PRSD Pulse - May 2023 Edition
Greetings Pearl River School District Families and Staff,
With the month of April under our belt and May bustling with much activity, I am looking forward to an array of upcoming events and celebrations centered on spotlighting the hard work and achievements of our K-12 students. Our administrators, educators and students across our buildings have been hard at work gearing up for a strong finish to the 2022-23 school year.
As a reminder, the 2023-24 School Budget Vote and Board of Education Election takes place tomorrow, Tuesday, May 16, from 7:00am to 9:00pm at Pearl River High School’s Pirate Cove. For detailed information regarding the proposed budget, propositions and what’s on the ballot, watch our 2023-24 Budget Vote Video (featured below).
Throughout the past month, our District highlighted the accomplishments of: our Pearl River High School clubs who attended state conferences and competed in competitions; Pearl River Middle School seventh graders and their participation in the D.A.R.E. program; PRHS senior Claire Onishi named as a Finalist in the 2023 National Merit Scholarship Program; the hard work of our dedicated assistant principals as part of National Assistant Principals’ Week (April 3-7); the completion of year-long PRHS field trip groups to The Holocaust Museum & Center for Tolerance & Education; PRHS Pirate Repertory’s production of “The Addams Family”; elementary choral rehearsals leading up to spring concert season; the PRHS Class of 2023’s valedictorian and salutatorian Kieran Burke and Dylan Burke; our school buildings’ library spaces as part of National Library Week (April 23-29); the annual Deja Vu Senior Citizen Prom (held on April 22); PRHS and Rockland BOCES Carpentry program student Nick Amato who earned a silver medal in the New York State SkillsUSA Leadership and Skills Championships (April 26-28); and, various lessons spanning subject areas.
As we rapidly approach the month of June, our schools are preparing for year-end exams and projects, athletic and academic awards, and promotion/moving up/commencement ceremonies. On Saturday, June 3, our District is hosting its first-ever Arts in the Park event from 10:00am to 2:00pm at Central Avenue Field (58 East Central Ave) – showcasing the musical and artistic talents of our K-12 students. Open to the public, the free event will feature nearly 2,000 original visual arts projects, along with musical performances from PRSD students. Be on the lookout for the Arts in the Park postcard detailing event information, set to arrive in mailboxes soon.
Marco F. Pochintesta, Ed.D.
Front of the Class: School Spotlights
Take a front row seat to see what's been going on inside our schools throughout the month of April...
On April 22, senior residents of our school community attended the 28th annual Deja Vu Senior Citizen Prom (which was a free of charge event thanks to generous donations/sponsorships from our PRHS students and organizations, District employees, PTAs and other school support organizations) dressed to the nines and ready to enjoy the afternoon's festivities including food, fun and dancing.
We extend a very special thank you to all student and staff volunteers -- as well as all involved in the planning and event's success! Read more on Facebook and Instagram.
Our District celebrated American Library Association's National Library Week from April 23-29, and we stopped into each of our school buildings' libraries across the PRSD...
We showcased student browsing in-action, the endless selection of reads available on each of our library shelves and the variety of services offered in the libraries. From our elementary schools to the middle school, to the high school, our K-12 students enjoy sharing stories that serve to inform, inspire and connect! Read more on Facebook and Instagram.
The PRSD shines a bright spotlight on Pearl River High School seniors (and brothers) Kieran Burke and Dylan Burke, announced as the valedictorian and salutatorian of the PRHS Class of 2023! Both Kieran and Dylan serve as outstanding student leaders and community members -- dedicating themselves to academic excellence and achievement; extracurricular activities and honor societies; accomplishments spanning the arts and athletics; and participation in an impressive array of programs. This time-honored tradition is well-deserved for these two dedicated individuals, and extra-special as they relish this experience together. Read more on Facebook and Instagram.
