Colonial School Support for the 2015-16 School Year
March 14, 2015
Ms. Tonya Wilson
315 Highbrook Avenue
Pelham, NY 10803
Dear Ms. Wilson:
The parents of the 1st and 2nd graders at Colonial would like to thank you for your support to get the classroom Interns this 2014-15 school year. Ms. Zito in 2nd grade and Ms. Hecht in 1st grade have been invaluable additions to the classroom community. We are grateful to you and the district for being so responsive to the needs of our children and would like to continue the classroom Intern initiative in the 2015-16 school year.
We believe the learning experiences of our students were enhanced this year because we had a smaller student-to-teacher ratio. The extra support gave the classroom teachers a better ability to implement differentiated instruction and the opportunity to pull out students for extra help and reinforcement. In addition, there was better quality instructional time when the lead teacher had to step away for a meeting or professional development because the Intern has a relationship with the students and is already familiar with the curriculum.
We understand that the budget has not been finalized yet, and that in a typical year the four schools share ten interns. We request that the Pelham district budget for a minimum of twelve interns, so that each school may have three interns - one for each grade to share across K-2. If that is not to be, we strongly recommend that there be Teaching Assistants in the classes with 20 children or more and that Colonial receive Interns or Teaching Assistants in the 1st and 2nd grade classrooms.
We are making this request because of the particular qualities of these large cohorts and because research shows that these early elementary school grades benefit from a smaller teacher to student ratio. For example, according to The Center for Public Education, smaller class sizes help students achieve higher reading and math scores and can have have lasting positive effects. The needs of students in these early years are distinct; that's why so many districts implement a smaller teacher class ratio in K-2. Bronxville, New Rochelle and other high-performing public schools throughout NYC have Teaching Assistants or Interns in their K-2 classrooms.
We believe this investment in our children, when it matters most at this early age, will pay dividends to their future success as they proceed through the Pelham Schools and we strongly hope that you will fulfill our request. We feel that this is necessary to support the quality of education we expect from Colonial for our children.
The parents of Kindergarten and 1st grade classes at Colonial School:
KH, KM, 1C and 1H
Dr. Peter Giarrizzo, Superintdent, Pelham Public Schools
Mr. Lonnie Phillips, Board of Education, Pelham Public Schools