs and harmful bacteria.

The lesson concluded with a brief summation by Mrs. Black, our school nurse, on proper hygiene and healthy habits.  Students were reminded to cough and sneeze into their elbows and wash their hands thoroughly.  Mrs. Black even suggested reciting the alphabet while washing hands to ensure that their hands are spending enough time under the sink! 

Thanks to Mrs. Riker's class for being such great volunteers!  We're sure they will help to encourage healthy habits throughout the intermediate school. 


Several mornings a week, students will listen to some "words of wisdom" over the morning announcements in an effort to address character education here at the intermediate school.  Research shows that the home-school link is a critical component in any character education program. 

Quotes and activities will center around the six pillars of character -- trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship.  Special days of observance and recognition will also be highlighted.

For example, today, September 8, is National Pledge of Allegiance Day.  Students were asked to think about the words of the Pledge of Allegiance, particularly the words they didn't know (allegiance, united, republic, indivisible, liberty, justice).  Perhaps tonight at home, you can follow-up with a discussion about these words and what they mean to help students gain a better understanding of just what they're pledging when they say the Pledge of Allegiance!

We hope to post these "words of wisdom" throughout the year to continue a strong link between home and school.  If you have any questions about this portion of our character education program, please feel free to email



Thanks to an incredible outpouring of support from our community, we have collected a massive amount of supplies!  An updated inventory is below. 

  • 7 book-bags
  • 7 pencil cases
  • 4 looseleaf binders
  • 23 packs of looseleaf
  • 2 eight pocket portfolios
  • 10 composition notebooks
  • 15 pocket folders
  • 51 single subject notebooks
  • 16 packs of pencils
  • 18 boxes of crayons
  • 11 packs of index cards
  • 21 pairs of scissors
  • 7 packs of dry erase markers
  • 7 packs of colored pencils
  • 23 glue sticks
  • 5 pencil sharpeners
  • 7 packs of pencil erasers
  • 6 packs of highlighters
  • 4 packs of ballpoint pens

Once again - thank you to our incredibly committed community of teachers, students, faculty, staff, and administration for their contributions toward this project.  Many students will be the benefactors.

Should you need assistance with the acquirement of school supplies, please reach out to Ms. Amy Peluso at 845-355-5250 or via email at


The Alliegro family gets ready for the first day for Mom and the boys!
A close-up of the route sign visible to the left of every bus door.
Students coming in off the buses!
A picture of the new "chevron" style at the bus loop.

Welcome back parents, students, families, and friends!  Things went orderly and smoothly this morning on the bus loop.  Buses pulled in in the new "chevron" pattern in an effort to make the loop more safe and accommodating for students.  You've also probably noticed a change on the side of your child's bus.  Each bus now has a "route number" instead of a bus number.  This allows a little more flexibility in the event that we have to sub-out a bus in need of repair.  Students should pay attention to the ROUTE NUMBER, not the BUS NUMBER.  A close-up shot of the route number signs can be seen above. 




The first day back with teachers got off to a great start.  The morning superintendent's conference began with honoring some of our longest standing employees!  Two of these individuals work here in our building!  Pictured here are Maureen Finn, intermediate office clerical worker, and Sandy Michelitch, library aide.  Maureen began her career here at Minisink in October, 1978 in the business office, later filling in for a cafeteria aide, and then became an office clerical worker.  Congratulations to Maureen on her many years of service.  Sandy began her career at Minisink in 1984, serving as a teaching assistant for seven years at the Otisville Elementary school before transferring to the Minisink Campus as a library aide. 

Congratulations, Sandy and Maureen!  Thank you for your service to our district!  We are lucky to have you here in our building.




The MVIS Student / Parent Handbook is distributed each year on the first day of school.  In the event that you should need an additional copy, please feel free to print one here




We are eagerly anticipating the return of our intermediate students!  The first few days and weeks of school will prove to be as busy as ever!  A few pointers and reminders are listed below:

  • Supply Drive - We are still in the process of collecting supplies. A list of commonly requested items can be seen below. Supplies can be dropped off in the designated boxes outside the main office, in lower c-wing (3rd grade), or in upper c-wing (4th grade).  If you know of anyone who may need supplies, or your child may need additional supplies, please email  Of course, all submissions and needs are entirely confidential!

A few important dates and items to keep in mind as we begin the school year:

  • The first day of school for students is Wednesday, September 2.  Teachers resume session on Tuesday, September 1.
  • School is closed for Labor Day on Monday, September 7.
  • The first PTO meeting of the year will be held on Wednesday, September 16 at 5:00 p.m.
  • A state-mandated early dismissal drill will be held on Friday, September 18.
  • Open House / Back to School Night will be held on Thursday, September 24.  Grade 4 (6:00 - 6:40); Grade 3 (6:40 - 7:20); Grade 5 (7:20 - 8:00).
  • School will be closed on Monday, September 28 for Yom Kippur. 

Back to school is a time of transition.  Often times with transitions, children experience some anxiety.  While this is entirely normal, there are a few things we can do as adults to help ease the transitions.  As always, there are experts who know far more about these topics than we do!  Please feel free to peruse the articles below for some useful tips and information.


It's hard to believe that the circulars for back to school supplies have already started arriving in our mailboxes!  Many local retailers are running back-to-school specials.  In light of the recent economic pinch, we are orchestrating a SUPPLY DRIVE to help each child start off the year with a "full backpack." It is our belief that EVERY Minisink child deserves the opportunity to learn and the materials necessary to do so!  

While you're out finding supplies for your own child, if you should come across a great deal, and the desire so strikes you, pick up some extra items.  Bring or send these items into the school.  We'll maintain a supply area and distribute these items as necessary, confidentially as requested by teachers or families.  

The following items appear on multiple teacher supply request lists:

  • BOOKBAGS / BACKPACKS (gently used ones also accepted)
  • NOTEBOOKS:  composition notebooks, 5 subject notebooks, 2 subject notebooks,  3 subject notebooks, spiral notebooks
  • PAPER:  wide ruled looseleaf paper
  • POCKET FOLDERS:  preferably laminated or durable ones as they must last throughout the year
  • PENS
  • PENCILS (#2 pencils)
  • RULERS (with inches and centimeters)
  • PENCIL POUCHES (preferably not hard cases - gently used ones also accepted)

If you have any questions about the supply drive, please email or call the main office. 

Thank you in advance for your support of Minisink's children! 



Third graders had the wonderful opportunity to see hip hop dancers at their best today.  Our gracious PTO was able to sponsor an assembly called "Hip Hop Handbook".  The hip hop dancers Justin and Nuckles provided students with the opportunity to experience and enjoy various forms of urban music and dance expression in a safe, respectful, and positive format.  The presentation was customized to fit into our curriculum to promote anti-bully, literacy, character development and more.  Students and teachers enjoyed this assembly immensely.  Thank You PTO for another great assembly!  More photos can be viewed on the PTO portion of our web page. 


Thanks to many of our second into third grade parents for making the trip out on this beautiful evening to attend the incoming third grade parent informational night.  It was lovely for us to meet so many of you! 

Key information was reviewed.  In case you were unable to attend or you'd like a hard copy of the power-point used or another copy of the brochure, they can be accessed here:

Once again, thanks!  And we look forward to having you in the intermediate school!



Once again, a special THANK YOU goes out to the PTO from MVIS 3rd grade!  They provided up with a wonderful assembly all about reptiles.  The presenter was from New Jersey.  His name was Bill and he was from "Snakes 'n Scales".  He shared a few of his rescued pets:  Blue, an American Alligator, Sticks, a snapping turtle, Hernia, a Python, and Elizardbeth, a Water Monitor.  The children all enjoyed themselves while they learned about these interesting reptiles!


Thank you to our wonderful P.T.O. for organizing a wonderful fifth grade "fun day" for our upperclassmen!  Students began the day with a presentation by the Chinese Acrobats.  This was followed by a watermelon snack and a pizza lunch.  Students then enjoyed a presentation on reptiles by an exotic animal specialist.  Once again, thank you PTO for making this such a wonderful experience for everyone!

More photos can be seen on the PTO portion of the intermediate school web page.  Please click on the text "PTO" in the black box on the left side of this page.




In preparation for the fifth grade field trip today, which includes time at a restaurant, Mrs. Greiner, our speech teacher, visited several fifth grade classes to do a lesson on restaurant etiquette.  Students went through the mock-process of dining out.  Manners, appropriate behavior, and etiquette were discussed and practiced.  This was a wonderful lesson on a very important and practical life-skill that all students enjoyed! 


... Mrs. Moore's fourth grade class! With fundraising efforts totaling more than $700, Mrs. Moore's class were treated to a pasta lunch from Olive Garden complete with spaghetti, salad, and breadsticks. It's clear students enjoyed this special treat. Special thanks to our friends at Olive Garden for the wonderful conclusion to this important service learning effort!


Attention all MVES Second Grade Parents... On Monday, June 8, Mrs. Memmelaar and Ms. Peluso, administrators of the intermediate school, will be hosting an informational session about the intermediate school. Information discussed to include details about the intermediate school such as scheduling, curriculum, testing requirements, and tours of the intermediate school building. The session will begin at 7:00p.m. in the auditorium. We hope you will be able to join us for this informative session and look forward to meeting you!


For those unable to attend, we hope to post a power-point presentation of the information covered for your review.


On Friday, June 5, fourth grade classes from the intermediate school braved the spring-drizzle and headed over to Waterloo Rd. in Westtown where several historians, interested citizens, and community members prepare stations and presentations about life in this area during revolutionary and colonial times.  Students traveled back in time to learn about the hard work that went into daily life - from preparing a meal to creating rope BY HAND! It's safe to say that students got a good appreciation for the modern conveniences we all enjoy.  Students also were able to visit stations that talked about reading signs in nature (i.e., chewed sticks, animal shells, etc.) and what life would have been like specifically in this area during the hard fought Revolutionary War.

Many thanks to the community for the hard work that goes into preparing this day and for sharing it with or children!


Mrs. Riker's third grade class had a special presentation on how soil is made.  Students used hand lenses to view different types of soil found in Orange County.  They also learned the importance of soil in our environment.  Thank you Mrs. Breitenfeld  from Orange County Soil and Water for coming in to do this great presentation.


On June 3rd, Ms. Hadden, Ms. Knoepel and Ms. Wilson's class concluded their three-part field trip with The Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, NY.  We began our experience with a visit from scientist, Kim Notrin, who talked to the class about signs of spring and the life cycle of a plant.  We participated in Project BudBurst and tracked the life of a common dandelion.  On June 1st,  the classes traveled to the Cary Institute where they took a hike in the forest, completed a scavenger hunt, and participated in nature centers.  We concluded the trip with a visit to the Institute's weather monitoring station.  On June 3rd, Ms. Notrin came back to MVIS and helped us enter our dandelion findings onto iwork Numbers (a Mac spreadsheet program similar to Microsoft Excel).  We created a line graph with that data and drew conclusions regarding our findings.  A special thank you to all the chaperones who went on the trip with us!


Five 5th grade classes cooperatively used their skills in science and math.  They had to defy gravity, speed, and momentum to get their egg to safety 6 meters down.  They worked with balanced and unbalanced forces to build a padded "basket" to cradle their egg. They also added a parachute to to their constructed egg holder. Once completed, each team dropped their egg holder to the ground wishing for a safe landing.    