April 21 marked National Kindergarten Day...and we stopped into Margaret Lynch's classroom at Lincoln Avenue Elementary School to catch little learners in action. On the agenda? An engaging science lesson exploring strong and gentle push and pull forces, and analyzing what happens when these forces collide! In small groups, Lincoln Ave Lions discovered the effects of varying levels of force and how they interact as they took turns rolling a larger ball towards a group of smaller balls within a string circle on the classroom center rug. By changing the strength applied to their roll, students are gaining an understanding of how the moving ball's force affects the stationary smaller balls. Read more on Facebook and Instagram.
Fourth graders in Molly Servello's class at Evans Park Elementary School learned all about number values and ways to show data...by creating a hands-on jumbo line plot together! Following the steps to creating a line plot that accurately showcases their collected data (how many family members live in their house), Evans Park Tigers first identified the largest and smallest value, before drawing a number line. Each student took turns placing a tick mark on the number line for each number between the two values. Ensuring the plot has a relevant label and title, fourth grade Tigers then placed points above each occurrence of data. Following their collaborative line plot creation, students then practiced individually using their math booklets to guide their work as they explored plotting whole numbers and fractions. Read more on Facebook and Instagram.
The PRSD celebrated National Association of Secondary School Principals' National Assistant Principals' Week (April 3-7), as we celebrated the dedicated administrators who serve to support our school buildings as the unsung heroes in our education system! We shined a light on the dedicated work of Pearl River High School Assistant Principal Aaron McCasland, Pearl River High School Interim Assistant Principal Kathleen E. Affigne, Ph.D., and Pearl River Middle School Assistant Principal Andrea Pompey. Read more on Facebook and Instagram.
Second graders at Franklin Avenue Elementary School engaged in choral rehearsals led by music teacher Scott Louis...as they prepared for their Spring Concert (Wednesday, May 17) and the PRSD's Arts in the Park event (Saturday, June 3)! Following along to Mr. Louis' piano accompaniment and direction, these Franklin Ave Stars first began with a warm up of their vocals before delving into a review of various songs (like "This Little Light of Mine" and "This Land is Your Land") that will be heard at both events. Students practiced their harmonies, pitch, pronunciation and speed -- as they work towards perfecting their performance pieces. Read more on Facebook and Instagram.
Their house is a museum, when people come to see 'em...Pearl River High School's Pirate Repertory debuted their production of "The Addams Family" with shows taking place on Friday, April 21 and Saturday, April 22. The creepy and kooky performances were certainly a hit! Read more on Facebook and Instagram.
April 18 marked Holocaust Remembrance Day -- a memorial day that serves to honor the six million Jewish victims of the World War II Nazi genocide. Leading up to the spring recess, the final group of students from Pearl River High School visited The Holocaust Museum & Center for Tolerance and Education -- wrapping up the various field trip groups that attended throughout the 2022-23 school year. With Principal Dr. Robert Zegarelli, students toured the museum, attended workshops and spoke candidly with educators about the testimonies they heard and the stories they were told. The completion of these field trips, along with other activities that continue to promote acceptance and understanding, are bringing PRHS one step closer to becoming an official ADL - Anti-Defamation League No Place for Hate school -- paving the way towards a more equitable and inclusive learning environment for all. Read more on Facebook and Instagram.
Morse Code represents more than just dots and dashes...it serves as a method of telecommunication converted into electrical impulses -- and these fourth grade Lions now know how to send and decode 'secret' messages, while converting energy! Taking to the hallway for their latest science activity, students in Karen DiMenna and Kirsten Gorman's classes at Lincoln Avenue Elementary School tested their constructed devices -- one transmitting a Morse-coded message in light and one in sound, received by their classmates over a distance of 30 feet. As each small group shared their coded message via a form of energy (mechanical, heat, sound, chemical, electrical and light) using materials like cups, rubber bands and sponges, their peers guessed what message they were trying to relay! Read more on Facebook and Instagram.
