Board of Education Wrapup: February 1, 2023

Board of Education Wrapup: February 1, 2023
Alexander Wolff

Dear Pelham Community,

The Pelham Board of Education kicked off its Work Session on the Vision for Pelham Memorial High School by honoring seniors Katie Brandler, Leah Sherbansky and Emma Van Praagh who were named among the top 300 scholars in the Regeneron Science Talent Search competition by the Society for Science. The Board also recognized PMHS Science Research Teachers Steven Beltecas and Joe DiBello, Middle School STEAM Research Club Advisor Maria Buckley and Dr. Tom Callahan, Director of Math & Science for their leadership and support of the science research program. Following the student recognition, Principal Mark Berkowitz presented about the high school’s past, current and future work before a panel of teachers and administrators who shared insights about PMHS.

View Meeting Video | View Presentation Slides

Mr. Berkowitz shared that the high school’s vision is centered around a shared commitment to “Excellence. Inspired by Tradition, Empowered through Community.” He noted that the high school ranks in the top 3% of all New York and U.S. High Schools according to U.S. News and World Report and shared a number of other accolades earned by PMHS students, including having five students named as National Merit Semifinalists this year and having a student named as a National Merit Finalist last year.  

Jeanette Connolly speaks while Megan rice looks on during the board meeting

Mr. Berkowitz shared that the high school strives to create students of character and instill habits of personal and academic achievement in students’ experience. This includes ensuring that PMHS courses and learning experiences lead students to:

  • Inquire

  • Develop Creative & Critical Thinking Skills

  • Articulate to Authentic Audiences

  • Think Flexibly/See Multiple Perspectives

  • Reflect

  • Fail Forward (Growth Mindset)

  • Establish a foundation in discipline-specific content & skills

  • Engage the community within and beyond. 

In looking toward the future, Mr. Berkowitz said that the high school will strive to:

  • Enhance Civic Engagement by pursuing the New York State Seal of Civic Readiness, creating a community service opportunities fair, holding a Pelham leadership speaker series and offering peer leadership training opportunities

  • Continue to explore new courses, such as 9th grade discovery, a senior internship and an integrated approach to math, science and research

  • Promote student choice and opportunity by continuing to offer AP and dual enrollment/college level courses, supporting the Bridge Academy alternative high school program and making students aware of career and technical education opportunities through BOCES

  • Developing a 21st Century learning environment by exploring possible facilities upgrades and additional lunch seating for students, adding flexible furniture, installing student-centered photography and Pelham branding throughout the school and enhancing the weight room and fitness center being spearheaded by Friends of Pelham Sports as well as adding a wellness center for students.

Garrett Johnson and James Rogers speak during the board meeting

Following the presentation, teachers/administrators representing the world language, English, math, technology, special education, Bridge/BOCES, social studies, visual arts, physical education, music, science and counseling departments shared examples of how students are exhibiting excellence as a habit in their classes, shedding additional light on the high school program. The Board then engaged in a discussion with the panel about how they can continue to support and enhance the high school’s offerings in support of Pelham’s students. 

Thank you to the following work session participants: Mark Berkowitz, PMHS Principal, Dr. Kerri Titone, PMHS Assistant Principal, Dr. Tom Callahan, Director of  Math & Science, Dr. Maria Thompson, Director of Humanities, Gene Farrell, Director of Counseling, Sean Llewellyn, Middle School Assistant Principal, James Rogers, Math Teacher, Lauren Strachan, English Teacher, Megan Rice, Social Studies Teacher, Jason Lindley, Science, Mark Finegan, Physical Education, Allison Jacobs, Math Teacher, Andrew Van Bochove, Music Teacher, Devon Fallon, Art Teacher, Elizabeth Caparotta, World Language Teacher, Garrett Johnson, Special Education/Science Teacher, Jeanette Connolly, Bridge Academy Teacher, Steven Beltecas, Science Teacher.

The Board of Education’s next regular meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, February 15. 

  • #boe
photo of computer on office desk with pelham logo on desktop

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