The Minisink Valley Kiwanis, in partnership with the intermediate school hosted the K-Kids Charter Night, last night, June 1, 2009.  The charter night serves to formally induct the club into the greater organization and establish the list of members as the first ever class of membership in the M.V.I.S. K-Kids club.  After formal proceedings, swearing in of club officers, and speeches by Kiwanis representatives and building representatives, all participants enjoyed a reception.  Congratulations to the students, their families and loved ones, and the Kiwanis.  Pictures of the event can be seen below and enlarged by clicking on the photos themselves.



Congratulations to Ms. Lees and her newspaper enrichment club on the successful publication of an intermediate school newspaper, entitled Minisink Times.  Students wrote across various genres including interviews and editorials.  An electronic copy can be downloaded and printed here.


In order to help keep our students healthy, we encourage students to keep snack purchases to $1.00 or under in the cafeteria. 


Congratulations to Mr. Karpinski, the select band, and the concert band on another stellar concert last night!  Students played a variety of songs including Kum Ba Yah, Sawmill Creek, Regal March, Malaguena, The Raider's March, Montego Bay, March 1st, Russian Sailor's Dance, and The Chronicles of Narnia!  The concert was enjoyed by students during the day and families and friends at night.  Once again, congratulations MVIS band!

A short highlight reel can be viewed here.



Fifth graders in Mrs. Marcolina's class were the beneficiaries of a visit from local veterans, Mr. Olah and Mr. Balzano.  Students learned about the difference between Memorial Day and Veteran's Day, heard about their experiences during wartime, and were able to ask questions.  Students also presented the veterans with patriotic music and food for the Castle Point food pantry.  An enjoyable visit was had by all.  Thanks to Mrs. Marcolina and Mrs. Olah for their work in coordinating this visit!

As we look forward to this long weekend, let's take time to remember those who give so much!


Mrs. Riker's 3rd Grade class has patiently been awaiting the arrival of their baby chicks.  So far 17 chicks have been born - more on the way.  The hatching of the baby chicks was part of a science lesson on life cycles. 


Several students in fourth and fifth grade have been selected to participate in the Chinese Language Initiative for the remainder of the year. Students "video-chat" with Taiwanese tutors through our Mac computers.  Shown below are a few of the groups working with their tutors. 

A video of two of the groups at work can be viewed here.


Spring is a busy time here at Minisink and in schools all across the state.  Please take note of the following dates and events:

  • Budget Vote - The annual budget vote and board of education vote will occur on May 19th across the district.  Please visit your local polling place at either school.  Voting will be open from 12p.m. to 9p.m.
  • Band Concert - The spring band concert will be held on Wednesday, May 20th at 7:00 p.m.  There is no charge for admission, however there is a suggested donation of a can of soup for our "Soup on Saturdays" campaign.
  • Memorial Day - With the leftover snow-days, the district has opted to extend the Memorial Day vacation by one day.  Students will be off from school from Friday, May 22 through Monday, May 25.  Enjoy the long weekend!


The intermediate school finished off its Pasta for Pennies fundraiser with a visit from the armored truck to pick up the bags of coins and cash.  Shown below are students seeing the money off after a visit from Cable 6 News. In all, the intermediate and elementary schools raised over $6000!  Thanks to Mr. Short and student council for spearheading this important fundraiser.


Fourth graders from the intermediate building and Otisville campus were treated to a performance by our high school band students today.  Students from all fourth grades here on the intermediate campus made their way down to the high school and sat through a 45 minute assembly where they listened to the bands play various songs, some very familiar tunes, and then had the opportunity to hear many students demonstrate their instruments on a solo basis.  This concert was held in an effort to show students the possibilities that music, specifically playing an instrument in our bands, helps to create!  Special thanks to Mr. Horner and Mr. Karpinski for their work in choreographing this special experience for our children.  Fourth grade parents, stay tuned and check in with your child about today's event!


Shown here in the picture, K-Kids representatives and advisors Mrs. DeAngelis and Mrs. Wagner

Thanks to the efforts spearheaded by our "K-Kids" and their advisors, the intermediate school collected 173 pairs of shoes to be sent off to Nike, recycled, and reused in the form of rubber playground matting and track surfaces!  Nike has a limit of 200 shoes to be recycled from any one site, however any individual can bring shoes to their store at Woodbury Commons Outlet Center.  Congratulations to our K-Kids on running such a successful campaign, and special thanks to the advisors, Mrs. DeDe DeAngelis, third grade teacher, and Mrs. Mary Jo Wagner, former Minisink teacher and current Kiwanian! 


Take a moment to think about how often you use your voice each day. Think about how strongly it is linked to your self-concept. Your voice changes with your emotions, attitude, and how you feel physically (ex., crying, excited, cold). It is important to take care of our vocal folds (also known as vocal cords), to prevent a voice disorder. Good vocal hygiene includes the following techniques:


(1) Hydrate your vocal folds.

(2) Eliminate throat clearing... Every time you clear your throat or cough, your vocal folds slam together at 70 miles per hour! Substitute with a swallow instead!

(3) Restrict use of a loud voice in windy, cold, or outdoor areas.

(4) Reduce caffeine intake.

(5) Avoid speaking in noisy situations.


Listen up! Noise can be hazardous to your health. Repeated and prolonged exposure to loud noice can affect your health, hearing, behavior, and ability to learn. Noise is the number one preventable cause of hearing loss! Sources of dangerous noise levels are televisions, ipods, rock concerts, yelling, video arcades, and many toys. Protect your ears today and save their hearing for the future with the following tips:


(1) Lower the volume of your TV, stereo, ipod, and conversations

(2) Discourage use of headphones

(3) Use ear protection at concerts, sporting events, and any other noisy places.

(4) Have a family "quiet time" every day.


You can obtain more information online from


Students, teachers, administrators, and elated families gathered in the intermediate school auditorium on Friday, May 1 to recognize the theme recognition students for the theme of caring. 

Third Grade:  Elizabeth Svede, Nicole Martinez, Alexis Tremper, Nicole Palmer, Mackenzie Peterson, Alonso O'Bannon

Fourth Grade:  Kylee Winner, Alyssa Rodriguez, Brianna Cabrera, Anisha Chawla, Haley Pepe, Ashley Marquez, Amanda Hulse

Fifth Grade:  Rachel Myers, Priscilla Ortiz, Melissa Iovino, Cassidy Seagren, Evan Heinz, Jillian Dolce

Congratulations to each of these students and the role-models in their lives who help them to demonstrate this exceptional quality! We will gather once again in June to recognize students for the attribute of citizenship. 


Recently, the intermediate school has forged a partnership with our local Kiwanis organization to create a K-Kids group for students in grades 3-5. K-Kids is the elementary version of the Kiwanis, and students work under the guidance of a faculty advisor and a Kiwanian to engage in service learning projects to help the community.


The first project this group has taken on involves a partnership with the Nike Shoe Corporation. Students have been asked to bring in old shoes, those that don't fit anymore or those that have simply experienced a lifetime of wear and tear. Sneakers and shoes should have only a minimal amount of metal. Sneakers are then sent to Nike where they are ground up into shredded bits to be made into playground material and track surfaces. Our K-Kids have set a goal of collecting 200 pairs of sneakers.


Special thanks to Mrs. DeAngelis, third grade teacher, and Mrs. Wagner, former Minisink teacher and Kiwanian representative for their guidance and organization of this fantastic project. We look forward to collecting many more shoes!


Recently, Mrs. Riker's 3rd grade students covered a unit in Social Studies that dealt with people and communities in different placss.  This lesson included learning about important geographic physical features.  To gain further knowledge and assess students on their understanding, students created their own geographic models out of clay. Once landforms were created they painted them to represent the physical characteristics of each one.



Thanks to the Intermediate School PTO for another fabulous assembly.  This time, they have brought in an exceptional presentation, entitled Earth Adventure.  Students participated in a 20 minute assembly with a giant nineteen-foot balloon constructed from satellite photos of the earth's surface.  The lesson began with students removing their shoes and viewing the earth from the outside.  The presenter, Sonya, from Earth Adventure began by going over some fascinating facts about Africa, and the different climates visible from space, including everything from rainforests to deserts.  Students then walked around to South America where she discussed the various climates and landforms visible on this continent.  After viewing both South America and Africa, students were allowed inside the earth balloon where they were able to see the reverse view of several of the continents and landforms.  The lesson concluded with a question and answer session.  It was one of the finest presentations we've had to date here at the intermediate school.  Once again, thank you PTO for funding this fabulous opportunity!


With the recent heatwave this week, it appears as though spring has sprung!  With recess headed outdoors as long as it's sunny, you may wish to apply sunscreen on your child.  Please have him/her do so at home prior to coming to school.  We'd hate for any children to miss their valuable recess time to apply sunblock!  Thirty minutes seems to go by so quickly!


Learning about gallons, quarts, pints and cups can be fun.  The third grade students in Mrs. Riker's class learned about standard units of measuring liquid by constructing a gallon man.  The gallon is the man's body, the quarts are his arms and legs, the pints are his arm and leg extensions, and the cups are his fingers and toes.  Using a hands-on approach has really helped students grasp this concept.


Upon our return from spring break, students in fourth grade will be participating in their last state test of the year, the New York State Science test.  On Tuesday, April 21, all students in fourth grade will take the written/objective portion of the test.  This portion of the test is not timed.  Students are afforded as much time as they require to demonstrate their content knowledge of science.

On Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of the same week, students will cycle through a secure manipulative site where they will demonstrate their science skills on a variety of hands-on stations.  The following classes will test on the following dates:

Wednesday, April 22 - Mrs. Marasco, Ms. Lees, and Mrs. Moore

Thursday, April 23 - Ms. Hadden, Mrs. Dronke, Mr. Swart

Friday, April 24 - Ms. Monahan, Ms. Knoepfel, and Mrs. Schoenleber.

If you know in advance that your child will not be here on the day of testing, it may be possible for us to have him/her test with another class.  Please notify Ms. Peluso at 

Additionally, if your child has testing accommodations in accordance with his/her 504 plan or Individualized Education Plan (IEP), he/she may be taking the manipulative portion of the test at a different time than his/her homeroom.  Proper arrangements have been made to ensure that your child will receive his/her accommodations.


Ms. Rosa and Ms. McGrath's reading classes welcomed spring with creative writing activities.  These activities awakened our senses, made our sentences bloom and had us flying with excitement!


Many thanks to our Intermediate School PTO for approving a "no-travel" field trip!  Students traveled back to colonial times and experienced writing with a quill pen under the guidance of Mr. Richard Albert.  More information can be obtained by visiting


Three students in Mrs. DeAngelis' third grade class were selected as winners of the Middletown B.P.O Elks poster contest.  Students were asked to design posters under the anti-drug message, "Be Smart, Don't Start!"  The awards went to:

Morgan Palenik (1st Place)
Danielle Bellettiere (2nd Place)
Rebecca Moyer (3rd Place)

Morgan received a $100 savings bond.  Danielle and Rebecca each received a $50 savings bond.  Congratulations to all who participated in Mrs. Deangelis' class.


