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Math Class Gets a Makeover at Somers High School

two students at desk working on mathNotebooks and pencils - move over. Writing on tables is the new norm in Lauren Pizzolla’s math classes at Somers High School.

Thanks to a grant from the Somers Education Foundation, traditional desks in Pizzolla’s classroom have been replaced with white board tables and stationary chairs have given way to ones that move. The new interactive classroom set up, groups of several white board tables outfitted with colored rolling and rocking chairs, was completed in December.

“It’s a lot easier to have this to work out math problems,” said Lena Pietrie, a sophomore in Pizzolla’s Honors Algebra II/Trigonometry class. “It makes it easy and fun, and you can then just take a picture of what you did for notes.”

The white board tables promote student collaboration and create an environment where they are comfortable sharing and talking about their work, Pizzolla said. The act of writing it on the table in front of them improves memory of the subject matter and engages the students and invites others to work off an idea.

The moving chairs are also an essential part of this new set up. “The ability for students to move around in their chairs helps with focus,” she said.

three students working on mathOne student, ninth grader Hyugo Todo is happy with the rocking chair at his whiteboard table. “These two things make math a lot easier,” he said.

Pizzolla received three white board tables through a mini grant from Somers High School Parent Teacher Association in 2021. They were used for small group work. Seeing such positive reception from students, Pizzolla and her students, Emily Esposito and Samantha Cabo, wrote and submitted a grant to the Somers Educational Foundation that was approved over the summer. Her newly outfitted classroom is the first in the district, and likely others as well, to have these whiteboard tables in place of desks. Both Pizzolla and her students would like to see whiteboard tables used in additional classrooms throughout the district.

In addition to being an educational resource for her math students, Pizzolla said the new classroom furnishings promote student responsibility. Each class is responsible for wiping down the tables and ensuring they are ready for the next group to use. “They know that these items were given to them by the community and that is their job to use them properly and respect the fact that other students will use them too,” she said.

Somers Education Foundation Co-Vice President Vicki Durso said her group was excited about the newest grant award that benefits students in Somers.

“SEF is one of those organizations that shares in something we all care about -- our children and the Somers Central School District,” Durso said. “Though SEF has not been able to host most of our signature fundraising events since March 2020, that hasn't stopped us from awarding more than $46,000 in grants and scholarships in 2021 to teachers and students in Somers.”

teacher with studentsDurso added that SEF is committed to finding new ways to raise money for grant giving to support the children and staff throughout the SCSD.

Tax-deductible donations can be made online to the SEF Annual Giving Campaign at