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Pelham School Board Holds First Meeting of Year

PELHAM, N.Y. – The Pelham Board of Education held its first public meeting of the school year Monday night and set its goals and committees for the coming months.

The meeting, held at the Pelham Middle School library, began with Pelham High School principal Jeanine Clark's honoring two students, Claire Yost and Omar Gouda for their outstanding academic work. Gouda got the board laughing, a presentation he had prepared about his journey to becoming a high school senior.

Gouda, a Muslim, highlighted one particularly vivid scene of his Sundays spent in Arabic classes.

"I don't speak Arabic," he said. "For all I knew, they could be telling me to go home and watch Power Rangers, which I'd gladly do."

School board president Robert Eicher then humorously introduced the next presenter.

"I'm not sure I would want to follow that, and that's where we bring in the auditors," Eicher said.

The board updated the public on the status of the Pelham schools as it opened for the 2011-2012 academic year. William Cavanagh said that he toured the schools the day before they opened and delivered a glowing report on their condition.

"All the schools were in terrific shape," Cavanagh said. "Our custodians should be congratulated for the fine shape the schools started in this year."

Superintendent Dennis Lauro then outlined programs for the district for the coming year, including the implementation of learning standards, development of writing and literacy and elimination of classes at the high school level that do not meet Regents standards.

"There are a number of initiatives that are happening despite not having a strategic plan in place," Lauro said. "I believe we'll accomplish most of this if not all of these by the end of the year."

The board also appointed its members to various committees and approved the acceptance of $39,101 in donations from the Pelham Education Foundation, Inc.

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