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Another school year is about to begin and with it, all the anticipation and excitement that a new school year invokes. Summer affords us a time to pause, slow down, get involved in ways that we may not be able to during the school year.
Last year at this time I shared my summer experiences staying close to home, sharing the wonders of the great outdoors with my grandson, awaiting the birth of my granddaughter. What a difference a year makes. Last summer I was teacher and guide. This summer, through conferences and a workshop, and as a tourist under the tutelage of a guide, I was a student again. These summer experiences led me to reflect on the relationship between teacher and student. At its best, it is a two-way relationship where both student and teacher learn, where each has the opportunity to grow and delight in the experience.
My summer began with an educational conference in New Orleans. I learned strategies to aid struggling learners. While these strategies are not themselves new to me, I am thinking how best to support our teachers and our students in new ways. I also attended a workshop on leading the maker movement. With our new MakerSpace being set up as I write these words, it was a timely session to attend. In this conference session, we became students, creating paper “gami-bots” with circuits, motors, flashing lights, paper, and tape. As a student again, I found it both fun and stimulating to work with the materials, creating my little “gami-bot,” taking pleasure when it “worked” and using all the habits of mind we have been teaching your children over the years, in particular, persistence and thinking flexibly. As I reflected on being a student, I realized the importance of student choice, and of having the opportunity to fail, to puzzle, to persist, and to conquer. It was invigorating.
On vacation, I spent time in the Dordogne region of France, exploring prehistoric caves, witnessing first hand, the twenty thousand year old cave drawings, as well as the marvel of the precise replica of Lascaux II. I was student, the guide and expert, my teacher. The student experience during the earlier maker workshop activity had been self-directed, student-centered inquiry. In France, the learning was more passive - I listened to history lessons taught on-site. And yet, this, too, was a relationship, teacher and student. I asked questions that my new learning provoked, providing my teacher with new avenues to navigate in his efforts to increase my understanding. His up-to-date knowledge, sharing new discoveries that have altered our understanding of the period from the Neanderthal to the Cro-Magnon, was imparted in ways that were intoxicating. This wasn’t an ordinary classroom, of course. I was listening to a lecture, while exploring caves, visiting museums, and witnessing the land that was inhabited by long ago ancestors. We live at a time where we can use technology to bring aspects of these on-site trips to our students’ classrooms.
My experiences at the beach this summer were as different as the two-learning experiences. I enjoyed the exhilaration of riding the waves and the quiet contemplation of walking along the beach looking for rocks and shells; engaging in hands-on activities requiring persistence, flexible thinking, and a growth mindset as well as the quiet listening, observing, questioning, rethinking, and synthesizing of new information. All these experiences contributed to my wanting to learn more, read and reread, and share my discoveries. They also reinforce my commitment to strengthening the educational interaction of teacher-student that are critical to student success.
As we get ready to start the new school year, we have new configurations of grade level teams, teachers teaching new grades, and teachers new to the school. We have an opportunity to reignite our collaborative efforts to develop our teacher and student relationships. I will use these thoughts and experiences of summer as reminders of my role as principal as we embark on this journey—to support teachers in their work with your children, to promote life-long learning, to share the joys of discovery, to allow for creative moments – both the messy ones and the contemplative ones.
I have gotten excited about the opening of school every year since I was a five year-old entering kindergarten. Our school is filled with spaces, and new developing spaces, such as the Makerspace and Outdoor Classroom, where teacher and student create together that joyful, amazing experience of learning. I am honored to be able to roll up my sleeves and dig in as we make this new school together.
Here’s to another wonderful year.
A fan bus will leave the Middle School at 3:45 pm to bring high school students to see the varsity hockey team play for the Section 1 Championship on Sunday, Feb. 26 at Brewster Ice Arena. Please note, this bus is for high school students only and will be available on a first come, first served basis. Students MUST bring a note signed by their parents giving them permission to ride the fan bus and MUST return on the bus after the game. Additionally, there is an $8 fee to attend the game.
The Board of Education of the Pelham Public Schools will meet on Tuesday, February 28, 2017. The public session is scheduled to begin at 8:15 pm in the Middle School Library on the second floor of Pelham Middle School, 28 Franklin Pl, Pelham, NY 10803. It is anticipated that the Board will meet at 7:00 pm and go immediately into Executive Session in the Superintendent's Conference Room before the public meeting.
During the public meeting, the Board is expected to review Superintendent Dr. Peter Giarrizzo’s 2017-18 preliminary budget, specifically the sections relating to staffing, enrollment, revenue, and technology. The Board may also continue its discussion on a possible bond to replace the Hutchinson School façade and consider other capital projects. Additionally, the Board expects to formally accept the resignation of Dr. Giarrizzo as Superintendent.
The full agenda will be available for viewing 24 hours before the meeting.
In addition to Dr. Giarrizzo's Superintendent's report, the agenda may include updates from each School Board committee, Dr. Garcia on 21st Century Learning and Professional Development, Rosemary Matthews on Networks of Support and Social-Emotional Development, and a report on Finances and Facilities.
We hope you can join us.
The Westchester Science and Engineering Fair is seeking judges for its event on March 4 from 8:30 am to 2:30 pm. Click here for more information.
The Citizens Nominated Committee is seeking Pelham residents who are interested in running for two open seats on the Board of Education in May. Please read this letter for more information about the CNC and the nominating process.
Please click here for the application for transportation to out-of-district schools for 2017-18. The application must be filed by April 1, 2017. Parents not residing in the District on April 1 must submit the application within 30 days of establishing residence in Pelham. Call 738-9140, ext. 1141 for more information.
The District and Board of Education have begun searching for the next principal of Prospect Hill to replace Dr. Richard Limato who is retiring at the end of the year. We invite all community members to take this survey and help us with the search.
The College Board recently named the Pelham Public Schools to the AP District Honor Roll, which recognizes schools for expanding participation in AP courses and improving scores. Read more about this achievement here.
The District has received notice that Prospect Hill Principal Dr. Richard Limato plans to retire at the end of this school year. Please click here to learn more about the District's next steps for hiring a new principal.
The Elementary World Language Task Force presented its findings to the Board of Education. Click here to learn more.
Attention teachers and students: A new way to access your network files from home using FILR - View
Check out the 2016-17 class supply lists!
Reminder: All snacks (not lunches) need to be peanut and tree nut free (This includes Nutella)
Welcome to Whitsons, the new food service provider for the Pelham Schools. Read about their goals, sign up for online payment, and more. View