Fourth graders are hard at work preparing for the New York State science test to be administered the week of April 20.  Ms. Lees' fourth grade class has created posters to demonstrate their knowledge of complete circuits.  Pictured below are the exceptional works of art of several students in that class.


Music in Our Schools Month concluded today with a concert performed by the third grade chorus.  The students sang five songs, including the National Anthem, a traditional Hawaiian folksong about the sandpiper, Follow the Drinking Gourd, The Magic in the Music, and a multi-cultural song about peace! 

Over 200 students participated in the singing portion of the concert, and all grades enjoyed listening to the hard-won fruits of the third graders' efforts. 

Third, fourth, and fifth graders concluded this assembly with a slide-show of many of our students participating in music and performing arts here at the intermediate school.

We thank Mr. Loretto and Ms. MacDonald for their hard work in orchestrating and organizing the many exciting activities for Music in Our Schools Month.  I think we have all learned a great deal!


Minisink Valley Intermediate School has partnered with the local Kiwanis organization to create a K-Kids program, committed to making the school and community a better place!  We are excited to be offering this community service organization for our young students.  Pictured here are students, one from every homeroom in the intermediate school.  The students will discuss opportunities for community service at their next meeting.  Students selected for the organization are Annmarie Traverse, Jessica O'Connor, Sophia Einhorn, Meghan O'Shea, Emma Hogan, Sydney Waltenberg-O'Brien, Andrew Fenner, Kaylee Welch, Brianna Elliott, Alexis Pitt, Samantha Savaglio, Sydney Maurizzio, Andrew Marotto, Samantha Mattera, Madalyn Monto, Peter Vaughn, Lovina John, Jacqueline Conti, Rebecca FitzGerald, Priscilla Ortiz, Jarred Greiner, Daniel Aquino, Kalina Riggs, Anthony Long, and Olivia Meza.  Thanks to our Kiwanians, Mr. David Morse, Mr. Jim Lawler, and Mrs. Mary Jo Wagner for their assistance in getting this exciting program off the ground!


We'd like to congratulate the cast, crew, advisors, and volunteers on an amazing job on this year's spring musical!  Last night, over 100 intermediate students performed in the spring musical, 101 Dalmatians, under the guidance of Mrs. Riker, Mrs. Moore, and Mrs. Stivers.  It was a proud moment for the intermediate school! 

Some more photos taken at a daytime performance can be seen below.  Photos were taken by our art teacher, Mrs. Roberta Fair. 



On Friday March 27th,  Ms. Hadden, Ms. Knoepfel, and Ms. Wilson's classes welcomed ecologist Kim Notrin  from the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, located in Millbrook, NY.  The students discussed signs of spring, life cycle of plants and began a nation-wide phenology study called Project Bud Burst.  Our very own 4th graders became citizen scientists and will continue this project until the beginning of June.  Project BudBurst engages the public in making careful observations of the phenophases such as first leafing, first flower, and first fruit ripening of a diversity of trees, shrubs, flowers, and grasses in their local area.  Scientists will use this information that we collected in a study of our local and global climates.  The students will record the changes in dandelions in the school yard for the next 9 weeks or so!  For more information, please visit



Over one hundred students from the intermediate school Different Stages Drama Club have worked hard all year on the production of a spring musical. Under the guidance of Mrs. Rose Riker, Mrs. Jennifer Moore, and Mrs. Arlene Stivers, students have memorized lines, songs, and choreography of the adapted version of the Disney classic, 101 Dalmatians. The curtain goes up on this musical on Tuesday night, March 31st at 7:00p.m. in the intermediate school auditorium. There is no admission charge. We are pleased to extend an invitation to this performance to parents, family members, and community members. Please join us.

Photo credit - Mr. Shawn O'Connor


In preparation for the NY State science test, Miss Monahan's fourth graders spent some time investigating the mass of various classroom objects using balances. The students made predictions and tested them out to see if they were correct. Some of their results were surprising!

Fourth graders will take the science test during the week of April 20-24th.  Testing will begin on Tuesday with the written portion of the examination. On one of the following three days, students will take the performance portion of the test.



Parents and community members are cordially invited to a performance by the third grade chorus to be held on Thursday, April 2nd at 1:30p.m. in the intermediate school auditorium.  Our third grade students have been hard at work since September to prepare for this very special concert!  This performance serves as a culminating event for Music in Our Schools Month.  Our third graders will be joined by several fourth and fifth graders to provide you with a sampling of the many music activities in which our students are actively engaged throughout the year.  We hope to see parents and community members here with us enjoying the musical talents of our youngest grade!


In light of the change in the conference day, we have extended the submission deadline for the gifted and talented course academy enrollment.  Invitations were sent out earlier in the week of March 16 with a suggested due date of March 23.  The deadline has been extended to Tuesday, March 24, the first day back from the long weekend for students.  Submissions may be made via the form you received in the mail, or by email to




Parents and students, please be advised that Monday, March 23, there will be no school for students.  This is a periodic conference day for teachers used to score New York State Assessments.

Enjoy the extended weekend!




Mrs. Clark's class recently completed a read-aloud project.  Students took their "Read-Aloud" projects one step farther by reading them to the "Crayon Box" students in Mrs. Walker's kindergarten and Mrs. Levin's 1st grade classes.  What a great treat it was for these good listeners!


Students from grades 3, 4, and 5 gathered in the auditorium on Wednesday, March 11 to recognize one student from each class as being the "fairest of them all"!  Congratulations to each of the students listed below as well as their families.

Grade 3 - Nick Mikulski, Jocelyn Myers, Jessica Herman, Hannah Whitlock, Daniel Clancy, Thomas Murray, and Christa Westby

Grade 4 -
Colin Smith, Shawn Reardon, Victoria Bruschi, Dave Fletcher, Richard Cummings, John Janisheski, and Danae Jackson

Grade 5 -
Alexis Joannides, Timmy Gold, Mauricio Heredia, Jamie Lane, Dalton Chu, Erik Baker, Jenna Trone, Joseph DeRose, and Ryan Doyle

Once again, congratulations!  Pictures of each of these fine and upstanding students can be seen on the large bulletin board outside the office.

Attention All 5th Graders!

Project Cooperation Sign Up

This fun summer program will run from Monday August 3rd to Thursday August 6th, 2009. Each morning begins at 9:00 AM and dismissal is at 3:15 PM. Rain or Shine! You must provide your own transportation and a clean, pre-washed white T-shirt is also required to bring in the first day of camp. Each day has a special activity, games  and a theme. All activities are designed to be a lot of fun for the kids, but they also have another goal: to teach our sixth graders to work cooperatively, to build leadership skills, and to increase self esteem. Please print out this permission form and send it to the Intermediate School Office no later than June 1st with your $10.00 fee.


As part of our tribute to Music in Our Schools month, Mr. Loretto and Ms. MacDonald have developed daily trivia questions.  The questions for each day are listed below.  Check back each day for a new question, or for a previous day's question in case you were absent.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009 - 

Wednesday, March 11, 2009 -

Thursday, March 12, 2009 -

Friday, March 13, 2009 -

Monday, March 16, 2009 -

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 -

Wednesday, March 18, 2009 -

Thursday, March 19, 2009 -

Friday, March 20, 2009 -


As they study time order and sequence words, Mrs. Clark's class is presenting their "How To" projects.  Vince Giuga presented -How to Grow Strawberries- complete with a hands on activity and pamphlet discussing nutritional data and steps for planting the class project outside.  Each student enjoyed creating his/her own potted strawberry plant and learning how to transplant it.  Let's hope for a spring and summer full of strawberry shortcakes for all! 

Thanks, Vince for your exceptional project and for passing on your green-thumb! 

Mrs. Clark's class continued to wow the teachers, administrators, and fellow students with another great project!  Curtis Ayers made his presentation, showing students the ever important life-skill of mending a button!  Pictures of the students and their completed button projects are shown below

Here Jillian Dolce, from Mrs. Clark's class, demonstrates how to make a banana split.  Jillian chose a great idea for her project, and gave us a great snack too.


Mrs. Leslie's class, as a part of their study of Native Americans, created wampum belts using various household materials (paper bags, buttons, graph paper).  Shown below are the students modeling their creations. 



Mrs. Riker's class spotted some leprechaun's today!  In honor of St. Patrick's Day, and as a fun activity post-math testing, the students engaged in a fun craft activity to make leprechauns.  Students colored in the template, glued them to a large styrofoam cup, and planted grass seed on the inside to serve as "hair" sticking out of the leprechaun's hat!  Shown below are students going through the process to create their crafts. 


The benefits of music and the arts in our school are wide and far-reaching.  Music in schools shows benefits in graduation rates, attendance rates, SAT performance, and even salary earnings!

Mr. Loretto and Ms. MacDonald, music teachers at the Intermediate School, have put together a fabulous sampling of programs for Music in Our Schools Month.  During March, there will be many activities to emphasize the importance of music in our schools.  Students will be listening to music in the morning as they enter the building, participating in daily trivia questions, taking part in a poster contest, singing as part of the "world's largest concert", and have an opportunity to listen to our third grade chorus!

For more information about music in our schools, please visit, the National Association for Music in Education.  Please also stay tuned to this website for more highlights of Music in Our Schools Month!


This week is the scheduled week for the New York State Math Assessment. Fourth graders take a three day exam, and third and fifth graders each take a two day exam. The schedule has been revised due to the snow-day.


Fourth graders will be testing on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.


Third and fifth graders will be testing on Friday and Monday.



The PTO and many intermediate families enjoyed a night of snow-tubing at Orange County / Thomas Bull Memorial Park in Montgomery in Friday, February 20th.  Pictures of this exciting event can be found on the PTO link on our page (here).  Thanks to Mrs. Crumm and the PTO for organizing such a fun event!


Our PTO Book Fair begins tomorrow.  The PTO will also have an evening sale so parents can attend with children. The evening opening will occur on Wednesday, February 25th.  It will be open immediately after school until 7:00p.m.  We hope you can join us to select some fabulous books!


After studying Native Americans of New York, students in Mrs. Dronke's fourth grade class were charged with the task of creating a model of a Native American village.  Students used various materials to create their exquisite dioramas as evidenced in the pictures below.  Though the Native Americans left no written record, we know that they lived in dwellings called longhouses and wigwams with several other families.  They survived by hunting, gathering, and farming.


Mr Short’s class recently used one of the district’s CPS, “clicker”, systems to review for the 5th grade New York State Math exam. Using this system the students can answer multiple choice, true/false, yes/no, and numeric questions with a push of a button. The students are given immediate feedback on the correct answer. Within minutes of the students completion of the test the teacher can generate a variety of reports from item analysis to results for each individual student.


The following classes will attend the PTO Book Fair schedule at the following times.  If you wish to accompany your child to the book fair, please meet him/her at the A-Gym (below the office).

