WELCOME BACK LETTER AND SCHEDULES

Todd Hembury

Pelham Middle School


Lynn M. Sabia, Principal
Sean A. Llewellyn, Assistant Principal

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Dear Pelham Middle School Families,

Welcome to the 2020-21 school year!

After a stressful spring and summer facing the challenges of educating in the midst of a pandemic, we can say without hesitation that we have never been so eager for the opportunity to see our students live and in person at Pelham Middle School, and we’re sure our students have never been so excited about the prospect of coming to school!

While this school year will be unlike any other and many hurdles remain, we are confident that our students, staff, and families will rise to the challenge to ensure an outstanding middle school experience for all. 

This fall, in order to ensure appropriate social distancing, we will begin the school year following a “hybrid” schedule in which a cohort of half of our students will attend school live while the other half views classes and completes work virtually at home. You should already have received an email indicating whether your child will attend school with cohort “A” or cohort “B.” If you have not, please contact the middle school main office. Cohort “A” students will attend their first day of school on September 10 and cohort “B” students will attend their first day of school on September 11. 

We will be staggering student arrivals on September 10 and 11 in order to distribute student schedules and hold brief orientation sessions while still maintaining proper social distancing and avoiding the congregation of large groups. On these days, school will begin for students at the following times:

Thursday, September 10 (Cohort A students only)

Grade 6 Cohort A students with last names from A-E or L-P - 8:20 a.m.  (arrive by 8:00 a.m.)
Grade 6 Cohort A students with last names from F-K or Q-Z - 8:50 a.m. (arrive by 8:30 a.m.)
Grade 7 Cohort A students with last names from A-F or L-Q - 9:20 a.m. (arrive by 9:00 a.m.)
Grade 7 Cohort A students with last names from G-K or R-Z - 9:50 a.m. (arrive by 9:30 a.m.)
Grade 8 Cohort A students with last names from A-D or L-O - 12:20 p.m. (arrive by 12:00 p.m.)
Grade 8 Cohort A students with last names from E-K or P-Z - 12:50 p.m. (arrive by 12:30 p.m.)

 

Friday, September 11 (Cohort B students only)

Grade 6 Cohort B students with last names from A-E or L-P - 8:20 a.m. (arrive by 8:00 a.m.)
Grade 6 Cohort B students with last names from F-K or Q-Z - 8:50 a.m. (arrive by 8:30 a.m.)
Grade 7 Cohort B students with last names from A-F or L-Q - 9:20 a.m. (arrive by 9:00 a.m.)
Grade 7 Cohort B students with last names from G-K or R-Z - 9:50 a.m. (arrive by 9:30 a.m.)
Grade 8 Cohort B students with last names from A-D or L-O - 12:20 p.m. (arrive by 12:00 p.m.)
Grade 8 Cohort B students with last names from E-K or P-Z - 12:50 p.m. (arrive by 12:30 p.m.)

In order to enter the building, each student will need to hand in a Student Health Questionnaire Form signed by a parent or guardian. The district will also be providing a smartphone app as an alternative to this paper form soon. Students who arrive at school without this form will have to have their temperature taken before entering the building. Students who show a fever of greater than 100 degrees Fahrenheit will be quarantined awaiting pickup by a parent or guardian. Students should arrive at least 20 minutes prior to the start time of school each day to allow for this process to occur (see arrival times for orientation days listed above). Students will not enter the middle school via the main entrance, but will instead enter through the gate between the high school and the annex at the intersection of Franklin Place and Nyac Avenue

Following these first two orientation days, cohort “A” students will attend school live on Mondays and Tuesdays and cohort “B” students will attend school live on Thursdays and Fridays. Each cohort will alternate on Wednesdays, with cohort “A” attending school on the first Wednesday (September 16) and cohort “B” attending school on the next Wednesday (September 23). You can access the Cohort A calendar here and the Cohort B calendar here. In order to best accommodate the needs of both students in school and at home, as well as allow faculty the ability to successfully instruct students in both contexts, we will also be following a different bell schedule during hybrid instruction. During any week in which there are five full days of school (Monday through Friday with no holidays), we will follow an abbreviated schedule of classes with students dismissed at noon. Cohort A and B days, as well as early dismissal days, will be listed on our district calendar. For the most up-to-date information on our hybrid model, check our district’s website.

In order to successfully use the district network and portal both in and out of school, students will need to sign a document indicating that they have read our district’s Acceptable Use Policy and both students and parents need to sign a document indicating that they have read our Student Portal User Agreement. This document should be signed by hand and students should hand these in to their homeroom (first period) teachers by Friday, September 18. Alternately, students can drop their forms off in the main office. 

In addition to the aforementioned schedule changes to allow for staggered arrivals and dismissals and passing times, social distancing, and optimized virtual learning, we will be implementing a number of protocols in order to keep students and staff safe throughout the year. These have been developed according to the recommendations and guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the New York State Department of Health, and the New York State Education Department, and include replacement of shared tables with individual student desks; 6’ social distancing in classrooms; the requirement that all students, staff members, and visitors to the building wear face coverings; the use of plastic dividers; hand sanitizing, and frequent cleaning and disinfecting throughout the school. Please note that students will not have to change for physical education class, just to wear sneakers. Note also that students will not be assigned hallway lockers this year and will need to carry their belongings with them throughout the day. Teachers and students will work together to limit the number of books and amount of supplies students are required to carry on a given day. Rest assured that the health and safety of our students and staff members is of utmost importance and will remain a priority throughout the year. For more information on all of our procedures this year, please refer to our 2020-21 Parent Handbook.

It is our hope that, in spite of the challenges the pandemic has brought, we will also be able to move forward in a number of key initiatives. For the past two years we have focused on character education, and this November we will be submitting our application to become a New York State School of Character and articulating all of the important work our students and staff continue to undertake. This includes our intention to once again achieve status as a “No Place for Hate” school by developing and implementing three schoolwide anti-hate and anti-bias activities. We will also be working closely with the NYU Steinhardt Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools to develop and prioritize action steps to build cultural and racial literacy, elevate student voice, improve school climate, and ensure that all students and staff feel welcome, safe and supported. As you may be aware, Pelham Middle School is an International Baccalaureate World School offering the Middle Years Programme (MYP). This year, we will continue our IB implementation in the areas of curriculum  development and alignment, assessment, and community service. The MYP encourages creative, critical, and reflective thinking, intellectual challenge, international-mindedness, and connections between learning and the real world. Key to the Middle Years Programme is our students who strive to reflect the IB Learner Profile: to take responsible action on complex problems, to respect the dignity and rights of people everywhere, and to be resourceful and resilient in the face of challenges and change. These are the students who - in spite of all of the new challenges they will face this year - will thrive.

Let’s have a fantastic year of middle school!

Sincerely,

Lynn M. Sabia               Sean A. Llewellyn
Principal                        Assistant Principal

 

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