Dear Pelham Parents & Community Members,
The crisp air, shorter days and beautifully colored leaves are signs that we have reached the throes of autumn. The fall has always been one of my favorite times of year, especially when I think about how far we've already come this school year and the exciting work we have before us. I hope that each of you have gotten to witness the many celebrations and activities in each of our schools. Fall and harvest festivals, class trips, book fairs, pajama parties, sporting events, Halloween parades and the annual PMHS Haunted House have brought a palpable energy to our schools. We look forward to continuing to celebrate our students' work and achievements through upcoming events such as the Sock 'n' Buskin production of "Brighton Beach Memoirs" and the winter concert series. Seeing our students excited to learn reinforces why we do what we do each day. Our students continue to impress me with their acceptance of and appreciation for diversity, passion to engage in dialog and action on meaningful topics, kindness and caring for one another, and their pervasive Pelican spirit.
Our technology infrastructure transition has been completed and our middle and high school students' chromebooks are now in full use as an important learning tool. Our teachers are working to deepen their use of Google Classroom to build organization, communication, and collaboration skills, and offer effective personalized learning. This year elementary teachers are also using chromebooks in their instruction. We are extremely appreciative of Director of Technology John Sebalos and his entire team for their diligent and thoughtful work getting us up and running this school year.
In the Classroom
The implementation of the IB Middle Years Programme in grades 9 and 10 is continuing and our administrators and teachers are working collaboratively to ensure that the critical elements of IB work in tandem with the demands of the NYS Next Generation Standards in ELA, Math, Social Studies, and Science. Meanwhile, at the Middle School, we continue to see the IB framework flourishing as our students are making important connections between their learning and the world in which we live. We look forward to continuing to see the progress in both schools throughout the year.
At the elementary level, teachers are working hard to implement new curricular initiatives including Science 21 in 1st and 2nd grade, Teachers' College Writing Workshop in grades K-5, and Spanish language instruction in grade 4. We are continuing to foster positive learning environments through implementation of concepts and strategies drawn from our various social-emotional initiatives.
During our first scheduled two-hour delay of the school year, our teachers resumed their work in Professional Learning Communities. This valuable time allows for colleagues to work collaboratively on important initiatives aligned to our Strategic Plan. Teachers have a great amount of choice in this process, which fuels intrinsic motivation and collegiality, all the while anchoring the goals of the work on student growth and learning.
A district-wide cohort of staff and parents have completed two of the five days of Cultural Proficiency training. This training has already opened the eyes of participants to new perspectives and inspired them to redouble our efforts around fostering a positive and inclusive culture in our schools. Each school has established a diversity committee, which we hope will serve as the vehicle for discussion and action in each building.
Pelham Administrators lead a work session for the Board of Education on Professional Development.
The Board of Education, working with district staff and community volunteers, are continuing to build upon our work under the pillars of Strategic Plan, which is set to conclude this year. As this Strategic Plan comes to an end, the Board has convened a Strategic Planning Committee made up of teachers, administrators, Board members and community members to identify, study and strategize around the District's priorities for the next five years. To guide this work, the District has once again retained consultant Judy Wilson, who worked on the current plan, to conduct a collaborative process as we gather important input from the community during the development of this plan. Please watch for surveys and additional opportunities to join working groups over the next few months.
Parent Teacher Conferences
Finally, I encourage everyone to take advantage of the upcoming parent/teacher conferences on November 28-30th (please see the district calendars for more detail). This important time to connect with teachers will assist in supporting the success of our students as we move through the rest of the year.
I look forward to seeing each of you throughout the remainder of the fall and thank you for your continued support.