9:15 - 9:35 - Ms. Knoepfel
9:40 - 10:00 - Ms. Gale / Mrs. Kosowicz
10:05 - 10:25 - Mrs. Riker
10:30 - 10:50 - Ms. Lees and Mr. Passamonte
10:55 - 11:15 - Mrs. Tava / Mrs. VanderDrift
11:20 - 11:40 - Mrs. DeAngelis
11:45 - 12:05 - Ms. Monahan
12:40 - 1:00 - Mr. Conklin
1:10 - 1:30 - Mrs. McKeon
1:35 - 1:55 - Mrs. Schoenleber
2:00 - 2:20 - Mrs. Moore
2:25 - 2:45 - Mrs. Dronke

9:15 - 9:35 - Mr. Short
9:40 - 10:00 - Mrs. Marasco
10:05 - 10:25 - Mrs. Carr
10:30 - 10:50 - Mrs. Gallant and Mrs. Melvin
10:55 - 11:15 - Mrs. Blose
11:20 - 11:40 - Mr. Swart
11:45 - 12:05 - Mrs. Clark
12:45 - 1:05 - Mrs. Brenner / Mrs. Conklin
1:10 - 1:30 - Mrs. Green
1:35 - 1:55 - Ms. Hadden / Ms. Wilson
2:00 - 2:20 - Mrs. Marcolina
2:25 - 2:45 - Mr. Sirico


The students were given a "mission" to create a homemade "brass Instrument" using any kind of tube from home - cardboard, such as from a paper towel roll, plastic, rubber etc.  They were welcome to make their tube straight or curved into any shape, as long as the air could travel through the tube.  Their instrument had to be played by buzzing or vibrating the lips up against the opening of the tube in order to be classified as a brass instrument.  They learned that if an instrument were to be played by just blowing, this would be put it in the woodwind instrument category.

Students were given the option to attach a mouthpiece on one end of their tube to give them a more suitable place to buzz/vibrate their lips against in order to produce the sound (the top of a soda or water bottle is a perfect size for this)  They were also given the option of adding a bell, or cone shape at the other end of the tube, to help make the sound louder.  

Students were invited to decorate their instrument in any way they wished making it completely unique. Finally, they were asked to practice making sound on their instrument, working on getting their lips to buzz to make the sound, playing rhythm patterns and even making the pitch higher or lower by tightening or loosening their lips.  

As a final culminating experience, each class had a great time making music together and performing for their teacher in their own class "Brass" Band!



Ms. Rosa and Ms. McGrath's third and fifth graders wrote heart poems for Valentine's Day.  They wrote about love, family, and friends.  They truly spoke words from their heart.  Seen below is a photo of the hearts on display.  Happy Valentine's Day to our Minisink Community!


Congratulations to our Artsonia winners pictured below!


The Art Club created Adire Eleko silk scarves using patterns from Nigeria.  A resist material was applied to the silk and allowed to dry overnight.  The silk scarves were dyed using Procion cold water dyes.  The resist material was removed using hot, soapy water.  The remaining designs show the beautiful repeating patterns typical of the Yoruba tribal art of Nigeria.  Our scarves will be on display in the intermediate school in March.


The students in Mrs. Tava and Mrs. VanderDrift's 5th grade class investigated plants.  They experimented with celery stalks and red and blue food coloring.  Through observation they  learned how water travels through plants.  The red and blue water traveled up the celery all the way to the leaf!


Mrs. Clark's class enjoyed tasting 6 different cookies at stations, judging their look, texture, smell, and taste. The students collected their sensory data at the different stations. They will be writing descriptive paragraphs about this taste testing and sensory information, as well as voting for their favorite cookie, and which cookie they think is their teacher's favorite.  Don't forget the supporting details!

Shown below are the students "multi-tasking"... eating while collecting data.  So distracting!



Did you know that heart disease is the number one killer of women? Today, February 6, is the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women campaign day. The intermediate school, as well as all other schools and offices in the district, participated by raising funds for women's heart issues and wearing red. In the intermediate school alone, we raised nearly $200! Celebrate heart health by choosing to move and learning to live! Learn more by visiting .


Special thanks to fourth grader Bae Corinne Schulz for taking the photo, allowing all teachers, staff, and administrators to take part in the picture!




With Valentine's Day quickly approaching, Ms. Rosa and Ms. McGrath's reading classes have begun reading The Chocolate Touch by Patrick Skene Catling.  Ms. McGrath and Ms. Rosa's fourth graders were making chocolate poems to enhance their study of this novel.  They used adjectives, nouns, and their senses to write about their love for chocolate.  The result was creamy, delicious, mouth watering fun!




Students in Mrs. McKeon's class enjoyed a healthy luncheon the other day.  After reading the book Stone Soup, the students talked about communities, the importance of generosity, how one person can make a difference, and what can happen when a community comes together.  Each student brought in an ingredient to emphasize these important qualities.

A recipe for stone soup can be found here.



Students from all grade levels met in the auditorium today to recognize one member of each class for exemplary behavior in the area of responsibility. Ms. Peluso conducted the assembly, showing each grade level a selected short film about responsibility from Liberty Mutual's RESPONSIBILITY PROJECT website. Congratulations to all students and their families on this special recognition. The following is a partial list of recognized students (Students without consent to have names on the internet have been omitted from the following list).



Jacob Roccabruna, Emma Krish, Brian Ford, Aaron Earl, Hunter Madison, Ethan Vetter, Jake Dennehy



Anthony Herrera, Kevin Lewis, Kimberly Keenan, Keegan Flanagan, Gabriella Ziobro



Mikayla VanDervoort, Savana Rivera, Alexis Healy, Emily O'Connor, Madeline Guyette, Jacqueline Conti, Harley Baker, Rebecca Biddle, Mark Krupinski





Mrs. Marcolina's class celebrated National Puzzle Day today. While crossword puzzles are commonly known as the most loved puzzle, Sudoku is coming up from behind! Pictures of Mrs. Marcolina's class can be seen below. Fun (and learning!) was had by all!


The character theme recognition assembly is scheduled for Thursday, January 29th. In the event of a DELAY, or SCHOOL CLOSURE on Thursday, the 29th, the assembly will be rescheduled for Friday, January 30th for the same times as it was scheduled on the 29th. If you have any questions, please feel free to email or call Ms. Amy Peluso, building assistant principal.


Teachers throughout the district assist in grading the 3-8 ELA and math assessments each year. We had originally set March 30, 2009 for the grading of the math tests. We changed the date to March 20 so that we could report our scores to the regional grading center. We were just informed that the grading materials for those exams will not be ready until close of business on March 20. Therefore, we must move the date one more time to March 23. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause our students and their families.




Miss Monahan's 4th grade classroom was transformed on Friday into Grammar Boot Camp. The grammatical military all-stars worked hard to show their knowledge through a series of stations with some physical "Brain-Gym" exercises along the way. The students each had a chance to bowl for different types of sentences, unscramble complete sentences and re-write fragments, assemble complete "burger" paragraphs, test their noun knowledge with electro-boards, and beat the clock with flip-chute flash cards. The "recruits" agreed that this was a fun way to end the ELA work that they have been devoting so much of their time to.

Ms. Monahan holds up a grammar flip chute.
Students practice with flip chutes at the brain agility station.
Students bowl for grammar trivia questions.
A student creates a hamburger model of a paragraph.
Students unscramble the eggs to form complete, grammatically correct sentences.
Students pause for a brain-gym exercise, proven to enhance learning by crossing the mid-line.
Mrs. Memmelaar, Principal, helps a student with the electro-boards.


Mrs. Riker's third grade class explored symmetry today with various hands-on activities.  The students started by looking at objects brought in by their teacher that resembled symmetrical objects.  They then made symmetrical patterns with pattern blocks and concluded by making their own symmetrical designs shown in the pictures. 


Congratulations to our Intermediate School Grade 5 band students and to Mr. Karpinski on an exceptional concert last night!  The auditorium was packed with supportive family, friends, administrators, and board members.  We thank you all for taking time out of your busy schedules to attend this wonderful concert.  The students have worked very hard from the beginning of the school year, and the several song selections that they played were evidence of their hard work.  More than eighty fifth graders participate in the Intermediate School band and it is great source of pride for them.  We hope that they will continue to enjoy the language of music and the joy of the arts throughout their careers here at Minisink. 


This evening, our intermediate school band will be putting on a winter concert for parents, family members, and friends.  The band is directed by Mr. Joe Karpinski.  The show begins promptly at 7:00 p.m. in the Intermediate School auditorium. 

Admission is free, but we ask that you consider bringing a can of soup as a donation for our Soup on Saturday food drive.  We hope to see you there!


School is not in session today in remembrance of one of our nation's greatest civil rights leaders, Martin Luther King, Jr.  On this day off, let's remember one of King's more famous quotes...

"Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?' "

Stay tuned for details this winter and spring about one small way we can do for others.  Please consider supporting our Soup on Saturday canned food drive.




Mrs. Moore's fourth grade class made a trip to the computer lab today to explore factorization, multiplication, and multiples.  They used the interactive shodor site, available here

Mrs. Moore begins her lesson with a discussion about arrays.
Students log onto the shodor site.
Colin works on arrays.
Bridget does the same.
One row of engaged students!
And another!
And another!
And another!
The gift of technology is not lost on Minisink's students and teachers!


Mrs. Greiner, our speech and language teacher worked with several classes in grades 3-5 to help prepare for the New York State English Language Arts assessment.  Students engaged in a series of fun activities, encouraging them to listen, to read all choices before selecting an answer for a multiple choice lesson, and to use prior knowledge to predict possible outcomes.

Shown here is Mrs. Clark's class engaging in some hands-on activities. 


The Intermediate School is proud to announce the opening of our state of the art computer lab.  The lab, equipped with 26 imacs, a projector, and a smart board is an extremely useful tool in preparing our students for the 21st century demands they will have to meet in their lifetimes! 

Shown here are teachers and teacher aides catching some lunchtime tutorials on the equipment and software.

Special thanks to our technology team, including Mrs. Decker, Mr. Veety, and Mr. Goliber for their hard work in getting our lab up and running.  Special thanks also goes out to the buildings and grounds department for their assistance with wiring.


PTO will be sponsoring a movie night for Kung Fu Panda Friday, January 16th.  Doors will open at 6:00p.m. and the movie will begin at 6:30.  Snacks and refreshments will be available for purchase at the show.  Admission is $1.00 and a can of soup (to benefit our Kiwanis Saturday Soup program.)

Additionally, two large stuffed figures from the movie will be raffled off!




Our Intermediate Students are hard at work this week with the New York State English Language Arts test.  Fourth graders began testing yesterday, Monday, and will continue through Wednesday.  Third and Fifth grade students will test on Thursday and Friday.  Students and their teachers have been hard at work preparing for these tests with strategies, practice tests, and various other classroom strategies.  We are confident in their abilities and we know they will excel!

Often, parents ask what can be done at home to help prepare their children for the tests.  While the format of the test is the same from year to year, we play a guessing game when it comes to the individual questions, stories, or themes.  However, there are a few small things to keep in mind as you send your child out the door

  • Keep it cool around your kids.  Nothing stresses a child out more than the stress of his/her parents.  Children will mirror your attitude toward the testing, good, bad, or indifferent!
  • Encourage your child, but don't put too much stress on him/her.  Remember, it's only two days out of the entire year.
  • Make sure to keep to a routine.  Your child should be in bed at the normal time, or earlier, and have a healthy breakfast before heading off to school.
  • On his/her way out the door, give your child an encouraging message, and greet him/her with an encouraging message when he/she arrives home.

