Dear Pelham Middle School Parents and Guardians,
We are thrilled to announce that Pelham Middle School was just designated as a New York State School of Character! Each year, Character.org certifies schools and districts at the state level that demonstrate a dedicated focus on character development which has a positive effect on academic achievement, student behavior, and school climate. Founded in 1993, Character.org is a national nonprofit based in Washington, D.C. that works with schools, families, workplaces, and communities to educate, inspire, and empower people of all ages to be ethical and compassionate citizens. Their 11 Principles for Schools is a comprehensive framework that helps schools improve academic achievement, student behavior, and overall positive school climate.
When we took over the leadership of Pelham Middle School in 2018, we immediately set our sights on this honor as one of our top priorities. While we were extremely proud of our school’s excellent academic standing and the richness of our curricular offerings and learning experiences as an IB World School, we were still seeing negative interactions between students that demonstrated a lack of empathy and compassion. For the past two and a half years, we have used the 11 Principles to guide our strategic planning to improve school climate in alignment with our cultural proficiency efforts and our IB work, resulting in designation as a No Place for Hate school by the Anti-Defamation League; our work with Rosalind Wiseman to, in collaboration with Pelham Together, create a Student Ambassador Program; our implementation of the One Clip at a Time anti-bias curriculum; our expansion of IB Service and Action through class projects like our seventh graders donating a well in South Sudan and our eighth grade MYP Community Projects; and the sponsoring of new student organizations such as our Common Sense Project, G.S.A. (Gender and Sexuality Alliance) and A.C.E. (Access Creates Equity), as well as many other positive outcomes.
Of the 158 schools that applied for School of Character designation this year, only 76 were selected, and Pelham Middle School is one of only two in New York State. We retain this honor for five years, and plan to, within the next two years, apply for recognition as a National School of Character. While we know this is only the beginning of our journey and will continue to strive to improve in every way, we feel it is appropriate to take a moment to express our pride in our students and staff and all they have accomplished to make Pelham Middle School the best possible environment for all our students to learn.
Lynn M. Sabia, Principal
Sean A. Llewellyn, Assistant Principal