SOMERS, N.Y. – Students and faculty returning to Somers schools this week will find freshly waxed floors, some fresh academic challenges and a handful of fresh faces, including Somers High School’s new principal, Mark Bayer.
Speaking at the recent Somers Board of Education meeting, Superintendent of Schools Raymond Blanch expressed how much he appreciated the commitment and passion of Somers educators and said, “I hope it’s contagious to the kids.”
Describing some of the curriculum enhancements for the fall term, Blanch said both science and math Olympiads would be added this year. Olympiads are non-profit organizations that create competitions and other ways of inspiring excellence in students. Certificates, medals, trophies and scholarships are awarded on the basis of achievement.
Blanch continued, “We’ve had a very large showing of boys to play soccer and girls for the volleyball team, to the point where we may add two JV level positions for those programs. There’s too much research out there telling us about the value of extracurricular activities for youngsters, so we want to engage as many as we can.”
“Even the numbers in the band are increasing,” he added, “so we may have to tweak some staffing to support those kids.”
The town of Somers has been extremely supportive of sports and club activities, he said, and it is a great help to both the school administrators and the students.
Eight new professionals have been added to the staff, but there is an overall net loss in faculty due to retirements. The new professional staff includes: Michelle DiFini (school psychologist), DeAnne Chin (occupational therapist, part-time) and Lara Davidson (teacher, part-time), all at Somers Intermediate School.
Jordan Hunt will be a part-time teacher at the high school. Maria Bele and Beth Monteleone will join the faculty of the intermediate school to replace teachers on leave. Danielle Paglia will be a part-time teacher for the district, specializing in students with speech and hearing handicaps.
Overall enrollment remains about the same as last year, said Blanch, with fewer children at the primary levels and more in high school.
The defining goal for the coming year? “We’re going to focus on the ‘whole’ child,” said Blanch.