New and Expanded Programs at Pawling Central Schools

Dual-credit Dutchess Community College (DCC) English and Project Lead the Way Cyber-Security are two new courses being offered at Pawling High School for the 2018 –2019 school year. As with other dual-credit courses at Pawling High School, students in College English earn college and high school credit at the same time. This course, taught by Kasey Stecher, is the first DCC course in the English department and provides college credit, accepted at any SUNY school.

Principal Helen Callan reports that, with over 25% of graduates choosing to continue their education at SUNY colleges and universities, “It just made good sense to add this course.”

Cyber-Security is a new course in the Project Lead the Way sequence. Project Lead the Way is a pre-engineering program that the District has included in its science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM) offerings from kindergarten through 12th grade. By adding Cyber-Security, which will be taught by Christine Clisby, Pawling High School is now able to offer two three-course sequences, one in engineering and the second in computer science. Many Project Lead the Way courses are eligible for college credit as well, through Rochester Institute of Technology.

Megan Gleason, Principal at Pawling Middle School, also shared new offerings: “All students with an interest in preparing for and taking Regents-level science are able to do so this year because we have added Regents Living Environment at Pawling Middle School, along with Regents Earth Science. Adding the additional course gave us more spots for our students.”

Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Kim Fontana, said, “Given the array of science courses at Pawling High School, including many electives, advanced placement chemistry, biology and physics, and original science research with SUNY Albany, students who start taking their Regents sequence in middle school can plan to be engaged in science courses right through graduation. One of the most important considerations in whether acceleration benefits students is whether there are compelling offerings to keep kids committed to the subject right through twelfth grade. Given the Board of Education and community support, plus our great teachers, I’m confident we have that.”

Gleason also shared new courses in the middle school Project Lead the Way offerings. Caroline Quentin will be teaching two new courses: “The Science of Technology” and “Energy and the Environment.” Quentin says, “These courses will further allow students to explore all different types of engineering, as well as build problem-solving skills by facing real world problems such as oil spills, improving energy efficiency in homes, and many other topics. Each course presents obstacles with multiple potential solutions, allowing every student to develop unique ideas for individuals and small collaborative groups to pursue.”

At Pawling Elementary School, Dr. Debra Kirkhus and her team have expanded the MakerSpace, continue to offer instrumental music lessons for fourth graders (new last year), and have an expanded homework club. Dr. Kirkhus said, “The instrumental lessons went very well last year, and in the spring we came up with a way to enable the students to take lessons at the middle school. We expect the fourth graders will become more comfortable with the middle school, easing their transition as fifth graders. And, they get to work with their band teacher, Mrs. Nace, for grades four, five, and six. On their lesson day, they will take the bus from home to the middle school, have their lesson with Mrs. Nace, and they are back at the elementary school in time for our day to start.” Dr. Kirkhus reports that at the other end of the day, “Homework Club has been a big hit. In addition to getting support for reading and schoolwork, students enjoy the atmosphere and individual attention.” Project Lead the Way has been a huge success as well at the elementary school, where the Launch Program is taught by Stephen Malone. Dr. Kirkus says, “I believe we have some future doctors and orthopedists in our school! Given a list of criteria, children in kindergarten are challenged with creating an arm cast in their Project Lead the Way class. The breadth and complexity of challenges students encounter across the elementary grades in the program are really exciting, and we’re off to another great year.”