Maker Spaces at all Six Schools
A coordinated team of teachers, parents, students, and administrators, led by Assistant Superintendent Dr. Steven Garcia, Director of Technology Mr. Michael Tromblee, and Director of Math & Science Dr. Thomas Callahan, have been working over the past year on one of the biggest grants the PEF has ever considered. After careful consideration and much discussion, the PEF has awarded a grant of almost $200,000 to create MakerSpaces in each of the six Pelham schools. The Maker Movement is about innovation, collaboration, experimenting, tinkering; using materials to create products and solve problems, individually and within teams. Because students are “making”, the traditional silos of different subjects break down and the experience is interdisciplinary. Each school will have a dedicated space, and the Grant involves everything from furnishings to supplies and equipment. All spaces will have low to high tech resources. Legos, craft and art supplies, computers, green screens, and 3D printers will be dedicated at each MakerSpace.
The Pelham Education Foundation (PEF) recently approved a sizable grant to replace basses and cellos for use by Pelham Middle School students as part of its ongoing mission to enrich curriculum and provide funding for special equipment. Typically larger instruments, such as a basses or cellos, remain at the school while students have their own instrument for at-home practice. The grant to replace the Middle School's instruments complements PEF's recent grant to replace the High School's larger, full-sized basses and cellos. Middle schoolers require instruments typically at 1/2 size and had been practicing with instruments that had lost their best sound quality and function and which were, in many cases, too large. The instruments had holes, cracks and battered bodies producing poor sound quality and were in use for nearly 30 years.
The inferior instruments understandably affected student moral as well as performance quality. To protect the new instruments, a storage room was arranged in the High School by Mrs. Clark and ongoing maintenance of the basses and cellos will be provided as well. For instruction purposes, educators at the Middle and High schools could not be more pleased to eliminate the distraction of instruments of lesser quality and poor sound and the Pelham Eduction Foundation could not be more pleased to enhance the thriving orchestral programs in Pelham schools.
To help integrate Mindfulness into Pelham schools, the Pelham Education Foundation recently approved a large grant to bring the School Yoga Project—a company with experience in a school setting—to the district. Similar programs have been implemented in neighboring schools such as Bronxville, Larchmont and White Plains. Studies show that mindfulness increases students’ self-awareness and respect for self and others, teaches emotional behavioral regulation, and helps students achieve balance and reduce anxiety. The program is meant to help students learn to cope with distress, emotion regulation and stress management.
The plan includes a three-year timeline with a gradual introduction of Mindfulness training across the district, starting with grades 1, 3 and 7 in the first year, along with K-8 staff training. There will also be parent workshops where School Yoga Project professionals can educate parents about the initiative, as well as present strategies that can be used at home.
World-Renowed Choral Conductors
The Pelham Education Foundation is pleased to sponsor two world-renowned choral conductors as artists-in-residence for the 2016-2017 school year. Harold Rosenbaum and Brian O'Connell will hold a series of choral conducting workshops with Maria Abeshouse, the PMHS Choir Director, and the roughly 100-member PMHS Choir, focusing on advanced choral techniques and phrasing. Micro grant amount: $1,749.
"Human Painting" Art Project
The Art Department was the recipient of a grant for a large-sized "human picture frame" which was used to teach eighth grade students about the elements and principles of art and design.
The College Board recently changed the curriculums for AP Physics, Chemistry and Biology dramatically increasing the expected laboratory activities. Over time, lab group size has grown from 2 or 3 students to 6 or 7 students, decreasing the quality of the lab experience in these classes. This grant has enhanced the experience of students in AP science classes by purchasing equipment to run smaller group laboratory activities. The equipment included microscopes, spectrophotometers, laptops, and high precision scales.
Despite a forecast of snow, scores of parents and elementary students thronged the Pelham Middle School and Pelham Memorial High School to participate in the Pelham Education Foundation's fun and educational Exploratorium.
The Exploratorium was jointly presented by Pelham Public Schools and The Pelham Education Foundation and was sponsored by Meridian Risk Management and Joan Solimine Real Estate.
Through a Pelham Education Foundation funded residency program with The Picture House, eighth grade students worked with facilitators to create “Election Documentaries.” The students developed scripts, discussed guidelines for what was to be said, and learned how effective scenes are shot.
Apple IPads for Elementary Students
Pelham’s elementary school students will have the opportunity to use Apple iPad tablet computers to enhance their learning in the classroom next year, thanks to a grant from the Pelham Education Foundation.
The iPad, selected after reviewing best practices because it takes multiple technology tools and integrates them into one platform, can be used as an e-reader, internet browser, research tool, word processor, camera, video recorder and presentation tool affording teachers and students increased flexibility.
Teachers have been trained to use a multitude of “apps” in all subject areas to differentiate instruction, providing enrichment as well as help for students with special needs. The iPad is also a tool that teachers can use to implement and monitor assessments. Second grade teacher Beth Finkelstein noted, “The iPads are a great accessible tool to use when working with a small group of students on skills specific to address their needs. There are apps to focus on reading fluency and comprehension, handwriting, spelling, counting money and practicing math facts and tons more! There are also great writing apps, such as Toontastic, that is a motivating and easy to use writing program that allows students to create stories, including scenes, characters, audio and animation. I am excited to have the iPads available as a great technology tool that allows us to target skills and motivate and reach students in a new way.”
The Netbook computers donated to the Middle School were chosen for their durability and will allow teachers to bring the educational benefits of a computer lab into the classroom. The hand held Smart Response clickers quickly engage students while allowing teachers to easily assess student understanding and instruction knowledge during instruction.
"Clicker" Student Response System Devices
The devices, which resemble television remote controls, allow a teacher to poll a class to find out how many students respond correctly to a question. “As a result of this assessment,” says teacher, Alissa Schaps, “I can differentiate my instruction to meet the needs of all of my students.
During a Spring 2012 PMHS faculty meeting, an admissions officer from Barnard College instructed teachers in the act of writing college recommendations for students. Another consultant from Barnard worked with English teachers to help students write better essays for their college applications.
The Foundation provided the guidance department a SMART Board so that visiting college officers can easily present to groups of students. The department is also updating the college research software, Naviance, used by counselors and students.
Finally, the Foundation sent a counselor and group of students to Camp College to promote access to higher education to students traditionally underrepresented on college campuses.
The Pelham Education Foundation
P.O. Box 8302
Pelham, NY 10803
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