Recaps from November-January Board of Education Meetings

Recaps from November-January Board of Education Meetings
Alexander Wolff

Dear Pelham Community,

The Board of Education has been hard at work over the past several weeks as it works toward beginning the Strategic Planning process and ensuring the District makes progress toward its goals for the year. Below, please find summaries of the most recent meetings. 

November 29, 2023 - Work Session on Past Two Strategic Plans

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At its final meeting in November, the Board took a deep dive into the District’s growth over the past two Strategic Plans. At the work session, which provides an opportunity to review a particular topic in depth, Board members participated in a variety of activities led by District administrators so that they could experience what teaching & learning looks like in a variety of disciplines. 

As part of her report, Dr. Champ provided an overview of the District’s demographic shifts over the past 10 years and also reviewed how the overarching strategic goals evolved over the past two plans. The 2014-19 Strategic Plan focused its work on: 

  • Principles & Content of 21st Century Learning

  • Coordinated Networks of Support and Targeted Instruction

  • Social-Emotional Development and the Wellness of the Whole Child, and 

  • Professional Culture of Learning, effective Feedback and Growth

These areas of focus were refined for the 2019-2024 Strategic Plan to:

  • Cultural Competence

  • Authentic Learning, and

  • The Whole Child

In her presentation, Dr. Champ detailed how the District has progressed over the past 10 years, most notably in the areas of Operations, Technology, Belonging & Wellness, Support/Multi-Tiered Systems of Support and Authentic Learning. Examples of these changes are detailed in Dr. Champ’s presentation slides.

Following the presentation, District administrators brought classroom experiences to life in breakout sessions with small groups of Board members. The topics for these sessions were:

  • Teaching and Learning in Next Gen Science

  • Empowering All Learners: MTSS and Special Education

  • Enduring Literacy Skills

  • Social Emotional Learning Through Community Building

These experiences allowed Board members to see how the learning environment has changed for students and provide a greater understanding of how various initiatives are being implemented across the District.

December 13, 2023 - Regular Business Meeting

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Following the late November work session that reviewed the progress made under the two most recent Strategic Plans, the Board selected Hazard, Young, and Attea (HYA) as a consultant to assist with developing the District’s next plan at its meeting on December 13.

HYA, which has previously worked with the District on personnel hiring, was selected following a public Request for Proposal. The proposals were reviewed by Dr. Champ, Board members, members of the administrators and teachers units. The Strategic Planning process is expected to begin later in January and include a robust stakeholder engagement process with the goal of having the Board adopt strategic goals for the District by the end of the 2023-24 school year. 

Additional information about the Strategic Planning process will be forthcoming. 

January 3, 2024 - Regular Business Meeting

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At the first meeting of the new year, Board of Education members shared reports about important topics that have been discussed at the Facilities and Policy Committees. 

The Board’s facilities committee, which includes members of the Board, District administrators and community members, have been conducting due diligence with regard to the Village of Pelham’s request to construct a water retention facility and pump station at Julianne’s Playground. Specific areas of fact-finding include:

  • Consulting with legal counsel with regard to liability and possible options for the sale/transfer of property

  • Reviewing a completed title search, which determined that the District owns the property without restrictions

  • Having the property appraised to determine its monetary value 

  • Engaging the District’s architectural firm, which has determined that the site is buildable should a future Board consider using it for a different purpose. The Board must therefore consider how the Village’s plan might impact that ability for future boards should the District need additional facilities space.

The Board is expected to continue its consideration of the Village’s proposal at its upcoming January 17 meeting, when Mayor Mullen will be on hand to share information about the project. 

In addition to the report from the facilities committee, the Board also heard an update from the Policy Committee, specifically that the committee has been reviewing the District’s current practices around access to personal cell phones/digital devices in schools as well as seeking to gain a better understanding of the New York State Education Department’s updated guidance  on “Creating a Safe, Supportive, and Affirming School Environment for Transgender and Gender Expansive Students.”

The Board of Education will hold two additional meetings this month on January 17 and January 31, 2024. 

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