PRSD Pulse: Holiday Edition ❄️
Greetings Pearl River School District Families and Staff,
As the holiday season and Winter Recess rapidly approaches, we reflect on a busy month as our K-12 school buildings district-wide prepare to spend time off with friends and family - sharing in the joy of their traditions and celebrations. Spanning the month of December, our elementary, middle and high school students diligently rehearsed and prepared for Winter Concert performances under the guidance and direction of our talented music educators. In addition, our District celebrates the artistic talents of Pearl River High School ninth grader Patrick O'Connor - whose painting of a wintry scene was selected to grace the cover of our annual PRSD Holiday Card sent to local school districts across Rockland County, our vendors/professional services partners and administrators.
In the days leading up to Christmas, K-4 students engaged in festive-themed lessons and activities that merged the excitement of the holidays with fundamental curriculum concepts and geared up for the holidays with their classmates and teachers during class parties and school-wide celebrations. Pearl River Middle School seventh graders took to the hallways to share the joy of music - caroling in each wing of the building for all grade levels. Sixth graders also took part in a Candy Cane Calamity STEM Day as they were challenged with designing a package that will safely transport candy canes for delivery. School-wide, students spent their Advisory period sharing ways in which they can spread kindness and learning about various cultures’ holiday celebrations that may differ from their own. Prior to the holiday prep, a number of Pearl River High School students were inducted into the National Honor Society during a ceremony held on December 5 - which invited administrators, staff, teachers and family members to celebrate the commitment and dedication of transformative student leaders in our school and community. In celebration of Computer Science Education Week (December 9-15), the PRSD also spotlighted our Technology classes' work as students began to delve into the world of coding and drone flying. In addition, our K-12 teachers worked closely with our Instructional Technology Coaches to arrange lessons and activities in alignment with CSEdWeek.
This Holiday Edition of our monthly PRSD Pulse e-newsletter reflects on a bustling month as we begin to prepare for the next semester. I look forward to continuing to share the highlights from what’s ahead in the new year as our District continues its work. We pick back up with regular monthly editions of this e-newsletter in January 2024, but until then, I wish all happy and healthy holidays and a very Happy New Year!
Marco F. Pochintesta, Ed.D.
Student Artwork Graces the Cover of 2023 Holiday Card
The PRSD excitedly congratulates Pearl River High School ninth grader Patrick O'Connor, whose original artwork has been selected to grace the front of the District's official 2023 holiday greeting card. Take an up close look...Patrick's wintry painting includes intricate detail and impressive technique, fundamentals taught inside art teacher Jackie Seiss' Studio Art class in which Patrick is enrolled in. Each year, a PRHS student’s artwork is chosen to serve as the cover of the annual holiday card sent to local school districts in Rockland County, the District’s vendors/professional services partners and administrators. The Pearl River School District wishes our entire school community a happy and healthy holiday season as well as a very Happy New Year. Don't forget...we welcome all K-12 students back following Winter Recess on Tuesday, January 2, 2024!
Seventh Graders Provide Festive Spirit Through Music
Festive holiday tunes floated throughout the hallways of Pearl River Middle School as seventh grade music ensembles performed a variety of carols for fifth, sixth and fellow seventh grade PRMS Pirates, teachers and staff. Principal Dave Wright joined in the crowds gathered to sing along and Assistant Principal Edith Ramirez-Lopez assisted the orchestra ensemble - lending a hand on the guitar. Thank you to the PRMS music department for planning and arranging this musical holiday celebration which is quickly becoming an annual tradition enjoyed by all! More on Facebook and Instagram.
All Aboard the Polar Express!
Pearl River High School Student-Musicians Perform in Winter Concert
'Twas the night of the concert when all through the music wing...the sounds of holiday cheer filled the air! The PRSD reached the conclusion of its Winter Concert series on Wednesday, December 20, as Pearl River High School band, orchestra and choral ensembles rehearsed their lineup of festive melodies to take the stage. These student-musicians prepared to showcase their musical talents in an array of tunes - thanks to the direction of band teacher Brian Evans, orchestra teacher Darcie Pickering and choral teacher Shereen Way. That's not all...on Wednesday, January 10, PRHS Pirates prepare to perform again for their Winter Pops Concert (7:00PM at Pearl River High School). More on Facebook and Instagram.
