Dear Pelham Families,
I hope that you are enjoying a relaxing summer and are starting to feel refreshed. While our schools have been much quieter since June, there is still a lot that happens during the summer months. Our summer programming is in full swing, Pelham Recreation camps are up and running, and our facilities team is working hard to clean and maintain our schools so they are ready to go come September.
This summer has afforded my husband and I the chance to travel to some of our favorite destinations, reconnect with friends and family and recharge. But even as we enjoy some time away, our administrative team and I are hard at work planning and preparing for what I hope will be an incredibly successful 2022-23 school year. Below, please find some important updates and information about the upcoming year.
Board of Education
The Board of Education held its reorganization meeting on July 12. At the meeting, the Board swore in Jackie De Angelis, Natalie Marrero and Will Treves, who were elected to three year terms in May. I want to congratulate Dr. Michael Owen-Michaane and Ian Rowe on being elected Board President and Vice President, respectively. I look forward to working with the Board throughout the year as we seek to deliver a rigorous and enriching educational experience for all of our students.
As is the case each year, the Board also held public hearings on the District’s Draft School Safety Plan and Draft Code of Conduct. The safety plan is developed in partnership with our safety and security consultants, Altaris Consulting Group, and our District Safety Committee. It outlines how the District prepares for, responds to and recovers from various safety related incidents that might occur at our schools and facilities. The Code of Conduct details expectations for appropriate behavior on school property and related consequences for various infractions. The Code of Conduct is reviewed annually by District administrators and is based upon federal and state regulation as well as policy set by the Board of Education. The Code of Conduct seeks to ensure “a safe and orderly school environment where students may receive and District personnel may deliver quality educational services without disruption or interference.”
Both the Draft District Safety Plan and Code of Conduct are available for review on the District website. The Board is expected to vote to adopt both documents at its August 24 meeting. Anyone who has comments on either document should send them via email to me at email@example.com.
This summer, the Pelham Public Schools welcomed two new members to our administrative leadership team, Traci Holtz, who began her role as Assistant Superintendent for Pupil Personnel Services in July and Dr. Alice Bowman, our new Assistant Superintendent for Teaching & Learning. Both have already hit the ground running with Ms. Holtz hard at work overseeing our special education, counseling and health services departments and Dr. Bowman, who began on August 8, providing leadership to our curriculum team and ensuring that our students continue to have access to a robust and rigorous academic program.
As I shared recently, the District is currently searching for our next PMHS Assistant Principal following the resignation of Beth Antonelli last month. We anticipate appointing a candidate on an interim basis to assist Principal Berkowitz for the beginning of the year as we work to fill this position permanently in the near future.
In addition to these administrative positions, Dr. Steven Garcia, Executive Director for HR and Leadership, and his team are working to fill the remaining open positions for the upcoming school year. Our District continues to be an attractive one for candidates and we are confident that we will be adding some of the best and brightest educators to our ranks for the beginning of school.
Each summer, our facilities team works extremely hard to ensure that our schools are ready for students when the new year begins. This includes deep cleaning of all spaces, waxing floors, shampooing carpets, painting various classrooms, installing/repairing light fixtures, ensuring the ventilation systems are working properly and much more. To assist with this work, the District employs a team of high school custodial interns who help and learn from our full-time staff. I want to sincerely thank our entire team for their incredible efforts.
In addition to the standard maintenance, we continue to make progress on the 2018 Capital Improvement Bond Projects.
At the high school, we look forward to having a full year of our brand new dedicated orchestra room which was completed last year. Soon, the high school will also have access to additional general purpose classrooms, an additional art studio, a new space for our alternative program, the Bridge Academy and a new Foundations of Learning classroom. Together with science lab upgrades that have already been completed, these spaces will help our students thrive and add much needed capacity to the high school and middle school. Additionally, the restoration of the masonry at the front of the high school is nearing completion and we look forward to seeing the scaffolding removed from our iconic building shortly.
Over at Prospect Hill, substantial progress has been made on the addition, which includes a new front entrance, security vestibule, elevator, and additional learning space. Coupled with the bathroom renovations completed last year, Prospect Hill will now be ADA accessible. The field in the rear of the school, which has a new irrigation system to go along with new sod, is coming along nicely and we are hopeful that it will be open for use in the fall.
And finally at Hutchinson, I am happy to share that the removal of the former school is substantially complete and significant progress has been made to re-grade the site and create a new playing field and playground. At the corner of Lincoln and Third Avenues, work has begun to install a small pocket park where the corner of the school once stood. We look forward to putting the finishing touches on this monumental project in the very near future.
Finally, we were excited to share the 2022-23 school calendar last week. As we prepare for the start of school on September 6, I encourage all families to take a close look at the calendar to help plan for the year ahead. As a reminder, the digital calendar can be synced to your online calendar, such as Google, Apple or Outlook. This is a great way to keep track of all of our school events, especially since dates and times can change throughout the year!
Please enjoy the remainder of your summer and we look forward to welcoming our students back on September 6!
Cheryl H. Champ, Ed. D.
Superintendent of Schools