Below are a few links you may find useful in helping you to get a better picture of the NYS testing requirements:


The Minisink Valley School District is partnering with the Kiwanis Club to begin a Saturday Soup Day.  The goal is to help people in need who might be experiencing difficulty during these trying economic times.  Each building will be collecting cans of soup for distribution.  In an effort to help facilitate this, we will be collecting cans at some upcoming events. 

The Intermediate School P.T.O. will be hosting a movie night -"Kung Fu Panda" - on Friday, January 16th at 6:30p.m.  Admission is $1.00 per person and a can of soup.

The Intermeidate Band Concert will be held on January 20th at 7:00p.m.  There is no admission; however we do ask that you consider donating a can of soup.

Thank you for your support on behalf of the Minisink community!


We use two conference days, one in February and one in March, for our teachers to grade the 3-8 ELA and math exams that are mandated by New York State. A change in the state’s reporting dates will necessitate the following change in the conference dates:

February 6 has been changed to February 2.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may pose for our students and their families.






Mr. Passamonte and class put on a holiday play today, December 23rd.  The High School Musical Holiday Mystery served to teach the children about story writing, including the use of all narrative elements. (setting, characters, problem, solution, plot)  The play also served to get everyone here at Minisink in the holiday spirit!  This is Mr. Passamonte's 16th year putting on such a play, and each year it gets better!  A job well done, Mr. P. and class.  Thank you for the entertainment!


Students from Mrs. Marcolina's class were charged studying and presenting a poem recently.  As part of the project, students presented their poems to classmates using props.  Pictured below are several students sharing their poems. 




As a part of a thematic study on mysteries, students completed mystery book reports. Students were asked to create a diorama, a puppet, or a mobile to visualize the elements of the story. Students shared their exceptionally creative reports with their classmates.



With winter upon us, it's important for children to be properly attired for the winter weather outside. We send students out for recess as long as the outside air temperature (with wind chill factored in) is above 32, the freezing mark. Please ensure, on those extra cold days, that your child leaves the house with the proper warm weather gear.





President, Michael Flaherty
Vice President, Katarina Schwarz
Treasurer, Zachary Vreeland
Secretary, Cassidy Seagren


Congratulations to our elected student council officers, announced Monday, December 12, 2008.  The following students have been elected to the respective posts:

  • Michael Flaherty has been elected to fulfill the role of President.
  • Katarina Schwarz has been elected to the post of Vice President.
  • Zachary Vreeland is our new Treasurer.
  • Cassidy Seagren will be the Secretary.

Way to go, students!  And, as always, congratulations to all students who ran and took a risk by doing so!





Student council representatives met today to elect the officers of this club.  Pictured above are the candidates who submitted their names, publicized their campaigns with posters around the school, and prepared speeches to garner votes. 

Pictured above, from left to right, are Michael Flaherty, Evan Heinz, Zachary Vreeland, Nolan Ngo, Cole Barnard, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Katarina Schwarz, and Cassidy Seagren.  Pictures of each individual candidate deliving his/her speech can be seen below. 

Congratulations to all of these students for taking a risk!  Stay tuned for an update of the election results!


The Intermediate chorus and select chorus entertained a packed-house on Tuesday, December 9.  Pictures of the chorus and special performers can be seen below.  Special thanks to our emcees, Gavin Thompson and Ciara Clark who did a fabulous job announcing the songs!  The intermediate chorus was also joined by two middle school students, Matthew O'Connor and Krista White, who played their respective instruments (trumpet and fluet) along with two pieces.  And of course, special thanks to the students as well as our chorus advisers, Mr. Loretto and Ms. MacDonald for conducting such a well-rehearsed concert!  It was an enjoyable evening for everyone, and served to get us all in the holiday spirit.

(Photo credit:  Mr. Shawn O'Connor)



Mrs. Greiner's and Ms. Walker's students recently completed lessons on verbs.  Hands-on activities included manipulation of verb pictures and words to form complete, grammatically correct sentences, verb charades and ultimately completing our "What is Your Verb"? bulletin board. Students had to use their association, inferencing and grammar skills to successfully complete each lesson.  The students enjoyed their whole body learning experience and expressing what they like to "DO".  Thank you to Mrs. Cherry and Mrs. Mead for their assistance with the bulletin board and photos.

Students Pictured: Marcus Conklin, Scott Aldrich, Rachel Myers, Ramon Hernandez, and Devon Velie.




The entire 3rd grade at the Intermediate School was treated to a very special visitor on Monday, December 8th.  Trooper Perry Sarles and his partner, Stan came to school to talk to us about the jobs of a K-9 dog.  Trooper Sarles and Stan work out of the Monroe barracks and they are part of the explosives disposal unit.  Trooper Sarles talked to the children all about how dogs become K-9 dogs, their training, as well as what job duties they have.  He answered many questions from the students while the children were entertained with Stan's energy!  This was a wonderful presentation which was enjoyed by everyone and was a very nice way to culminate our story, Aero and Officer Mike. 


Ms. Hadden and Ms. Wilson's 4th grade class are studying rocks and minerals in science.  Pictured (above) are students testing different minerals using the same methods that geologists use to classify rocks and minerals.   Students tested the minerals for hardness, cleavage, magnetism,  and other properties using the fizz test, the streak test, and iron filings.  The students really enjoyed this exploration! 




Our student council representatives have been elected!  There is one representative for each classroom.  The names and homerooms are listed below:

Mrs. Carr - Alyssa Gennis
Mrs. Conklin - Carly Telgheder
Mrs. DeAngelis - Jamie Granata
Ms. Gale - Brooke Gallagher
Mrs. Green - Vincent Viserta
Mrs. McKeon - Alexia Sheridan
Mr. Passamonte - Crista Westby
Mrs. Riker - Logan Haley

Mrs. Dronke - Mykenzie Ryder
Ms. Hadden - Lilly Guardino
Ms. Knoepfel - Kyle Waltenberg-O'Brien
Ms. lees - Cole Barnard
Mrs. Marasco - Madison Ball
Mrs. Monahan - Ryan Lopano
Mrs. Moore - Austin Rambarose
Mrs. Schoenleber - Mason Blades
Mr. Swart - Deidra Flaherty

Mrs. Blose - Katarina Schwarz
Mrs. Clark - Michael Flaherty
Mr. Conklin - Nolan Ngo
Mrs. Marcolina - Zack Vreeland
Mrs. Melvin - Nick Donato
Mr. Short - Evan Heinz
Mr. Sirico - Cassidy Seagren
Mrs. Tava - Matthew Fitzpatrick

Congratulations to all students who took a risk and ran for student council!  All students will have the benefit of input through their classroom student council meetings.


Lifetouch, the school picture company, will be here once again on Thursday, December 4 for picture retakes. If you and your child would like to participate in this opportunity, please remember to send a completed form and proper payment with your child on Thursday!




Just a reminder...  Friday, December 5th is a half day for students.  Teachers will be in session for the full day doing professional development. 




As the weather gets colder, we're looking at more days inside!  Often, video games, computers, and t.v. are a kid-favorite on those cold indoor days.

Recently, the Minisink P.T.O. sponsored an internet safety night at Otisville.  There were several important pointers and a very useful handout from the Norton Anti-Virus company.  Three key pointers jump out from that handbook to help make sure your children are safe when poking around on the web.

(1)  Keep Communicating

  • Monitor your child's computer use. Sit with them when they are online.
  • Talk with your children regarding what they're seeing online.
  • Explain how important it is to protect private information.

(2)  Keep Checking

  • Computer use should be within your line of vision.
  • Turn on all filtering and security capabilities in your computer.
  • Limit the number of hours your child spends online.
  • Know your child's password.  It helps when monitoring your child's activity.
  • Check the internet history for website history.
  • Watch for obsessive, addictive tendencies.

(3)  Keep Current

  • Keep up to date with your computer skills.
  • Keep security and operating system software up to date.
  • Visit sites regularly that discuss internet safety for children:


Happy Thanksgiving to all of our Minisink families on behalf of the Intermediate School faculty, staff, and administration!  As a reminder, there will be no school on Thurs., November 27 or Fri., November 28.  School will resume session on Mon., December 1. 




On November 24, the intermediate school once again held a character theme recognition ceremony. This time, the theme was trustworthiness, and students were treated to a special guest speaker. Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther spoke to the children about trustworthiness and being a person of good character.  The following students were recognized on the following grade levels. 

Third Grade:
  Nicole Pepe, Nahomy Tellez, Danielle Bellettiere, Owen Hogan, Djenane Celestin, Lily Batule, Nicole Jones, Aubrie Purdy, and Nicholas Nalback.

Fourth Grade: 
Olivia Pogozelski, Olivia Leger, Thomas McKenna, Liz Mazany, Jason Call, Madison Ball, Samantha Mattera, Bridget Wiley, and Tia White.

Fifth Grade:  Tara Travers, Vince Giuga, Zackary Vreeland, Andrew Neidnig, Michael Majewski, and Ryan Langbein.

A hearty congratulations to all of those students, their teachers, and their families!  We would also like to congratulate Ms. Lee’s class on being the class recognized for this theme of trustworthiness.  All students in Ms. Lee’s class received pins to commemorate this honor. Our next character theme recognition assembly will occur in January.  The theme for the next few weeks will be responsibility. We will meet again in January to commemorate those students who have shown themselves to be responsible.




The Intermediate Library was contacted by the National Schools Project in January, 2008.  This organization, located in Idaho, was interested in some original poems written by our students with the goal of "sharing our youth's talents with others, supplying a national audience for student writing, and providing a publishing opportunity for young poets."

Students were asked to create poems on their own.  Some classes made this an assignment to enhance their poetry units.  Fifty poems were submitted in March 2008.  Each poem was reviewed by a panel of educators based on the student's age for creativity, age-appropriate language, sensory/figurative images, structure and poetic techniques.  Students were notified at their homes if their poem was selected for publication.  Although all poems were not selected for publication each was honored in a book we created, Minisink Valley Intermediate Poets 2008
This book can be signed out from the Library.  The published poems can be read in the Young American Poetry Digest 2008 which came out in the fall.

For more information about this project or to order a book go to  Congratulations to our published poets:

  • Kyle Waltenberg-O'Brien - (I Can't Find My Rubber Duck)
  • Laina Michel - (My Sister)
  • Zain Malik (Get Your Things)
  • Anisha Chawla (A Wonderful Day at the Zoo)
  • Gianna Guarino (The Magic of Camping)
  • Evelyn Kaminski (The Hidden Library)
  • Anaya Cruz (My Dog Ate My Homework)
  • Thomas McKenna (SNOWDAY)
  • Madison Ehler (The Games)


As you are probably aware, we recently acquired a new nurse here at Minisink.  With the retirement of Mrs. Duffy, a 21 year member of our Minisink family and community, we are delighted to welcome Mrs. Patti Black to fill Mrs. Duffy's vacancy.  Mrs. Black is a Minisink resident and comes to us with experience, enthusiasm, and compassion.  Mrs. Black's face may seem familiar due to the fact that she has been subbing in the nurse's office for the past year.  Prior to that, she worked in the Bon Secours healthcare system and served the role of a home healthcare provider.  In her spare time, Mrs. Black enjoys riding horses at her family owned and operated Black Ridge Farm.  She also enjoys reading and spending time with her three children, two of whom are Minisink graduates.  Welcome, Mrs. Black!  We are thrilled to have you here!

