Dear Pelham Parents and Community Members,
I hope this letter finds you well rested and enjoying the last weeks of summer. Whether you traveled somewhere local or exotic, relaxed by the pool or beach, visited your kids at camp, or spent the summer here in Pelham, I hope that the past two months have been restful and enjoyable.
As I look forward to year two as Superintendent of Schools, I continue to be impressed by the high expectations that our teachers, staff, and parents share for our students, the unwavering attention to academics, extracurricular activities, social-emotional development, and enrichment by our faculty, and renewing our commitment to the District’s mission, “Inspiring a Standard of Excellence for All Students.”
Building on our Success
Last school year was yet another banner year for the Pelham Public Schools. We successfully rolled out the Foreign Language Elementary School (FLES) program, redoubled our commitment to humanities, STEAM, wellness, and implementation of instructional technologies as a tool for building 21st Century skills, and saw the fruits of these efforts through student achievement in all disciplines. As we transition into the final year of our current Strategic Plan, we strive to build on these initiatives and others. Examples include expanding the FLES program into 4th grade at all of our elementary schools, the implementation of the Science 21 curriculum in grades 1 & 2, and the continued development of the IB MYP in grades 6-10. We will also embark on a multi-year commitment to building Cultural Proficiency within the Pelham Public Schools. Thanks to the work of the Diversity Oversight Committee, we are partnering with Campbell Jones Associates to begin a multi-year cohort training process that assists us in building our own cultural competency and in turn creating a more welcoming and inclusive District. As our country and world continue to become more diverse and as a community and District that embrace and celebrate that diversity, it is the perfect time to renew our commitment to this work.
We are pleased to welcome many new faculty this year, as well as congratulate those familiar faces moving into new leadership positions. I’d like to specifically welcome Susan Lockhart as our new Interim Assistant Superintendent for Pupil Personnel Services. Ms. Lockhart will be with us through the fall semester while we reopen the search to fill the position long term. Her experience and expertise have already proven invaluable through the summer months and we look forward to her continued leadership. Also new in our PPS department is Greg Lau, our new Supervisor for Special Education 6-12. Mr. Lau brings a wealth of experience in transition services for Special Education students, which will help us to continue to strengthen our networks of support for our middle and high school students.
John Sebalos joins the team as our new Director of Technology. Coming to us from Mahopac, Mr. Sebalos has hit the ground running with plans to see us through a significant infrastructure transition and continuation of our Chromebook initiative over the summer. Many thanks to him and the entire technology team for their diligent work and troubleshooting over the summer months. I’d also like to congratulate Lynn Sabia and Sean Llewellyn on their new roles as Principal and Interim Assistant Principal of PMS, respectively. I am confident their leadership will enable us to continue the outstanding work at the middle school without missing a beat. And finally, Millie Bonilla joins us as Secretary to the Superintendent and District Clerk for the Board of Education. She has big shoes to fill and the energy to make sure that it is possible. Please join us in welcoming and celebrating each of these staff members at a reception on August 28 at 7:30 pm in the PMHS Library.
The refinished PMS Gym floor. We are extremely thankful to our buildings and grounds staff under the leadership of John Condon, who have worked extremely hard to prepare our campuses for the new school year. In addition to their regular work, there was increased attention to painting, the installation of a new fire escape at Prospect Hill, and masonry repairs at PMHS. Additionally, our playing fields have returned to terrific shape for the start of school and most noticeable is the refinishing of the PMS gym floor and the renovation of the upper portion of the PMS/PMHS cafeteria. We hope you and our students will enjoy these new updated spaces.
In late spring/early summer, the Board of Education appointed KG&D and Triton Construction as the District’s post-referendum architect and construction management firm, respectively. Both firms bring valuable experience in school construction and we look forward to working with them. The team has already begun drafting preliminary designs for the projects approved in the bond referendum last May, including the renovation of administrative offices into HS/MS classrooms and an orchestra rehearsal space, replacement of the PMHS annex roof and parapets, installation of an elevator and double-door security vestibule at Prospect Hill, and construction of a new Hutchinson School. We look forward to sharing more information about each of these projects as they progress throughout the school year.
As the final days and weeks of the summer fade, I wish you all the best and look forward to another exciting and productive school year together.
Cheryl H. Champ, Ed. D.
Superintendent of Schools