PMHS senior questions leadership of Superintendent Champ

To the editor:

My name is Nathaniel Bloom and I am entering my senior year of high school at Pelham Memorial High School. Ever since reading Sunny Holcomb’s “Queries why ‘so many’ staff departures since Champ became superintendent” letter to the editor, I have become increasingly aware of Dr. Cheryl Champ’s failures as superintendent. Just last school year at least six administrators who all worked closely alongside our superintendent left the district in what seemed to be a mass exodus. What did they know that we do not?

I have grown frustrated with her extremely confusing and unclear plans for reopening. Many of us are still trying to piece together the plan since there had not been one email this summer that did not leave students and parents scratching their heads or texting their friends confused.

Champ sent out an email on Wednesday at around 7 p.m. officially postponing the start of the hybrid learning model until at least the following Monday. The decision to postpone was made public a mere 13 hours before students and teachers should have been walking in the doors ready to start off a new school year. This lead to panic for working parents who had not made plans for their children to be home and parents of children with special needs who had to explain that they would have to wait a few more days to see their friends and teachers back in person. Champ writes that the delay to start the hybrid model was because of “parties in the woods for the last two evenings,” she writes that without citing any actual evidence that Covid-19 was spread at all. This caused mass hysteria amongst parents in Pelham as well as each of the high school grades. Some furious parents decided to take to Facebook to call out Pelham students calling them “very special and super-bright,” threatening to shoot students with paintball guns, take photos of students and leak them, as well as students personally attacking one another via gradewide group chats.

Since the hybrid delay was only for two days, many students started to speculate that Champ is simply using the teens as a scapegoat for problems that she would rather deflect on others instead of taking head-on. In particular, the requests from teachers to be able to teach from their homes especially if an outbreak were to occur have been totally denied from the district. This was also speculated since Champ’s announcement came just four hours after the Pelham Teachers’ Association announced their Red for Ed protest.

Westchester County released that the Village of Pelham and Pelham Manor had zero active cases of Covid-19 as of Thursday, the lowest numbers have been since mid-March and the lowest numbers will ever get.

Champ’s failure to reopen the schools in a hybrid model and ultimately place blame on teenagers with no science to back her up is absolutely disheartening and certainly makes me rethink her time here in Pelham. Pelham needs a strong superintendent who will do what is best for teachers, students and the community. Champ leaving nearly 3,000 students at home with teachers who were unprepared for a first-day of distance learning is certainly far from that.

Nathaniel Bloom

119 Sixth Avenue