If there is any updated health information about your child you would like Mrs. Black to know, please submit it to her as soon as possible. 




Ms. Walker's fifth grade students have been working to orchestrate, sort, and distribute food under the guidance of Mrs. D'Angelo, AIS math teacher, as a part of the annual Minisink Cares Food Drive.  Nonperishable food items are being collected in each classroom and shipped down to "Command Central" where it is sorted and placed into boxes.

The food drive will continue through December.  Food items need not be limited to holiday items.  Any canned, boxed, or nonperishable items may be donated and sent in with your child. 

In these tough economic times, it sure feels good to give back!  Especially to those within our Minisink family and community! 




Mr. Short, fifth grade teacher and student council adviser, met with students from all grade levels today to discuss the opportunity of running for student council.  Each homeroom will elect one representative to attend monthly meetings and help plan for theme days and other school-wide events.  Our student council is known especially for their efforts toward raising money for Pasta for Pennies each year.  If your child is interested in running for student council, please check his/her planner.  Elections will occur in the next day or so as all elected names need to be to Mr. Short by Tuesday, November 25. 




The Intermediate School was lucky enough to have a visit from author, Alan St. Jean this week.  Mr. St. Jean is author of many books, most recently  Spooky Mooky and Big Fella. 

Below are some photos of the great day we shared with the author!  The day began with an assembly for each grade level.  Mr. St. Jean was gracious enough to then host a writer's workshop for a select group of students.  Finally, he stayed for a book signing that night with students and their families!

Special thanks to Mr St. Jean for giving his "favorite school" so much special attention, and to the Intermediate School's librarian, Mrs. Buying for organizing and choreographing this special visit!  We can't wait for your next book, Mr. St. Jean!



Parents - A reminder that Friday, November 21st will be a half-day for students in order to accommodate our parent-teacher conferences.  If you have not already scheduled an appointment time with your child's teacher, there's still time available!  Please reach out to your child's teacher to find a mutual time. 

The National Education Association and National PTO combined forces to create some important points for parents when attending a parent-teacher conference.  A sampling of some of their recommendations is below:

  • Often, conferences are scheduled back-to-back.  It helps teachers and other parents stay on track if you arrive punctually and honor your appointment .
  • Teachers usually have a sampling of student work available for your perusal.   It's often a good insight into the classroom requirements and curriculum.  Take some time and review it with your child. 
  • Teachers always appreciate your insight, after all, who knows a child better than his/her parents/guardians?  If you have a chance prior to the meeting, jot down a few notes about your child's life at home, personality, habits, and hobbies you feel it may be important for the teacher to know. 
  • After the teacher has shared his/her thoughts with you, he/she will open it up to your questions.  It's tough to break into a line of questioning when you don't know where to start, but you may want to ask about Academic Intervention Services (AIS) if applicable, your child's social relationships within the classroom, your child's academic strengths and weaknesses, your child's ability level, your child's participation in class activities and discussions, your child's behavior, and New York State testing requirements.  It may be a good idea to prioritize your questions in case time runs short.  

We look forward to having you visit us for report card conferences! 


One of the district's greatest assets is a free resource to which all families have access.  With Power Media Plus ( students have access to thousands of multimedia components across all media types - all created specifically for the classroom!  (A much safer alternative to YouTube!) Videos and multimedia resources are available across all disciplines and grade levels. 

Students in the Intermediate School each have a unique user ID and password.  In most cases, the username is the child's first initial and last name, all lowercase letters.  The password is the four digit code that they use to access their computer accounts here at school, comprised of their birthday month and date (i.e. - September 4 = 0904). 

If you have any questions about your child's username, password, or how to gain access and full use of this site, please contact your child's teacher.  We hope you find this site as valuable a resource as we all do!


Award winning author and speaker, Alan St. Jean will be visiting the Intermediate building on Wednesday, November 19th for assemblies about writing and a special writing workshop.  He is kind enough to offer to meet parents and students that evening from 6:30pm-7:30pm for a book signing.  If you would like to find out more about Mr. St. Jean and his books go to

Parent Teacher Conferences

It's that time of year again!  We are officially at the 10-week-mark, meaning that the first marking period has ended.  Each November, teachers prepare report cards for the children in their classes and wait anxiously to meet with parents to share news on each child's progress. 

If you have not yet scheduled an appointment, there is still time!  Teachers will be meeting with parents at the following times.  We absolutely encourage you to contact your child's teacher via a note, a phone call, or an email, to arrange a time to meet.  The dates/times available for meeting are as follows:

  • Friday, November 21 - afternoon times available - This is a half-day for students.
  • Monday, November 24 - evening times available
  • Wednesday, November 26 - all day appointments

Of course, appointment availability is on a first come, first served basis. 

Fifth Grade Social Studies Test

Fifth grade Social Studies testing will occur on Wednesday, November 13 and Thursday, November 14.  Our "upperclassmen" and their teachers have been hard at work preparing for these tests with strategies, practice tests, and various other classroom strategies.  We are confident in their abilities and we know they will do well come Wednesday!

Often, parents ask what can be done at home to help prepare their children for the tests.  While the format of the test is the same from year to year, we play a guessing game when it comes to the individual questions or themes.  However, there are a few small things to keep in mind as you send your child out the door.

  • Keep it cool around your kids.  Nothing stresses a child out more than the stress of his/her parents.  Children will mirror your attitude toward the testing, good, bad, or indifferent!
  • Encourage your child, but don't put too much stress on him/her.  Remember, it's only two days out of the entire year.
  • Make sure to keep to a routine.  Your child should be in bed at the normal time, or earlier, and have a healthy breakfast before heading off to school.
  • On his/her way out the door, give your child an encouraging message, and greet him/her with an encouraging message when he/she arrives home.

Below are a few links you may find useful in helping you to get a better picture of the NYS testing requirements:

The Giving Book

In the past few months, Scholastic book order catalogs have been featuring a book title called The Giving Book.  It's a somewhat "interactive" book, asking children to recall experiences centered around "giving" and there are fields in which students can write about those experiences.  It is a great tie-in to our character education initiative!

Other titles available by the same author are The Greening Book (Being a Friend to Planet Earth), The Hero Book (Learning Lessons from the People You Admire), The Special Needs Acceptance Book, The Healing Book (Facing the Death and Celebrating the Life of Someone You Love), and The Autism Acceptance Book.  Teacher and parent guides are available at The Watering Can Press

You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown!

Intermediate Students were treated to a selected sampling of the fall high-school musical on Monday. Students from the High School drama club came to entertain us with a few acts of the play, You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown. The play served as an excellent tie-in to our character education program.


The full version of the play can be seen on the evenings of Thursday, November 6, Friday, November 7, and Saturday, November 8. The evening performances will occur at 7:30p.m. Additionally, a matinee will be offered on Saturday at 2p.m. For ticket sales, please email



Reminder... No School - Tuesday, November 4

Parents and students, just a quick reminder that there is no school for students on Tuesday, November 4, Election Day.  Teachers will be in session for a conference day.

Enjoy the day off!

Have a S.A.F.E. H.A.L.L.O.W.E.E.N!

Halloween is an exciting and fun holiday for so many of us!  Everyone wants to have a safe and happy Halloween for themselves, their guests, and their children.  Using safety tips and common sense can help you make the most of this festive time!

A simple mnemonic, listed below, is very useful in remembering some key tips to keep everyone safe.

S - Stick to the side of the road
A - Avoid going it alone!  Go with adults, parents, and friends.
F - Figure on carrying a flashlight.  It's getting darker earlier in the evening!
E - Examine all treats before eating, and eat only candy that is wrapped.

H - Heed oncoming traffic...
A - walking AGAINST the flow of traffic
L - Look both ways before crossing the street.
L - Look for the lights.  If a house is not lit, they're not handing out candy.
O - Obey the local curfews.
W - Wear a watch to keep track of time, preferably one that can be read in the dark.
E - Exercise good judgment.  If something doesn't seem like a good idea, it probably isn't! 
E - Enter homes only of trusted friends, and enter only with a trusted adult.
N - Never talk to strangers.


Hershey's has created a great interactive safety quiz. It can be accessed here.

5JC & 5RM Treated to a Visit from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Police

On Wednesday, October 29, 2008, the fifth grade students in Mrs. Clark's and Mrs. Marcolina's classes were visited by the Metropolitan Trnsportation Authority Police Department along with the K-9 division of the Orange County Sheriff's Department.  Captain Gary Beahan and Sergeant Danny Masina spoke to the students about the different branches in law enforcement and what their jobs were, safety when using mass transportation, and Halloween safety - always a seasonal concern!

The students were fingerprinted and then taken outdoors to watch Sergeant William Finucane and Police Officer Brazil do a canine demonstration. Before leaving, the officers handed out backpacks, police badges, frisbees, coloring books, flashlights, bookmarks, and other goodies to each student.  The students loved this outstanding, informative, fun, and hands-on activity. 

Thanks to all of the officers, divisions, and participants for making this such a special day for our children.  A very special thank-you goes out to Mrs. Kivlehan, grandmother of one of the students, Jillian Dolce, for making this activity possible for our students. 

Captain Gary Beahan and Sergeant Danny Masina talk to the students.
Joseph Calabro and Connor Kalafut listen intently.
Special thanks to Jillian Dolce, her grandmother Kathleen Kivlehan, and the Dolce Family for organizing this special day!
Mrs. Clark and Mrs. Marcolina pose with the Captain and Sergeant.
Emily O'Connor gets fingerprinted.
Students take a tour of the police car for hopefully the first and LAST time!
Students were treated to a canine demonstration in which the dog found a drug scented package hidden in the bumper of the SUV.
After the K-9 demonstration, students had a chance to interact with the dogs.

Intermediate Students to Help Children Around the World

Did you know that 30 million infants are not immunized? As a result, 345,000 children younger than 5 years of age die of measles each year.

Did you know that there are 93 million children worldwide not enrolled in school, over half of them girls?

Did you know that one out of every four children under five, or 143 million children in the developing world is underweight for his or her age, and hence at risk for an early death?

Fortunately, there's something we can do to help!  Last year, the Intermediate School became part of a long legacy of children helping other children around the world by joining with UNICEF's Trick-or-Treat Program.  UNICEF is an organization that encourages kids to fundraise for disadvantaged youth across our planet.  Ms.  Hadden pioneered the program here at Minisink and in our first year we raised over $3500!  This year our goal is to raise $4000 and we are confident we can achieve that lofty goal!

Of course, the program is entirely optional.  For more information about the UNICEF Trick or Treat Program, please visit their website.

Pictured at right, Ms. Hadden's class giving students information about this fundraising effort and the history of UNICEF. 

SADD Students Visit the Intermediate School for Red Ribboon Week

Intermediate classes enjoyed a visit from students from the high school today.  Students from the SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) organization came to talk about peer pressure, stress management, avoiding destructive decisions and activities, and life in the upper grades to our youngsters . 

