Pelham Middle School earned distinction as a New York State School of Character, an honor bestowed to just two schools in the state and 76 in the U.S. this year. Each year, Character.org certifies schools and districts at the state level that demonstrate a dedicated focus on character development which has a positive effect on academic achievement, student behavior, and school climate. The achievement marked completion of a key goal set by Principal Lynn M. Sabia in 2018.
“While we were extremely proud of our school’s excellent academic standing and the richness of our curricular offerings and learning experiences as an IB World School, we were still seeing negative interactions between students that demonstrated a lack of empathy and compassion,” said Pelham Middle School Principal Lynn M. Sabia and Assistant Principal Sean Llewellyn. “We are extremely proud of our students for embracing this effort and taking such pride in improving their school culture.”
Over the past two and a half years, with the support of a Pelham Education Foundation grant, the Middle School used Character.org’s 11 Principles for Schools framework as a guide to improve school climate, culminating first in earning a Gold Star distinction as a No Place for Hate school by the Anti-Defamation League and now as a School of Character. Examples of the school’s efforts toward these goals include:
Collaborating with Pelham Together and author Rosalind Wiseman to create a Student Ambassador Program; Implementing the the One Clip at a Time anti-bias curriculum, expanding the International Baccalaureate Service and Action through class projects such as seventh graders’ efforts to donate a well in South Sudan; Eighth grade MYP Community Projects; The sponsoring of new student organizations such as our Common Sense Project, G.S.A. (Gender and Sexuality Alliance) and A.C.E. (Access Creates Equity), as well as many other positive outcomes.
These efforts are also consistent with the District’s Strategic Plan goal of Cultural Competence and the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme.
The Middle School retains the School of Character designation for five years and will apply for recognition as a National School of Character within two years.
“While we know this is only the beginning of our journey and will continue to strive to improve in every way, we feel it is appropriate to take a moment to express our pride in our students and staff and all they have accomplished to make Pelham Middle School the best possible environment for all our students to learn,” said Ms. Sabia and Mr. Llewellyn.