The PRSD proudly celebrates Pearl River High School senior Claire Onishi, named as a Finalist in the 2023 National Merit Scholarship Program! Selected from a pool of high-achieving student scholars from across the U.S., Claire qualified for the Finalist honor based on her outstanding academic record, a recommendation by a high school official and impressive SAT/ACT scores. An active and involved member of the school community, Claire has participated in Math League, Rotary Interact Club and Pirates for Paws. In addition, Claire was a member of National Honor Society, English Honor Society, Language Honor Society (French), Math Honor Society, Science Honor Society and Social Studies Honor Society. Claire was also a recipient of the High Honor Roll Award and the Community Service Award for two years. As an avid and passionate animal lover, Claire is dedicated to volunteer work, caring for stray cats from an animal welfare organization. She's also achieved the superior rating in the New Jersey Federation of Music Club's Junior Festival for three years consecutively (twice for her piano talents) along with earning the Best Composition Award in the Japanese Weekend School of New Jersey's Essay Contest twice. Read more on Facebook and Instagram.
Seventh graders are obtaining the knowledge needed to form safer and smarter decisions...thanks to Pearl River Middle School's ongoing partnership with the Orangetown Police Department, as D.A.R.E. certified officers visit classrooms to deliver impactful and informational D.A.R.E. America International lessons! Inside Deb Passman's science classroom, PRMS Pirates learned all about the dangers of vaping -- analyzing advertisements that target teens and young adults, and exploring the many risks associated with nicotine use/abuse both physically and psychologically.
Did you know that vaping nicotine nearly doubled among high schoolers and more than 1 in 10 eighth graders say they vaped nicotine in the past year? Thanks to these ongoing lessons, PRMS students in grade 7 aren't clouded with misinformation they may read…they're understanding the serious risks associated with vaping and how risk factors increase over the lifespan of a product. Read more on Facebook and Instagram.
Leading up to the PRSD's spring recess (April 3-10), a number of our Pearl River High School clubs were hard at work...attending state conferences, participating in competitions and achieving much success!
The PRHS Mock Trial Defense Team defeated the Ramapo High School Plaintiff Team to secure a coveted spot in the Rockland County Mock Trial Final Four. Congratulations to: PRHS Mock Trial advisor/teacher Jeffrey Michael and students Brittany S., Marie S., Jack M., Ava I., Thomas K., and Matt C.!
On March 25-26, nine PRHS Youth & Government Club members in grades 8-12 took part in a three-day New York State Youth & Government Conference held at the NYS Capitol in Albany. Over 500 students hailing from across the state attended to present bills and argue legal cases against students from varying districts. Out of over 100 bills presented, 3 out of 4 bills presented by the PRHS team were passed! In addition, student Nick C. (pictured) was selected to attend the national conference this summer. Way to go, all!
PRHS Pirates in the PRHS Debate/Forensics Club competed in the Rockland County Forensic League's Final Debate Tournament hosted at Suffern High School. In defense of both sides of the policy proposition, the PRHS team explored and studied various aspects of public speaking while participating in the preliminary round, along with observing the consolation and championship debates. In addition, two seniors, Aidan M. and Jack M. qualified for a gavel for their active participation in the Rockland County Forensics League for two years. Great work! Read more on Facebook and Instagram.
As part of their ongoing focus on education, awareness and acceptance of different world cultures, students at Pearl River Middle School across grades 5-7 attended performances of TheaterWorks USA's production, "El Otro Oz", a new take on the original story of the "Wizard of Oz"! The bilingual musical -- which incorporates English and Spanish language throughout -- focuses on contemporary Latiné teenager Dora as she embarks on a transformative journey with salsa, merengue and Mexican folk-infused music. Dora first struggles with her family's traditional ideas and dreads her upcoming quinceañera, but as she's swept away to a strange new land, she learns how to celebrate her own unique rhythm and embrace her cultural identity! With themes of diversity, family, forgiveness, friendship and teamwork, as well as curriculum connections to language arts, music, world language and social studies, PRMS Pirates had the opportunity to follow along with Dora's story while obtaining real-world knowledge that furthers their understanding of cultures that may differ from their own. Read more on Facebook and Instagram.