PRSD Pulse

May 2022

Pearl River School District e-newsletter masthead

Superintendent's Update

Greetings Pearl River School District Families and Staff,

The month of April was buzzing with innovative and explorative lessons and learning activities in each of our school buildings! Ranging from Physics projects like the Egg Drop, to ELA dystopian novel writing, to Monster Array math practice, our wonderful educators always have something new and exciting prepared for classroom learning with each of our K-12 students.

Throughout the month, our District recognized Autism Acceptance Month, School Library Month, National Assistant Principals’ Week, Public School Volunteers' Week, World Art Day, and Earth Day – each providing an opportunity for us to highlight and acknowledge the continuous and far-reaching dedication and hard work of our students and staff. I proudly extend my utmost congratulations to our Class of 2022 Pearl River High School valedictorian and salutatorian: Edward Real and Matthew Balison. Their leadership, perseverance and dedication to their studies are a great example for all. Our District is so proud to spotlight these two dedicated students!

With May, comes our upcoming Annual School Budget Vote & School Board Election which will be held on Tuesday, May 17 from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. at PRHS Pirates Cove. I urge our community to vote and continue their commitment to our children and our future. The 2022-23 proposed spending plan maintains growth in academic opportunities for all of our students.

As we inch closer to the conclusion of the 2021-22 school year, I look forward to our schools’ many upcoming events including spring concerts, field days, grade-level field trips, academic awards celebrations, promotion ceremonies and commencement!


Marco F. Pochintesta, Ed.D.

Front of the Class: School Spotlights

A front row seat to what's been going on inside our schools throughout the month of April...

Pearl River High School juniors participated in an interactive workshop and assembly preceding their Junior Prom event held on April 29 – in partnership with the Rockland Council on Alcoholism and Other Drug Dependence Inc. (RCADD) and the Orangetown Police Department. Students rotated station-by-station to engage in activities like Walk the Line, Ball Toss, Winding Sidewalk and mock Roadside Sobriety Tests – each demonstrating the potential errors in judgment that occur when an individual is impaired. Through an evidence-based approach, eleventh-graders learned about the dangers and impacts of drug and alcohol use, and the severity and potential consequences of impaired driving. Read more on Facebook and Instagram.

Fourth-graders at Franklin Avenue Elementary School were visited by Pearl River Middle School counselors Mark Bernasconi and Brittany Beckley as they begin to prepare for a transition to a new school come September! Divided into groups, these eager soon-to-be fifth-graders asked questions about the ins and outs of middle-school student life. This discussion precedes their upcoming visit to the middle school building on May 5 where they will be joined by fellow fourth-grade students from Lincoln Avenue Elementary School and Evans Park Elementary School. Read more on Facebook and Instagram.

In alignment with the American Heart Association's Jump Rope for Heart program, Lincoln Avenue Elementary School students across grades K-4 participated in a Kids Heart Challenge – aiming to promote physical activity, teamwork and community service! Students took to the blacktop to get their hearts pumping as they celebrated surpassing their $3000 fundraising goal! Read more on Facebook and Instagram.

Kindergarteners in Stephanie Shapiro’s class at Lincoln Avenue Elementary School explored a new form of writing as they began to brainstorm what tasks and activities they know how to do! These students noted what they enjoy doing on a daily basis – like helping their parents pack their lunch, riding a bike and tying their shoelaces – illustrating their unique ‘how-to’ activities and forming a list on an organized graph worksheet. Read more on Facebook and Instagram.

Pearl River High School Pirate Rep’s debut of their spring musical, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, kicked off on April 28 as our talented student-performers took audience members on a journey of happiness, inspiration and teamwork with Charlie Brown, Lucy van Pelt, Linus van Pelt, Patty, Sally Brown, Schroeder, and Snoopy! Read more on Facebook and Instagram.

Pearl River High School was named as the highest-rated public high school in Rockland County by U.S. News and World Report! Ranking #977 nationally out of nearly 18,000 high schools, we've topped the charts with an overall score of 94.52/100, placing our high school #98 out of 1,212 high schools across New York State. Our District excitedly congratulates our top-performing PRHS students, faculty, staff and administrators for this achievement! Read more on Facebook and Instagram.

Kindergarteners in Margaret Lynch’s class at Lincoln Avenue Elementary School practiced reading comprehension and expressed their creativity while learning about our planet as part of an Earth Day-focused lesson! Students discussed simple ways they can help their planet – like picking up litter and recycling – as they practiced reading sentences in their mini booklets and painting paper globes. Read more on Facebook and Instagram.

Leading up to spring recess, Pearl River Middle School sixth-graders engaged in science lessons, interactive bingo activities and creative crafts – centered on the evolution of Earth Day, the effects of environmental pollution, and how we can ignite positive change through respect and understanding! Read more on Facebook and Instagram.

As part of #ThrowbackThursday, our District spotlighted our student-musicians' participation in this year's Rockland County Music Educators Association (RCMEA)'s Junior All-County Music Festival and Senior All-County Music Festival held at Fieldstone Middle School in February! These festivals – led by a committee of county-based music educators – select band, orchestra and choral students from the middle- and high school-level to participate in ensembles with fellow student-musicians from neighboring districts based on their NYSSMA scores and teacher recommendations. Read more on Facebook and Instagram.

