Pelham Examiner

PMHS teacher LaRose departing two months into year, leaving students, parents with questions

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Pelham Superintendent of Schools Cheryl Champ announced Sept. 27 the resignation of Dana LaRose, AP biology and regents chemistry teacher at PMHS. Within hours of the announcement, students began wondering what would come next, some worried, some confused. 

LaRose’s last day at Pelham will be Oct. 26, after which she will begin teaching at Fox Lane High School in Bedford, New York. 

“I am leaving after the school year has already started because of unforeseen events that have occurred in my personal life around the beginning of the school year,” said LaRose. “It was something unpredictable.”

Champ said that the departure was unexpected.

The sudden departure has already had an impact on students.

Jillian Pintauro, a junior at PMHS, dropped the class after hearing news of LaRose’s departure. “I was taking the class because I liked the subject, but I also took it because I like her teaching style and knew I could do well with her,” said Pintauro. “With the uncertainty of the new teacher and possible missing of information during the transition, I didn’t want to risk the stress of not doing well.”

“It is possible that there may be a gap between when Ms. LaRose finishes and when the new teacher begins,” said Champ. She said that Tom Callahan, head of science and math for the district, and Jeannine Clark, principal of PMHS, will be working to ensure that the transition is seamless.

When asked for comment, both Callahan and Clark stated that they could not speak to the press on “personnel issues.”

AP Biology is among the higher level courses at Pelham. “It moves very quickly,” said senior Richard Che, who took AP Biology last year. “There’s a lot to cover, so there’s not a lot of time to spend idle.”

According to Champ, the search for a replacement has already begun. “If we find a suitable candidate, they can be appointed to the position sometime in October,” said Champ. “It will depend upon when their current employer can release them to start with us, but hopefully as soon as possible.” Both Callahan and Clark will be assisting in the search for a replacement.

As of the week of Oct. 1, candidates for replacement were conducting observed lessons in LaRose’s classes.

LaRose’s departure comes in the context of several significant departures by PMHS staff in the past six months. At the end of last school year, both Director of Technology Joseph Catania and computer science teacher John LaGreca left Pelham. Catania was replaced by John Sebalos, and LaGreca by Llesh Miraj. In addition, several Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) technology personnel were relocated.

“I don’t think there is a systemic problem,” said Champ. “Each of these individuals left for their own personal reasons that were unrelated to Pelham.”

Parents of students have also expressed concern over LaRose’s departure.

“You can’t just replace a teacher for an AP class one month or two months into the school year,” said a parent of an AP Biology student who preferred to not to have their name published. “This could have been done during the summer, allowing enough time to find a replacement and start the new school year with a consistent program and teaching style.”

LaRose spoke strongly about the impact she hopes she has had on her students: “I don’t know how to predict the impact my departure will have on students. All I can speak to is the impact I hope to have had on students. I hope any student who knows me feels empowered. I hope they feel deep in their gut that they have the right to be happy and pursue that happiness fearlessly. I hope that they stand together and remember that the world is a collaborative place and all its issues cannot be tackled alone but rather with the creative power and support of their peers. I hope they all commit to be upstanders and encourage each other. I hope they do not doubt themselves when they make mistakes but rather learn from them and push further to be better than they were yesterday. I hope that they are patient and kind to other people, being mindful that everyone is going through their own struggles. I hope they reach out to loved ones when they feel isolated. And most of all, I hope that regardless of what they may face day to day, that they continue to have faith in humanity and their fellow humans.”

“I really liked LaRose, and [I] am sad to see her go,” said Pintauro.

“I will never forget the many students who have impacted me,” said LaRose. “I will forever be grateful for both the students who have been in my class and simply friends of those students because each and every one of those people has also been a teacher to me.”

About the Writer
Ben Glickman, Executive Editor

Ben Glickman is a senior at Pelham Memorial High School. He started his journalism career writing for the school newspaper, the Pel Mel, as a columnist...

1 Comment

One Response to “PMHS teacher LaRose departing two months into year, leaving students, parents with questions”

  1. Kim assatly on October 9th, 2018 4:15 pm

    I am sure the teacher was aware of the impact this would have on the students and had her reasons. I believe we need to be mindful that people encounter things in their life and sometimes have to do things in the moment. Teachers are acutely aware of how their absences and actions impact their students and more often than not, sacrifice their own health or convenience for the sake of their students. I read this hopeful that this change helps her deal with whatever she is going through and knowing that students are far more resilient than they, and sometimes their parents, know. It will all work out in the end. I would like to see students look at unforeseen changes as opportunities and challenges rather than problems or events that are earth shattering.

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PMHS teacher LaRose departing two months into year, leaving students, parents with questions