Pelham schools announce move to second phase of distance learning; regular class times return for PMHS


In an email to students and parents, Pelham Memorial High School Principal Jeannine Clark provided an update on how the distance learning plan would be modified moving into the second phase of the district’s plan.

The initial two weeks of closure was characterized largely by review of content already studied, with office hours being held for teachers twice weekly. With the exception of Advanced Placement classes, middle and high school courses have been in a holding pattern, awaiting further instruction on a variety of issues, including the grading system during the closure. At the elementary level, students have been focused on math, reading and writing, working largely through a shared Google Doc.

Moving forward, PMHS and PMS will be returning to a schedule reminiscent of a normal school day. Starting at 9:00 a.m., classes will be divided into half hour blocks, with 5 periods per day, and an additional 50 minute by-appointment-only academy period, as well as a period for extracurriculars and sports. Classes are mandatory, with parents advised to contact their respective main offices if a student can not attend. This schedule will go into effect this Wednesday, April 1st.

Fridays are the exception to this new schedule, with the day still being run on half hour blocks, but no classes actually being held. Instead, meetings, support and enrichment classes and social-emotional learning groups will be held throughout the day. According to Clark’s email, “Fridays will be more flexible as to provide time for teachers to meet with students on an as-needed basis to provide support, extend learning opportunities, offer social-emotional connections, and attend to other professional responsibilities.”

The second phase still leaves certain questions unanswered for students, teachers and parents alike. Per Clark’s email, the district is still considering different options on how to address the issue of grading during the closure. “Any rumors that a decision has been made are false,” writes Clark. “This is a complex issue that requires careful consideration and more information will be forthcoming later in the week.”

This plan and the closure will not impact the previously scheduled spring break, with Pelham Schools Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Champ saying in a separate release that, “We hope that working under the new schedule Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday will give everyone enough time to become acclimated so that when we return from spring break on April 13, we can hit the ground running with our virtual learning.”