A Peek “Behind the Masks”
At the end of our 2019-20 school year, Pelham Middle School was proud to be named a “No Place for Hate” school with Gold Star Distinction by the Anti-Defamation League. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is an anti-hate organization dedicated to securing justice and fair treatment for all, exposing extremism, and delivering anti-bias education. “No Place for Hate” is a program in which students, staff, and parents work together to improve school climate and eliminate instances of bullying and bias through a process that includes designing and implementing three school-wide anti-bias or bullying prevention activities. Last year, we earned our “gold star” by completing a fourth activity as well. To demonstrate our continued commitment to eliminating bias, we began the 2020-21 school year by once again asking all students and staff to sign the “No Place for Hate” pledge. Our “No Place for Hate” committee then designed and implemented our first activity, in which students created masks to answer the question "Who am I?" By making their own “masks,” students had the opportunity to define themselves visually, introduce themselves to their school community, and debunk labels and stereotypes. By the end, 466 students and 27 staff members created and submitted masks to share aspects of themselves that others wouldn’t understand just by looking at them. It is our hope that this process gave students the chance to reflect upon the ways we sometimes prejudge others based upon their appearances and encouraged them to look “behind the masks”!
Sixth Graders Get “Cracking”
This fall, in science classes, sixth grade students have been learning about energy. In this unit, one concept they study is the law of Conservation of Energy: we cannot create, nor can we destroy energy, but we can convert one type of energy into another. The students were challenged to use their knowledge of energy conversion and conservation to build a device to protect a raw, uncooked egg from cracking when dropped from a one-meter height. In order to design their devices, students needed to use their problem solving, engineering, creative, and communication skills. This is a fine example of the inquiry-based and hands-on lessons students experience in the IB Middle Years Programme at Pelham Middle School.
Art Students Take a Virtual Museum Tour
While Ms. Schwarz and Ms. Levi’s eighth grade Studio in Art students were unable to take their annual field trip to the Frick Museum this fall, they were still able to participate in a “virtual field trip” to view the collection. Focusing on Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer, students learned that a work of art can tell a story. Prior to this trip, in preparation for the experience, students studied the work of Vermeer and worked in teams to write and perform skits based on various works of art.
Social Workers Provide Mental Health Support
Our middle school social workers Sharon Charles, LCSW and Kelley-Anne Lonergan, LMSW, have created a Mental Health Support Google Classroom to help support our students during this challenging time. This virtual classroom has been designed to assist students by providing information, strategies, skills, and resources to help them manage their varying moods and feelings. We encourage students to reach out to either Miss L or Sharon if they would like additional support.
Monthly Library Resources
Each month, Ms. Rosenberg, our Library Media Specialist, creates a newsletter presenting resources relating to the current month, including heritage celebrations and other issues of interest. Recent newsletters have included Hispanic Heritage Month, LGBT History Month, Italian-American Culture and Heritage Month, Filipino-American History Month, National Bullying Prevention Month, Native American Heritage Month, and Diwali. Each newsletter includes lists of books, audiobooks, e-books, websites, databases, and suggested readings. In this way, students can continue to expand their horizons as they learn about their own and other cultures and important figures.
The Pelham Post is Hot off the Virtual Press!
The Pelham Post is our school newspaper, online, updated regularly, and full of outstanding writing from our student authors. Regular features include news articles, fiction, polls, reviews, opinions, and poetry. Recently, students even researched and posted Pelham Middle School teachers’ favorite Thanksgiving recipes. There’s something in The Pelham Post for everyone, so be sure to check it out today! You can access The Pelham Post via this link.