Dear Pelham Parents and Community Members,
I'd like to thank everyone who took the time to complete our distance learning parent surveys. Over the next few days, our administrative team will be reviewing these results along with those from our student and teacher surveys to help us assess both the strengths of our program as well as determine areas where we can improve to better meet the needs of our students and families. In addition to these survey results, we continue to communicate with other neighboring public school districts and collaborate with our professional organizations to determine best practices that will help in our distance learning evolution. This continues to be a difficult situation to navigate, but our educational system remains committed now more than ever to providing the best possible opportunities for our students.
Last night, the Board of Education officially appointed Mark Berkowitz as the next Principal of Pelham Memorial High School, officially filling the first of three critical leadership positions before the District at this time. We look forward to welcoming and introducing Mr. Berkowitz to the Pelham community in the coming weeks. We are also continuing the hiring process with regard to the Siwanoy principal and the PMHS assistant principal positions and will be sharing additional information shortly.
The Board also discussed and took action on several items related to implementation of the 2018 Capital Improvement Bond. This included a presentation by the District's Financial Consultant Rick Ganci, who detailed our current and future debt service related to capital borrowing. As part of his report, Mr. Ganci indicated that lower interest rates and a higher state building aid reimbursement rate have significantly lowered the projected total borrowing costs associated with the bond. Mr. Ganci's presentation slides and the financial projections are available for review on the District website's bond page.
With regard to the building projects themselves, the work on Hutchinson School continues to progress with concrete footings nearing completion and steel delivery expected in the coming weeks. While that project and the installation of synthetic turf at Glover Field are progressing, the Board has decided to reject the bids for the addition and bathroom renovations at Prospect Hill. This action will provide the District more time and financial flexibility as we navigate the continued impact and uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are hopeful that conditions will improve in the coming months so that we can rebid the project and move forward with providing enhanced security to the main entrance, an elevator, and other accessibility improvements to the school.
Lastly, the Board took formal action on adding a proposition to the annual budget vote and school board member election to allow the District to use unspent funds from Bond Proposition 2 (athletic facilities and fields), on projects included in Proposition 1 (building/infrastructure improvements). If approved by voters, this ballot proposition would not add to the already approved cost of the bond while providing the District additional flexibility to complete the new Hutchinson School, Prospect Hill addition/renovations, and high school/middle school renovations. As a reminder, the date of the annual referendum has been postponed until at least June 2 and more information will be provided as it becomes available. The Board of Education meeting video is available for viewing on the District website.
As I close tonight, I want to wish all who celebrate a happy and peaceful Ramadan. Please be safe and well.
Cheryl H. Champ
Superintendent of Schools
Social Distancing Guidelines
- Stay home as much as possible, even if you feel healthy
- Refrain from congregating in groups and maintain a distance of at least 6 feet between yourself and others
- Refrain from social gatherings, playdates and sleepovers with friends
- Do not visit public playgrounds
- Use caution when visiting grocery stores/pharmacies and consider delivery services for food and groceries.
- Consider covering your nose and mouth with a cloth or mask when you leave home.
- Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching your face, especially your mouth, nose, or eyes.
Contact Information for Social Workers and Student Assistance Counselor
Our social workers and student assistance counselor continue to be available to support those who are experiencing hardships and need assistance. Please feel free to contact:
- Kristin Quintano, Social Worker, 914-738-3434 x1295
- Sharon Charles, Social Worker, 914-738-8190 x1218
- Kelley-Anne Lonergan, Student Assistance Counselor, 914-738-8182
Information on Community Organizations Offering Assistance
Additionally, organizations such as Pelham Together, the Junior League of Pelham and our faith community have offered their assistance with those families with a variety of needs, including food, child care, and other demands of day-to-day life. The Pelham Civic Association is also available for families that have fallen on hard times due to this pandemic. Please feel free to reach out in confidentiality for potential assistance to Richard Davidian, Vice President, Community programs at Richard.Davidian1@gmail.com (914-552-0872) or Dr. Stan Trocchia, Chairman, Good Neighbors program Goodneighbors@pelhamcivics.org.