"Expressly Yours... Notes from the Principal's Desk"
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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.
Dear Parents,A recent technology systems upgrade resulted in the resetting of all Pelham Public Schools faculty's email passwords. Because of this, some teachers and staff who are not working over the summer may not yet have access to their school email accounts. If you are having difficulty reaching a teacher or staff member, please call your school or the District office. Please know that our technology department is actively working to resolve this issue.District- Good to Know
Christa Acampora Announces Resignation from BOE
Dr. Christa D. Acampora announced Monday night that she is resigning her seat on the Pelham Board of Education to accept a position as Deputy Provost for Academic Affairs at Emory University in Atlanta, GA.
“I would like to thank my fellow board members and our excellent administrative team for providing great models of leadership and being terrific colleagues,” Dr. Acampora said. “It is with truly mixed emotions that I go.”
Dr. Acampora was elected to the Board in 2016 and served as Vice President for the 2017-18 school year. During her tenure, Dr. Acampora served on the Board’s Policy, Monitoring, and Governance, and Audit committees, was the liaison to Hutchinson School and the Pelham Education Foundation, and participated in the District’s International Baccalaureate Oversight, Safety and Security, Diversity Oversight, and K-12 Innovation committees.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Cheryl Champ added, “I’d like to congratulate Dr. Acampora on her new position and wish her the best of luck in her new career. Her contributions to the District over the past two years have helped bolster our educational program. We will miss her collaborative spirit, leadership and strategic vision, which were instrumental in improving our academic program, planning the bond referendum and understanding the needs of the Pelham community.”
The Board of Education will communicate a process for filling Dr. Acampora’s seat, as well as the open seat vacated by Tom Imperato, who announced his resignation earlier in the month to pursue new career opportunities. Both seats have one year remaining on their terms. More detailed information about the selection process will be shared with the community in the coming weeks.District- Need to Know
Board Appoints Susan Lockhart and Sean Llewellyn as Interim Asst. Superintendent, MS Asst. Principal
We are pleased to announce the appointments of Susan Lockhart as Interim Assistant Superintendent for Pupil Personnel Services and Sean Llewellyn as Interim Assistant Principal of Pelham Middle School.
Please read Dr. Champ's letter announcing their appointments and join us in welcoming them into their respective new roles!District- Need to Know
Lynn Sabia to be Appointed Middle School Principal
Lynn Sabia, currently the assistant principal of Pelham Middle School, is expected to be appointed principal at the Board of Education's meeting at 8:15 pm on Wednesday, June 20. Please read Dr. Champ's announcement for more information.District- Need to Know
School Budget, Bond and BOE Election ResultsBudget/Bond/BOE Election Results:Budget Proposition Passes: Yes-1723; No-550Bond Proposition 1 Passes: Yes-1584; No-698Bond Proposition 2 Passes: Yes-1412; No-848Jessica Young (1682 votes) and Eileen Miller (1522 votes) were elected to three-year terms on the Board of EducationThank you voters!District- Need to Know
Bond Referendum Set for Tuesday, May 15
Eligible Pelham voters may vote on a two-proposition bond proposal to fund facilities/infrastructure projects and athletic facilities/fields upgrades on Tuesday, May 15, 2018. Visit the District's updated bond page to learn more about the proposal.District- Need to Know
A note from Dr. Champ about the Tragedy in Florida
Dear Pelham Parents, Staff and Community Members,
I am writing you with a heavy heart over the tragedy that took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida yesterday. For all of us – parents, students, teachers, and staff – violence in a school, especially the loss of innocent lives, hits far too close to home.
During this time when media attention is heightened around this most recent school shooting, it is especially important that we help our children make sense of this disturbing act of violence. Please know that our school counselors, psychologists, administrators and principals are all available to support our students and staff. We encourage you to reach out and ask for support.
The safety of our students and staff is something that I take extremely seriously and something that our staff thinks about on a daily basis. Each instance of school violence gives us pause as we think about how we improve the safety of our buildings and facilities.
Over the course of today and tomorrow, our middle school and high school administrators and support staff will be meeting with students to review our safety protocols and remind students of the resources available to help support them emotionally.
In the coming days and weeks, our elementary principals will review our building protocols with our staff and parents and remind them of the importance of following our safety procedures. As always, our staff is available to address any students’ concerns in a developmentally appropriate way.
Our District safety and security committee will also meet shortly to review our procedures and discuss ways to make improvements, as necessary.
Each year we practice a variety of drills, such as lock downs and lock outs, to help us prepare for a day that we pray will never come. Over the past several years, each of our campuses have been equipped with enhanced security features to control who is entering and leaving our buildings at all times and notify those outside of the buildings when an emergency situation is occurring. Our security and facilities team and our administration maintains a close working relationship with our police and fire chiefs in each village and they too practice and prepare for emergency responses routinely and seriously. Together, we strive to make sure our efforts are efficient and coordinated in the event of any emergency.
Preparation is key to ensuring that our schools are safe and welcoming places for our students and staff. The social-emotional wellness of our students is a core tenet of educational system and that will always be the best preventative measure we can take. We also must be persistent in ensuring that potentially dangerous and violent situations are known before they become tragedies. It sounds simple, but please, if you see something, say something. We will investigate, and we will work to make sure our students are safe – it is our most important function as a school system.
Finally, the Employee Assistance Program has produced a helpful guide with tips on dealing with the trauma from the tragedy. Click here to review this document.
Please feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns. Please keep the families of Parkland, Florida in your hearts and minds and thank you for your continued support.
Dr. Cheryl Champ, Ed. D.
Superintendent of SchoolsDistrict- Need to Know
John Condon Appointed Director of Facilities
The Pelham Public Schools is pleased to announce the appointment of John P. Condon as Director of Facilities effective February 26, 2018. Mr. Condon will take over the position from current Director Anthony Mandile, who is retiring on February 28. Please read more about this announcement.District- Need to Know
Transportation to Out-of-District Schools due by April 2
Please note that parents requesting transportation to out-of-district schools for the 2018-19 school year MUST complete and send in the Request Form before April 2, 2018 (this is a one-day extension due to the Easter holiday.District- Need to Know
Sign Up for Email Blasts
Please sign up for email blasts from the Pelham Public Schools to learn more about District events, the upcoming bond referendum and important announcements.District- Good to Know
Good To Know
Important Info About The Flu!
Please read this important info about the flu.Siwanoy - Good to Know
Student Login InformationSiwanoy - Good to Know
Attention teachers and students: A new way to access your network files from home using FILR - ViewSiwanoy - Good to Know
Need To Know
2017-18 School Supply Lists
See the attached document for the 2017-18 school supply list.Siwanoy - Need to Know
Check out the 2016-17 class supply lists!Siwanoy - Need to Know
Reminder: All snacks (not lunches) need to be peanut and tree nut free (This includes Nutella)Siwanoy - Need to Know
Reading Book ListsSiwanoy - Need to Know
Welcome to Whitsons, the new food service provider for the Pelham Schools. Read about their goals, sign up for online payment, and more. ViewSiwanoy - Need to Know