“Roks Garden” Dedicated
This summer, Pelham Middle School lost our beloved Earth Science Teacher Mr. Thomas Roksvold. Mr. Roksvold grew up here in Pelham, and was a student of Colonial Elementary and Pelham Memorial High School. Over the course of twenty-three years as a teacher and coach, Mr. Roksvold impacted countless students’ lives. To begin our school year, Pelham teachers had the opportunity to reflect upon their memories of Mr. Roksvold and to paint “Roks” in memory of him. These were placed around a tree in the courtyard at a ceremony on September 3, and a plaque donated by the Board of Education, as well as additional “Roks” created by football and golf players Mr. Roksvold had coached, were added in late December.
Pelham Middle School is “No Place for Hate”
This year, Pelham Middle School has partnered with the Anti-Defamation League to be designated as a “No Place for Hate” school. “No Place for Hate” is a program through which students, staff, and parents work together to improve school climate and eliminate instances of bullying and bias. To earn this designation, we will need to complete a needs assessment, form a committee including parents, teachers, administrators, and students, and design and implement three school-wide anti-bias or bullying prevention activities. To begin the process, we held assemblies at which we invited all of our students and teachers to sign the “No Place for Hate” pledge. For our first activity, we held an “Anti-Bullying Week” during which students discussed the issue of bullying, participated in theme days, and reflected upon how they could each strive to “Take a stand, lend a hand, and stop bullying” at Pelham Middle School.
Art Students Visit the Frick and the Streets
In September, our Eighth grade Studio in Art classes, along with teachers Ms. Rebecca Schwarz and Ms. Christina Levi, took two valuable field trips. The first was a trip to the Frick Collection on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, where they studied the work of Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer and learned that a work of art can tell a story. Their second was a street art tour to the Bushwick Collective in Brooklyn - six square blocks densely packed with wall and sidewalk art - where they learned about famous street artists and the history of this contemporary art movement.
Making a Change “One Clip at a Time”
This past summer, Ms. Lynn Sabia, Dr. Maria Thompson, and Ms. Laurie Cusick attended the “One Clip at a Time” Summer Institute in Chatanooga, Tennessee. This two-day session included a day of training on the “One Clip” curriculum and a site visit to the Children’s Holocaust Memorial at Whitwell Middle School, as well as the opportunity to meet one-on-one with the originators of the “Paper Clips Project,” through which the students of Whitwell learned about the Holocaust and were inspired to improve their own community through a process of collecting paper clips to represent each of the individuals killed in the Holocaust. Here at Pelham Middle School, students are – through this curriculum – learning to appreciate diversity, combat intolerance, and work for meaningful change in their school and in the world outside through principled action.
Taking Learning Outside
This fall, each of our three grades had the opportunity to engage with nature, practice team building, and tackle valuable challenges through outdoor learning activities. Our sixth graders took a trip to Putnam-Northern Westchester B.O.C.E.S. in Yorktown Heights to participate in the Center for Environmental Education’s Challenge Course and Team Building activities. Our seventh graders participated in a day of activities with Mountain Workshop on Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk, CT.
Finally, our eighth graders took their annual three day trip to Frost Valley Y.M.C.A. in the Catskills. These types of experiences provide students with the chance to learn effective communication, problem solving, acceptance of others, risk taking, and providing physical and emotional support. Following these trips, students often see their peers, and teachers see their students, in a very different light, changing the classroom environment and creating a bond to last the entire year.
Pelham Teachers Take “Strides” for Breast Cancer Awareness
In what has become an annual tradition, Pelham Middle School teachers participated in the
annual “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” walk held at Manhattanville College in Purchase, NY. “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” walks unite communities behind the American Cancer Society’s efforts to save lives from breast cancer. Overall, this event included 20,000 participants and raised $1.1 million.
Pelham Students Participate in First Youth Leadership Summit
In November, over 100 Pelham Middle School students, including forty “student ambassadors” and their “action partners” participated in the first Youth Leadership Summit for Middle School Students at the Pelham Country Club, hosted by Pelham Together. The purpose of the program was to deepen students’ understanding of character as expressed in Character.org’s “Eleven Principles of Character Education” and inspire and motivate the students to leverage their strength and imagination to create tangible actions they can implement over the course of the school year. Working in teams with adult “coaches,” students focused on the areas of “Empathy and Service,” “Kind and Caring Relationships,” “Dignity And Respect,” “Responsibility,” Inspiration and Student Engagement,” and “Community Engagement,” and worked through a process of brainstorming, prioritizing, goal setting, action planning, feedback, refinement, sharing, and debriefing as they developed their ideas. We look forward to seeing our students continue to lead the way as the year continues.
Local Writer Inspires Sixth Graders
In October, guest speaker Mimi Steinberg, a local director and writer, visited Pelham Middle School
to talk to our sixth graders about creative writing. She conducted several activities with students to help them to think more imaginatively. The goal was to get students motivated and to help them in writing their original fairy tales, which is the culminating activity of students’ creative writing unit. Teachers spend the semester teaching the students about the different elements of fairy tales including the significance of their cultural elements. Students then choose a culture to research and incorporate that research into their own stories.
3D Printing in Technology Classes
As part of our seventh grade Technology course, students have the opportunity to design three-dimensional products and “print” them with our MakerBot Replicator 3D Printers. Working through the design cycle, students work to create a personalized product as a solution to a problem, conduct research, present a design brief and ideas, plan a design, and use the SketchUp program to create their product in three dimensions. This is just one of the many exciting and authentic IB-aligned technology units our students experience each year.
Spanish Students Learn About Salsa
In October, Eighth grade students in Spanish classes participated in our third annual Salsa
Workshop. Our students learned how to play traditional instruments as well as some basic dance steps. Learning about different styles of music and dance is an important cultural component of our World Languages unit on “Celebrations.”
A Musical Finale to 2019
In a tradition that began last December, we ended our last school day of 2019 with a school-wide assembly at which our teachers and students enjoyed spirited performances from our Orchestra, Chorus, and Band, including audience participation on two of the chorus songs. In addition, we held our Faculty Ugly Sweater Contest at which students judged the “ugliest” faculty sweater. It was an exciting way to enjoy our last moments of the year together and a fitting send off for December break. Here’s to a happy, healthy, and productive 2020 for all our students, teachers, and families!
January 7 – Gr. 8 Parent/ Student Info. Night at HS, 7p.m.
January 13 – Two-Hour Delay – Staff Development
January 14 – Curriculum Info. Night, 6:30 p.m.
January 20 – Martin Luther King Jr. Day – School Closed
January 24 – Second Marking Period Ends
January 29 – Grade 5 Parent Orientation, 7 p.m.
January 30 – February 2 – Drama Production
February 12 – P.T.A. Meeting, 7 p.m.
February 17-21 – Winter Recess
February 26 – Band Fundraiser, 7 p.m.
February 27 – Grade 5 Parent Orientation, 7 p.m.
February 28, Grade 6 Friday Night Live, 7 p.m.