Mid-year schools report: Champ points to December guided discussion as ‘wildly successful’


In a mid-year school district report, Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Champ told the school board Wednesday one major highlight of the first semester was the guided discussion on excellence in Pelham schools held in November and organized by the administration.

With more than 50 attendees at this world-cafe-style meeting, Champ said the event was “wildly successful.”

During the board’s regular meeting, the superintendent highlighted the three key components of the district’s strategic plan—cultural competence, authentic learning and the whole child—and how they have come into play so far during the academic year.

Cultural competence is a concept that remains of utmost importance for the district, Champ said.

“We have also continued to build cultures of inclusion, dignity and respect through the embedding of cultural competence within all of the professional learning, and through our ongoing work with partners like Building Bridges program and Pelham Together,” she said. “Student voice and agency to promote empowerment, cultural responsiveness in learning experiences and strengthening partnerships with community stakeholders” all are part of this year’s plan in order to uphold the district’s goal of cultural competence. 

Authentic learning has been elevated this year, as the district has almost completely returned to normal, pre-pandemic operations, according to Champ. Continuing the “journey of exploring and implementing relevant and authentic experiences for all learners” remains a top priority of the district. 

“By the end of this year, we will have re-inserted all the core pieces of the curriculum that had to be taken out during the pandemic and the hybrid and remote years,” she said. 

In terms of the district’s whole child goal, Champ said, “We are focusing even more on the high ideals of scholarship and service through the core work of post-secondary planning and reflection on community service.” 

While Champ highlighted the fact that Pelham students are attending some of the “most competitive colleges,” she also acknowledged that this path may not be the future for some seniors. She announced an increase in the participation by the district in BOCES programs. “Over the past few years, we have been pretty steady with having about 13 to 15 students accessing vocational programs at BOCES in any given year,” she said. Those numbers are up compared to earlier years, where the district was sending under 10 students in a year. 

The next board of education meeting will be held on Feb. 1 at 7:00 p.m. in the middle school library.