Sixth Graders Solve a Candy Cane Calamity
There was a candy cane calamity inside the sixth grade classrooms at Pearl River Middle School as students took part in a STEM Challenge Day! PRMS Pirates first ventured (virtually) to a candy cane factory before being tasked with an assignment: to package and mail candy canes to a friend that has never had one before, ensuring that they arrive in one piece without breaking! Using differing techniques and strategies, sixth graders worked in groups to design a package that will effectively protect the candy canes in transit while weighing the least amount possible. Groups worked quickly to meet the criteria - using a paper bag, popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners, cotton balls, card stock, tape and scissors to craft their protection and packaging. Students then put their creations to the test - sliding them off of their desks onto the floor to determine if the candy canes stay in MINT condition before filling out an analysis sheet in order to determine how they want to send off their package in time for the holidays! More on Facebook and Instagram.
First Graders Turn the Grinch's Frown Upside Down!
The Mood Meter doesn't take the holidays off! Inside Emily Jamett's first grade classroom at Franklin Avenue Elementary School, students merged festive celebration with social-emotional learning focuses as they analyzed clips from the animated movie The Grinch, and decided where the characters fall on the Mood Meter chart. Both Cindy Lou Who and the Grinch experience emotions that range in energy and pleasantness throughout the plot of the movie, just like students' emotions do throughout the school day! Franklin Ave Stars then headed to their desks to complete a worksheet - writing a sentence and creating a matching illustration describing a way in which they can make the Grinch grin and turn his frown upside down...just in time for Christmas! The Mood Meter serves as one of the anchors of emotional intelligence - teaching students how to identify and label their emotions. Part of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence's The RULER Approach, students are actively building self-awareness and self-regulation, and an understanding of the value of emotions across the PRSD. More on Facebook and Instagram.
A Successful 2nd Annual Pirate Holiday Extravaganza
'Tis the season for spreading holiday cheer! Pearl River High School hosted its second annual Pirate Holiday Extravaganza in December - inviting the school community to join in festive activities including crafts, games, entertainment, and holiday shopping, along with a bake sale and meet and greet with the Pearl River Pirate and Santa Claus. Sponsored by the PRHS extracurricular clubs and athletics teams, the proceeds collected from this event will be donated to Pirate families in need. In addition, non-perishable food items and unwrapped gifts will be given to local food pantries and Toys for Tots. Very special thanks to all PRHS club members, athletic teams, administrators, staff and faculty who planned and participated in this very special event! More on Facebook and Instagram.
Kindness and Cultural Awareness Takes Form During Advisory Periods
During their most recent Advisory period, Pearl River Middle School students engaged in lessons, discussions and activities centered on promoting kindness and expanding their knowledge of various holiday celebrations that take place around the world! Over the past month, PRMS Pirates have spent time focusing on the initiative: Be Kind for Kayla created in honor of student Kayla Fitzpatrick and her impactful legacy of always treating others with kindness and respect. Tying into our district-wide focus on character education and PRMS' School Charter, students are taking the step to be the 'I' in kind by carrying out random acts of kindness. These middle schoolers are now sharing ways in which they've spread kindness on a puzzle piece outline which will 'fit' into a larger puzzle poster featuring the ways each homeroom's students have done their part in being kind or experienced kind acts done by others. As the holiday season switches into high gear, students are also embarking on a fascinating journey to discover the vibrant tapestry of winter holidays celebrated around the globe ranging from Kwanzaa, to Christmas, to Hanukkah, to Los Posadas. As they dive into this exploration, they're uncovering the rich traditions, symbols and stories that make these celebrations so special. More on Facebook and Instagram.
Elementary Schools Share the Gift of Music
After spotlighting much preparation and many rehearsals over the course of the month, our District's elementary schools held Winter Concerts which took place at Evans Park Elementary School (December 5), Franklin Avenue Elementary School (December 12) and Lincoln Avenue Elementary School (December 15)! Crowds of parents and family members, staff, teachers and administrators were treated to choral renditions and medleys of winter, Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa songs that K-4 students have been polished and perfected. We extend a very special thanks to hardworking and dedicated music teachers Sarah Gill and Scott Louis for putting together such wonderful shows for all of our students' families...and for teaching our students how special sharing music can be! More on Facebook and Instagram.
Middle School Musicians Prepare for the Stage
On December 13, Pearl River Middle School student-musicians geared up to take the stage for their Winter Concert choral, band and orchestra performances which took place at Pearl River High School. PRMS Pirates across grades 5-7 were busy prepping and rehearsing their music under the direction of band teacher Brianna Hensley, orchestra teacher Danice Claud-Desir and choral/general music teacher Rene Dalandan leading up to the big night. More on Facebook and Instagram.