Dear Pelham Community,
The Board of Education received the Superintendent’s mid-year report and approved a vendor to conduct a communications audit of the District at its meeting on Wednesday, January 18, 2023.
Dr. Cheryl H. Champ, Superintendent of Schools, provided a mid-year report on benchmarking toward the Board and District’s goals and the Strategic Plan. The report focused on progress toward the following goals:
- Goal 1: Examine how our vision and mission are currently understood and being met, and determine what is needed to fully meet our goals in the years ahead
- Goal 2: Implement the next steps of the Strategic Plan
- Goal 3: Effectively execute our oversight responsibilities as stewards of the district's finances by developing and consistently communicating our plans for a responsible district budget, current reserve balances, and long-term facilities plan.
In reflecting on the first goal, Dr. Champ noted that she had held a series of meetings with District staff to discuss the definition of excellence as it relates to our District. This work was furthered through a World Cafe event for families on the same topic held in November and culminated with a presentation and panel discussion at the Board’s work session on December 7. She summarized some of the key themes from the work session as follows:
- Seeing each student as an individual and meeting them where they are is key to helping all students reach their full potential.
- High expectations and social/emotional wellness are not mutually exclusive - they go hand in hand.
- Safe, trusting relationships serve as the solid base for building character, creating belonging and providing the environment for risk taking to develop perseverance and resilience needed to achieve success.
- Time is critical to planning, honing the craft of teaching, and building the relationships needed to continue to inspire a standard of excellence for all.
With regard to the Strategic Plan, Dr. Champ shared progress toward the District’s smart goals, which have been designed around the concepts of “Core” and “Explore.” This approach focuses the District's efforts on continuing the fundamental work under each goal while also aspiring to move these goals further to reach even newer heights. Highlights are as follows:
- The District is continuing to promote student voice and choice by working to increase the number of students participating in extracurricular activities. This year, students at the secondary level can participate in a variety of new clubs to suit their interests, such as the middle school’s History Club and the high school’s 9 Elements, Art History and Natural Disaster Relief clubs
- A series of open house and informational meetings have been held to better acclimate families of English Language Learners with the District’s programs and increase access to opportunities for those students
- The District has continued to strengthen cultures of inclusion, dignity and respect through partnerships and ongoing work with Building Bridges, Rosalind Wiseman, the Junior League, Pelham Together, and the Pelham Education Foundation and Pelham Civic Association.
- Following years of pandemic related disruption, the District is re-centering its work on core instruction. This entails completing delivery of all math content and skills needed to access future instruction that were removed during remote and hybrid instruction
- The District is providing increased professional development in Math in Focus (Singapore Math), Teachers College Reading & Writing, and completing the implementation of Science 21 to grade 5 to align with the Next Generation Science Standards
- Pelham Middle School is seeking reauthorization as an IB World School
- Pelham Memorial High School is continuing to expand college-level courses for students in areas of interest.
- As we continue to mitigate the negative impacts of the pandemic on student learning, the District is continuing to refine its Multi-Tiered Systems of Support process and intervention services to identify and provide support to students needing additional assistance, both academically and socially-emotionally
- Now that the local graduation requirement of 40 hours of community service has been reinstituted, the District is adding a reflective component to make these efforts even more meaningful for students
- The District is working to map progress toward the New York State Social-Emotional Learning benchmarks.
With regard to the third goal, Dr. Champ noted that the District is working through the final implementation of the 2018 Capital Bond and that the development of the 2023-24 school budget has begun. The Board’s work on the budget will begin in February and extend over several meetings in March and April.
The Board of Education approved a contract with the National School Public Relations Association to conduct an audit of the District’s communications program. The audit, which was recommended by the Board’s Community Engagement and Advocacy Committee, will seek to assess the District’s current methods of communications, solicit stakeholder feedback through a widely disseminated communications survey and targeted focus groups, and ultimately provide a final report that includes key findings, recommendations and action steps to optimize communications across the District. The audit process is expected to begin in February with the final report being delivered in June.
The Board of Education’s next meeting will be a Work Session on the Vision for PMHS at 7pm on Wednesday, February 1 in the Middle School Library.
The Pelham Public Schools