Dear Pelham Residents and Community Members,
Happy July! I hope the summer months provide each of you with the opportunity to rest, relax, rejuvenate, and reconnect with friends and loved ones as well as with the enriching world around us. It was exciting, as always, to gather under the tent on Franklin Field to congratulate and celebrate the Class of 2019 and all that they have accomplished at their graduation ceremony on June 29. This group of outstanding young people have truly left an impact on our schools and on each one of us. I fully expect we will see them leaving their mark on the greater world outside of Pelham in just a few short years. It was also a pleasure to congratulate our younger students as they moved up from fifth grade to middle school and from middle school to high school. These transition milestones are exciting and remind us of their vast potential as each new school year brings opportunities to learn, change, and grow.
This summer marks the beginning of tremendous change for our facilities. Site preparation for the new Hutchinson School is in full swing, with earth moving, drilling, and blasting having already significantly changed the landscape of the property. There is a very tight timeline for completing the major portion of the site work prior to the start of school and we are happy to report that it is on schedule so far.
Construction is also planned to begin at the Glover Complex by August 1. Tennis Courts and the Varsity, A, and B baseball/practice fields are scheduled to go offline at that time for resurfacing and installation of new turf, respectively. Friendship Field, the track, current turf field, and Richie Bell Field are anticipated to remain open during construction. Updates related to all active construction projects are available on our district website.
We had anticipated renovations to begin at PMHS and PMS this summer, however, those projects have been postponed so that we can re-bid that work in the fall. We are hopeful that this path will result in more favorable bids. If we are able to select a contractor in the fall, we hope to complete the high school/middle school renovations by the end of summer 2020. In the meantime, District Offices will remain in their current locations in the high school, allowing more time to perform any work needed to convert the newly acquired property at 314 Pelhamdale for office space. We anticipate closing on that property this week, at which time we will begin re-configuring the outside space for use by Colonial School students in September.
While summer has just begun, we are already preparing for the school year ahead and are excited to be completing the final details of our new Strategic Plan, which will be anchored around three new goal areas: Cultural Competence, Authentic Learning, and the Whole Child. A preview of the plan was shared at the Board of Education's final meeting of the school year on June 25. Our administrative team has already spent time this summer mapping out our journey through the first 18 months of the plan. To ensure that we deliver on our goals effectively and efficiently, we are planning important professional learning time and seeking knowledgeable consultants to provide our faculty the necessary tools to move our programs forward in these important areas. The Board of Education will be reviewing the final proposal of the Strategic Plan at their meeting on July 15 in preparation for the fall roll out.
Finally, one small but important effort that we are undertaking for the fall is to move toward greater environmental responsibility within our food service program. Our new contract with Whitsons Culinary Group includes a shift away from single use plastic water bottles to more sustainable alternatives as well as biodegradable utensils and containers. All staff, students, and visitors are strongly encouraged to bring their own reusable drink bottles when they come to school. More information will be forthcoming on these efforts. We hope everyone will join in helping Pelham to be a leader in this effort by supporting a culture of increased sustainability in our schools as yet another investment in our children's future.
As we head into these summer months, I encourage each of you think about the words of Walt Disney, "We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths." I hope each of you follows your curiosity and discovers new doors and new paths that move you forward in exciting new ways. Have a wonderful summer and we look forward to many exciting new things in the fall!
Dr. Cheryl Champ
Superintendent of Schools