Each class had approximately a 15 minute visit from the high-schoolers.  Included in the 15-minute session was a skit about the influences of others and how to avoid drugs and other poor choices. 

Special thanks to our high-school visitors, Mr. Sander, the student assistance counselor from the high school, and Mrs. Doce, social worker from the intermediate school for organizing this visit.  Not only was the visit enjoyable, but it was also  informative and beneficial!

Intermediate Students Rock the Vote!

Thanks to Mr. Short and the student council, students in the Intermediate School are getting the opportunity to have a say in this historic 2008 Presidential Election. 

Shown here is Mrs. Riker's third grade class.  Mrs. Riker began by showing her students the election board. She then modeled how to use the voting booth, and with a little help, all twenty-five students had an opportunity to cast their ballots!  All classes will have the opportunity to vote between now and election day. 

Election day will occur on November 4, 2008.  Please remember to get out and vote in this historic race.  It sets a great example of democracy in action for your children!

Ms. Hadden's Class "Kicks-Off" the Mandarin Chinese Cultural Exchange

The fourth grade class of Ms. Hadden and Ms. Wilson had some special visitors today! Mr. Fortunato and Ms. Wang will partner with Ms. Hadden's and Ms. Wilson's fourth grade class to facilitate a partnership between students in China and the United States!  The partnership will encourage both a cultural and linguistic exchange

Today, the students were treated to an impromptu Chinese lesson and a slideshow of some major landmarks and cultural components in mainland China, including the Great Wall of China, various schools, the Forbidden City, and Olympic Park sites. 

Minisink is able to participate in this great cultural exchange opportunity thanks to a grant from the Department of Homeland Security and our continuing partnership with Orange-Ulster BOCES.

Pictured here are Ms. Wang doing an impromptu Mandarin lesson on the numbers in Chinese (1-10), and Mr. Fortunato explaining just how far away China really is!

Third Grade Celebrates Apple Day

On Friday, October 24th, the entire 3rd grade participated in Apple Day.
The children celebrated both the fall season as well as the Apple Harvest!
Throughout the morning, the children circulated to different classrooms
where they had an opportunity to participate in a variety of apple related
activities.  Baking apple tarts, apple taste testing and graphing, apple
printing, and Apple-O were a few of the stations the children enjoyed.  The
morning culminated with students in their individual classrooms where they
enjoyed a variety of apple snacks!  The day was a huge success! 


Pictures of this enjoyable day can be seen below...

(1) Thomas Perdomo holds up his arm / thumbprint apple tree.
(2) Jordan Bonilla holds up his arm / thumbprint apple tree.
(3) Mr. Passamonte, after reading a story about a little red house with no windows or doors and a star inside, reveals the end of the riddle - an apple!
(4) Tiana Popstein walks around with samples of apples. Pictured with her is Paije Donati. Students sampled various apples and voted on their favorites.
(5) Mrs. Schiele helps Robert Albertson stamp his apple.

Transportation Appreciation Breakfast

In honor of National School Bus Safety week, the Intermediate and Elementary schools combined to honor our transportation workers with a breakfast. The breakfast was sponsored by the Elementary and Intermediate PTOs.  Singing entertainment was provided by the music classes of Mrs. Stern and Mr. Loretto. 

Thanks to our team of very dedicated bus drivers, transportation workers, and maintenance personnel who help to escort our children safely to and from the school each and every day! 

For tips on how to keep your child and other children safe on the bus, please visit the following Minisink link. More resources can be found below:

Safety games, videos, and tips

National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT)


Students Learn About Environmental Impact

Cris Breitenfeld, from Orange County Water Conservation, comes into the fourth
grade classrooms each year to teach the students about pollution and the ways
we can reduce pollution in our ground water.  Cris demonstrates this using a
model of a community.  She uses jello mix, pudding mix, and chocolate syrup to
symbolize the pollution humans create.  The students come up with ways
to help prevent this pollution.  Cris will also be visiting us in the spring
to discuss and aerial photos of our community from the past to present.

Special thanks to Ms. Breitenfeld for making time each year to visit the classrooms of our fourth graders with this important demonstration.

Parent Volunteer Training

Patti-Lynn Decker, of our Minisink technology team, will be holding parent training on Wednesday November 12, for intermediate parents from 9:00-11:00 am and from 12:00-2:00 pm in room 110. This is for parents who would like to volunteer their time supporting our students in the use of technology in either the classroom or lab setting. Parents do not need to attend both sessions. This will be a general over view of our system and to familiarize them with some of our frequently used programs. They can register for these sessions by calling 845-355-5288.

Kids of Character Recognized at Respect-Themed Assembly

Congratulations to our students recognized at a character themed assembly based on the theme of respect.  As part of our year-long commitment to implementing a comprehensive character education program, we have instituted a theme recognition ceremony.  Teachers each nominated one student.  These students were called on stage while their nomination statement was read.  The students are listed below:

Third Grade:  Jenna Spiezio, Eddie Schymanski, Jordan Bonilla, James Drake, Alyssa Gennis, Carly Telgheder, & Sarah Garcia 

Fourth Grade:  Evelyn Kaminski, Jeffrey Vanacore,Estuardo Pinto, Kenneth Ritchings, Lovina John, Christianna Furman, Olivia Leger, & Michael Peterson

Fifth Grade:  Curtis Ayers, Michael Majewski, Megan Greer, Anthony Long, Laina Michel, Nolan Ngo, & Edward Hamilton.

There will be a total of 6 recognition ceremonies throughout the year.  Our next theme is trustworthiness.  What a great dinner table topic of conversation!

Dictionary Day

Members of the Minisink Valley Kiwanis distributed dictionaries to all 3rd grade students at the Intermediate School.  This is the second year for the Dictionary Project.  Students were given the challenge of utilizing the dictionaries throughout the rest of their academic years.

The Dictionary Project is just one of the community projects that Kiwanis has organized.  Many thanks to Kiwanis for this great learning tool!!
Pictured are Kiwanians: Dan Barnes, David Morse, Steve Brigham, Barbara Ewanciw, and Rich Mararski with students, Connor Greiner, Ian Guyette, Danielle Bellettiere, and Paije Baker.

Bus Buddies Help Kindergarten Students

The Intermediate School has embarked on a joint venture with the Elementary School.  Fifth grade students, recognized for their responsibility, are assisting select kindergarten students in getting to their buses.  Our fifth grade "Bus Buddies" pack up just a few minutes early, head down to the kindergarten wing, pick up their buddies, and escort them safely to their buses.  Our bus buddies are clearly identifiable on the bus-loop with their neon green vests tagged with a bus buddy sign.

Special thanks to the group of nine fifth graders who have committed to this important responsibility!

Pictured here are fifth grader Julia Cirillo with kindergarten buddy Talia Biondollilo, and fifth grader Michael Majewski with kindergarten student Michael Rodriguez.

Third Graders Study the Works of Charles Burchfield

Third grade visual arts students in Mrs. Fair's class are studying the work of famous American watercolor artist Charles Burchfield 1893-1967. Students viewed "September Wind and Rain" and "The Moth and the Thunderclap" to gain inspiration for their own drawings and paintings depicting nature. Burchfield once said, "An artist must paint not what he sees in nature, but what is there. To do so he must invent symbols, which, if properly used, make his work seem even more real than what is in front of him." Burchfield loved to walk outside to see the beauty of nature. His flowers, plants and trees were painted in a fresh and imaginative style. Look for our drawings and paintings at


You can visit the Burchfield Penney Art Center in Buffalo, NY to see the work of Charles Burchfield.

Constitution Day - September 17

In honor of Constitution day, celebrated on September 17 each year, the entire student body of the Intermediate School gathered for an assembly in the auditorium to unveil the Minisink Valley Intermediate School Constitution.


We the students of the Minisink. Valley Intermediate School, in order to form a more perfect school, establish the following rules:


~We will act in a safe manner at all times.

~We will show respect and take care of everything and everyone.

~We will listen with our whole bodies and follow directions.

~We will be responsible, honest, and truthful.

~We will work hard and have fun!


Bravo to all of our Constitutional Delegates who represented their classmates as well as the feedback that they got from them. We couldn't have established this guiding document without EVERYONE'S input!

MVIS Constitution

This year, in honor of Constitution Day, September 17, students throughout the entire Intermediate School participated in a governmental process to create a School Constitution. Three delegates were chosen from each classroom to come to the first round of meetings. Those delegates gathered feedback and information from their classmates about what school rules should be and how the processes should work. Armed with this information, they came to the first round of meetings. After this round, they reported back to their classes on the input from all of the other delegates. Each individual class then went on to elect one of the three initial representatives to go forward to the second and final round of meetings. Those students met on Monday, September 15 to finalize the list of rules and wording. Stay tuned for the final list of rules and the text of the Minisink Valley Intermediate School Constitution.

Recess Orientation

Students at the Intermediate School have been engaged in a recess orientation program over the course of the past two days, and will continue to do so for the next three days. The students rotate through stations on the recess fields, one per day, learning about the rules for that particular part of the field as well as participating in cooperative games and activities. The purpose of this program is multi-faceted. First, it allows the children to get to know one another and build a team and community spirit. Second, it allows our recess supervisory staff to get to know the students and reinforce the fact that if they have a problem at recess, there are plenty of adults around to intervene.

Science Fair

Under the guidance of Ms. Holcombe, numerous students from the Minisink Valley Intermediate School participated in our annual Science Fair Exhibition.  Our students worked very hard, and as a result of their dedication, we were all able to witness and learn from their informative exhibits.  Pictured above, are some of our students that received special recognition for their efforts. 

Elks Club Poster Contest

Third Grade students from Minisink Intermediate School  recently entered the annual Elks Club poster contest about drug prevention.  The title for this year was “Drugs? Don’t Get Me Started.” All students who participated received a certificate of participation.

Pictured here are the winners who also received a gift card to FYE.

Chance Wilson – 1st place, Kyra Goldfarb – 2nd place, and Ashley DeRose – 3rd place.






Pasta For Pennies

The annual "Pasta For Pennies" campaign was once again a tremendous success this year.  The Minisink Valley Intermediate and Elementary students combined their efforts to raise over $8,000 for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society; making our school the top fundraising school in the Westchester / Hudson Valley region.  A special thank you goes out to Mr. Short who organizes the yearly event, and to all of the Minisink Valley students and families that worked so hard to make this program a success!


(In the picture to the left, the Minisink Valley Intermediate School Student Council had their picture taken with over 30 bags of change that weighed over 900 lbs.)



Disability Awareness

Several of our 5th grade classrooms were honored to receive a presentation on disability awareness.  Members from ATI (Action Toward Independence) visited our classrooms and created an open forum for students to learn about and discuss certain disabilities.  The students communicated with someone that was deaf, they observed how individuals overcome physical disabilities, and most importantly, they learned that despite certain differences, we are all alike.


Orange County Quilt

Students in Mrs. Wippel and Ms. Peluso's class elected to do an “Orange County A-Z” project for the County’s “Making our Mark in History” project. We brainstormed an alphabetical list of topics about Orange County. Students then chose a topic to which they had a particular connection. The children then proceeded to research their assigned topics. With help from Susan Cayea from the Orange County Department of Tourism, they turned up quite a bit of information! Each student then had to write a paragraph about his or her location with the research (s)he had obtained.