Pearl River High School juniors in social studies teacher Jeffrey Michael’s U.S. History classes engaged in mock trial practice as they assumed the roles of judge, prosecution and defense teams, and timekeepers! These students worked to place John D. Rockefeller on trial for violating the Sherman Antitrust Act with the business practices of his Standard Oil Company. Read more on Facebook and Instagram.

April 15 marked the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's (UNESCO's) celebration of World Art Day and our District spotlighted the amazing work of our talented and passionate K-12 students – along with our amazing art educators! Read more on Facebook and Instagram to see what students have been working on!

Fifth-graders in ELA and Social Studies (Humanities) teacher Tina Addino’s class along with the rest of their grade at Pearl River Middle School were virtually visited by author Wendy Mass – a New York Times bestselling author of a number of books loved and read by students! Wendy shared words of encouragement – discussing her journey to becoming an established author. Read more on Facebook and Instagram.

Members of the Pearl River Teachers Association, along with Pearl River High School students, joined forces to clean up and beautify the PRTA-sponsored Adopt-A-Road locations in Pearl River as part of their annual event! In anticipation of Public School Volunteers' Week (April 18-22), our District highlighted the selfless efforts of these wonderful students and this team of both PRHS and PRMS teachers! Read more on Facebook and Instagram.

Wrapping up three raw eggs (and their unit focused on momentum and impulse), students in Matthew Wolfson’s Physics class at Pearl River High School put their self-constructed structures to the test as part of an egg drop experiment competition! These students released their containers from the second floor of the building to test their creations. Read more on Facebook and Instagram.

Our District congratulates Pearl River High School seniors Edward Real and Matthew Balison, announced as the valedictorian and salutatorian of the PRHS Class of 2022! Both Edward and Matthew serve as outstanding students and community members – dedicating themselves to academic excellence and achievement; extracurricular activities and honor societies; accomplishments in the arts and athletics; and participation in a multitude of programs. This time-honored tradition is well-deserved for these two dedicated individuals. Read more about Edward and Matthew on Facebook and Instagram.

Fourth-graders in Laura Sheridan’s class at Evans Park Elementary School engaged in a social-emotional learning lesson with school counselor Morgan O’Donohue – discussing the importance of how developing courage and confidence in oneself can help individuals think differently about hurdles they may face! These students learned that our minds are just like seeds – possessing the power to grow and blossom based on self-encouragement, reassurance and pride in our resilience. Read more on Facebook and Instagram.

As the week of April 4 concluded, our District celebrated the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP's) National Assistant Principals' Week! Our two Assistant Principals: Andrea Pompey (PRMS) and Aaron McCasland (PRHS) serve as supportive and compassionate building administrators – working to coordinate and assist with student services; enforce school-wide policies and guidelines; develop curriculum standards; and conceptualize their building’s goals. Read more on Facebook and Instagram.

Eighth-graders enrolled in Technology teacher Stephen Lonergan’s period 1 Design and Drawing for Production Class at Pearl River High School participated in an air racer design activity! These students first began with designing and producing their air racers in a 3D software program called SketchUp – using a digital toolset to visualize their ideas. Bringing their concepts to fruition, they then constructed their creations out of cardstock, measuring the distance traveled, and analyzing its ability to float and glide across the floor. Read more on Facebook and Instagram.

Hip, hip array for creativity-based math practice! Mathematicians in Kim Mealy, Vivian Toledo and Heather Reekie's second grade classes at Franklin Avenue Elementary School created Monster Arrays fit with rows of eyes, a mouth, horns, arms and legs as a tool to solve addition and multiplication problems. Each assigned a number of rows and eyes to include on their monster, these students built an array that represented their math problem. Read more on Facebook and Instagram.

In honor of Autism Acceptance Month, fourth-graders in Kayla Kurzhals class at Franklin Avenue Elementary School gained an understanding of what autism is while celebrating and welcoming differences of all kinds! Student Riley B. read aloud the book “This Is Me! I am who I’m meant to be” written by Amy Pflueger – sharing the story of Able, a young boy who has autism. Able provides an inside look into his unique world as he empowers those with autism, encourages understanding and awareness, and promotes self-acceptance through his personal journey…and Riley shared Able's story along with her sibling’s! Read more on Facebook and Instagram.

In celebration of American Library Association's School Library Month celebration, our District visited each of our school’s libraries! School libraries are fundamental to developing students as curious, engaged learners – improving literacy, enhancing communication skills and providing freedom of choice. Read more about what each of our school libraries have to offer on Facebook and Instagram – and check out our week-long campaign!

Finishing up their dystopian fiction book club unit, students in Jeanenne Verret’s English Language Arts (ELA) class at Pearl River Middle School wrote digital companion books to their book club stories – crafting reflections, literary essays, visual chapters and fan-fiction pieces on topics of their choice in order to develop a deeper understanding of their reading. Read more on Facebook and Instagram.

Third-graders in Shari Cooperman’s class at Evans Park Elementary School wrapped up their current social studies unit – delving into presentations of their U.S. state projects and engaging in a ‘museum walk’ as they traveled around the classroom to view one another’s poster presentations! These students researched a state of their choosing – creating an outline in order to complete a visual poster and slideshow to present. Read more on Facebook and Instagram.

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