Attached is a photo of a quilt that the children made. Each quilt block is one of the topics/locations chosen for each letter of the alphabet. Things worked out quite well as we have exactly 26 students. The quilt was made using iron transfer crayons.

Congratulations, Orange County, on 325 amazing years! Many happy returns of
the day!
















Electricity Demonstration

Mr. Pfiefer from Orange and Rockland Utilities visited Mrs. Riker and Mrs. Marasco's classes to present an exciting and enlightening program on how electricity works. His presentation included a model with glass people, electric wires, poles, heavy equipment, and safety items. It was a great experience for the children as it not only taught about electricity, but also about being safe when an electrical emergency happens.  The students thoroughly enjoyed his hands-on  presentation, the video on electricity, and the take home booklet they received. All aspects of this presentation were an excellent enrichment to the fourth grade curriculum.

Dr. Seuss

On March 2, 2008, the world celebrated the 104th anniversary of the birth of Theodore “Seuss” Geisel.

Students in Mrs. Bannon's, Mrs. Gallant's, and Ms. Melvin's classes celebrated the achievements of Dr. Seuss with a variety of activities. In celebration of the many works of Dr. Seuss, students read books, created characters, composed rhyming stanzas, and crafted “Seussical” hats.

In the words of Dr. Seuss:

“If you never did

you should..

These things are fun

and fun is good!”

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish


Pick The Pickle

Students from Mrs. Wippel and Ms. Peluso's class engaged in a fun and engaging descriptive writing task today.  Each team of two to three students was given a pickle to describe using all 5 senses.  Mrs. Memmelaar and Mr. Dombal were great sports in the ensuing "PICK THE PICKLE" contest!  Mrs. Memmelaar trumped Mr. Dombal in a score of 3 to 2 successful guesses! 


Career Day

On Thursday, February 28th, students in Mrs. Corletta's 4th grade class hosted "Career Day."  The children thoroughly researched various careers  and presented insightful oral presentations to their classmates and parents.  They informed the audience about their careers by dressing as individuals in that field, preparing business cards, creating newspaper advertisements,  and bringing in the necessary "tools of the trade."  Career choices included:  law enforcement, fashion design, animal care, air travel, food preparation, entertainment, and so many others! 

Shown above are the bold men and ladies in blue and black, the innovative pastry chef, and the nurturing equestrian caregivers.  A good time and much learning was experienced by all!  Many children now have a good idea of what they'd like to be when they grow up!



To add to the Career Day festivities (see above), Bo, a retired New York City Police horse made a special appearance at school to enhance the presentation of our horse veterinarian.  Bo is somewhat famous since he is the horse that trotted around Yankee Stadium with Wade Boggs on his back after the Yanks won the 1996 World Series against the Atlanta Braves.  The children and adults were all amazed by the enormous size of Bo! Special thanks to the Daly and Paino families for making this visit possible!

History On Wheels

History on Wheels is a stimulating and exciting program that brings history to life.  On January 23, 2008, Mrs. Riker and Mrs. Marasco's classes welcomed Mr. Richard Albert into their rooms so that he could deliver the first of three history presentations.  On this day students used their critical thinking skills to identify differences between Colonial American writing and that of the 21st century.  In addition, they explored pre-standardized English and learned to decipher missing pieces of an 18th century document; filling in the gaps with their own quill pen! 

On January 30th, Mr. Albert will deliver a presentation entitled River and Revolution.  The final presentation will conclude in May, and will focus on Canals.   The students are excited about these future programs. 

Baseball Poetry

Mrs. Lynn’s and Mrs. Tice’s class were excited to host two special guests to their fourth grade classroom.  Mr. Brian Golden, MVHS Guidance Counselor, and Mr. Dave Telgheder, MVHS Business Teacher,  read poetry to the students.  Since Mr. Golden pitched for the Cardinal Organization and Mr. Telgheder pitched for the Mets Organization, the poems focused on the theme of baseball.  Their reading of “Casey at the Bat” was a class favorite.  In turn, students individually shared poems with our guests and ended with the song “Take Me Out To The Ball Game”.  Mr. Golden and Mr. Telgheder definitely scored a home run with the students.





Indian Villages

While examining a unit on New York State and Native Americans, Mrs. Marasco's 4th grade class decided to bring history to life by creating their own Native American villages.  Once completed, their projects were proudly displayed in their classroom for all to see.  Administrators, teachers, and other students visited to examine the wonderful displays.


3rd Grade Chorus

The holiday season is a time for giving.  This year our third grade chorus gave of themselves while performing several concerts at St. Teresa's Nursing Home in Middletown.  As a result of their dedication and hard work, many seniors heard a wonderful array of holiday songs and witnessed first hand just how talented our students are.   A special thank you also goes out to Arlene Stivers who gave of her own time to teach, mentor, and  inspire  our  third grade chorus. 






Silk Printing

Mrs. Fair’s 5th grade Art Club is working on Silk Painting.  Each artist is creating a hand painted silk scarf as wearable art.  Silk is stretched onto a wooden frame with silk pins.  Students applied silver and gold gutta as a resist material.  Fabric dyes are hand painted onto the silk.  Our scarves will be on display in the Intermediate School in January.

Friendly Letters to Military Personnel

At this season of Christmas joy and sharing , Mrs. DeVenuto's third grade class decided to write friendly letters to relatives of students in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Each letter told in a different and moving way how we appreciate what these brave men and women are doing for our country.  Letters also included news about what is happening in students' lives from the basketball courts and soccer fields to their cozy living rooms.




Chick Eggs

During the months of September and October Mrs. DeVenuto's third grade class watched 18 chick eggs hatch from their incubator.  Students turned the eggs four times a day and we candled all of the eggs to see their growth and development.  Upon hatching, the students were able to cuddle with chicks until Kevin Lewis took them home to continue their development.  



Rise Up and Read

In honor of this week's Rise Up and Read theme for Children's Book Week, our librarian, Mrs. Kathy Buying collaborated with Physical Education Teachers Mr. Gallo, Mrs. O'Shea, and Ms. Uhelsky to plan a fun-filled morning, emphasizing the value of the literature of Dr. Seuss as well as physical health and wellness.  Students participated in various activities to celebrate the 88th anniversary of Children's Book Week.  The morning full of fun was entitled "The Circus McGurkus."  Students were divided into two teams - the "Whos" and the "Sneetches." You can find out more about this special week by visiting, the website of the Children's Book Council.






County Historian

Fourth grade classes from the Intermediate School received a visit from Mr. Ted
Sly, former Minisink teacher and current County Historian on Monday, October 19th.  Mr. Sly shared photos from various locations around the county and explained the historical significance of the photos.  Pictured in the photo is Mr. Sly, Mrs. Corletta, and several of her students.






Veterans Day Service

On Saturday, November 10th, children in Mrs. Blose and Mrs. Corletta's classes honored local veterans.  They joined with the members of the  George C. Smith American Legion Post #1607 and were able to participate in the special Veterans Day Service and the Flag Burning Ceremony.  In addition, the two classes donated over 300 items to the Castle Point Veteran's Hospital Food Pantry.  We're very proud of these good citizens.






Local History

Students from the classes of Mrs. Corletta, Mrs. Parker, Mrs. Wippel, and Ms. Peluso took a field trip to Goshen today.  The day began with a trip to meet Mr. Ted Sly, Former Minisink Teacher and current County Historian, at the 1841 Courthouse in the center of the Village of Goshen.  There, students leaned about the genealogical society within Orange county, the history of the 1841 Courthouse, and the various flags that have represented our county as well as our country.  After visiting this historic building, students crossed the street to visit the Harness Racing Museum / Trotter Hall of Fame.  While there, students learned the history of this All American sport  as well as various other "New York Firsts."  The trip concluded with a visit to the present-day County Building where students gathered in the Legislative Chambers.  There, they met several county officials who informed them about the county government system and processes.  It was an enjoyable day for all, and a great learning experience!  Students gained exposure to new ideas, people, and places.  Who knew this much history was right under our noses?


Minisink Valley Kiwanis

Members of the Minisink Valley Kiwanis are pictured with third grade students from our Intermediate School.  Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to changing the world one child and one community at a time. This year, the Minisink Valley Kiwanis raised money to buy dictionaries for all of our third grade students.  A special thanks goes out to Chris Farlekas for his generous donation.  On October 30, 2007, local Kawanis members dedicated their time to distribute the dictionaries to each student.

Thanks for the great things you do for our kids!!

Orange County Soil and Water Conservation

Fourth Grade classes at the Intermediate school were excited to have Mrs. Kristine  Breitenfeld from Orange County Soil and Water Conservation District visit. Students  explored the water cycle of their local environment using a hands-on model. They participated in a discussion about pollution and learned ways they can have a positive influence on their environment. It was a very informative and enjoyable experience for everyone!

Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther

As a way to get students involved in the legislative process, Aileen Gunther spearheaded a movement that allows New York State students to vote for our state butterfly.  Our students worked hard to bring butterflies to life and to welcome Assemblywoman Gunther as she addressed our Intermediate students on October 24th.   To learn more about how our students are helping to select the New York State butterfly, please visit Assemblywoman Gunther's website at

Apple Harvest Day!

The Minisink 3rd Graders welcomed in the Fall season on October 19th by celebrating Apple Harvest Day.  Students came to school dressed in their favorite apple colors and traveled to different classrooms for special apple projects.  Included in the morning's activities were apple tasting, Apple Bingo, apple printmaking and writing a story about being a worm inside a juicy apple!  We ended the day by sharing apple treats brought in by parents.  A great time was had by all.


Mrs. Fair's Art Club and art classes are creating butterfly environment decorations for the intermediate school lobby in preparation for the butterfly assembly on October 24, 2007.  Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther (D-Forestburgh) called on local 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students to participate in a contest to help decide the name of New York State's butterfly. Once the name is picked, legislation will be drafted and the Legislature will vote to officially adopt a New York State butterfly.  Thanks to Ms. Peluso for organizing this wonderful event for our students! Our students are very excited about the assembly.  Several 3rd, 4th and 5th grade art classes are creating art work depicting the Karner Blue, Red Spotted Purple, Milbert's Tortoiseshell, Morning Cloak, and Black Swallowtail butterflies.  It will be exciting to see which butterfly is chosen as the Minisink favorite!  Be sure to take a look at Ms. Peluso's bulletin board outside the intermediate office.  Student created art work will be displayed in the lobby the week of October 22-26.


Mrs. Davies 3rd Grade Class

Mrs. Davies' third grade class recently studied "How Living Things Are Alike".  They participated in an activity to learn about the features of living things by comparing pea seeds to pea gravel.  After two days of sitting in water, the students noticed that the pea seeds had grown and changed while the pea gravel had not.  Next the students discovered that living things reproduce when they took a "cutting" of their classroom plant.  Finally, they observed, developed hypotheses, and experimented to test their hypotheses about how a mealworm responds to change in its environment.  Everyone received their very own mealworm and proceeded to gently touch it, introduced a ruler in front of it, and finally placed construction paper out over their desk to see what their mealworm would do.  The culmination of this lesson was informative, exciting, and a lot of fun.