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Strategic Planning: Re-Designing Our District for the Future

Administration Building
25 Valley Road
Princeton, NJ 08540

Tel: 609.806.4200

May 2015

My wife and I are huge fans of the HGTV series Love it or List it.  We are particularly fond of that portion of the show in which Hillary, the designer, considers ways to reconfigure a house based on the homeowners' changing needs, long-time challenges, and hoped-for dreams.

Maybe the homeowners have a growing family, a need for a home office, or have always been frustrated by the layout of their kitchen.  Maybe they are looking to finally refinish the basement, upgrade their bathroom, or knock down a few walls to create a first floor with an open concept.  Hillary's role is to develop a design that beautifully incorporates as many changes as possible within a prescribed budget.  She also oversees the implementation of that design, prioritizing each portion of the project and making adjustments as unforeseen issues arise.
School districts, too, have changing needs, long-time challenges, and hoped-for dreams.  In Princeton, for example, growing enrollments are likely to create needs for more space and additional staff.  Changes in the ways schools are financed may require novel approaches to reduce costs and increase revenues.  Long-time efforts to close the achievement gap may be enhanced with fresh perspectives and community partnerships.  Shifts in educational best practice may lead to more personalized learning or interdisciplinary thinking.  Advances in technology may suggest innovative approaches to teaching and assessing.   Research on wellness may lead us to new ways of building resiliency, relationships, and a sense of service. Moreover, changes in the world for which we are preparing our children may inspire a vision for new courses, new content, and new learning experiences.

We at the Princeton Public Schools are excited and ready to redesign for the future.  And on May 28 and May 29 we will be bringing our design team together.  The team will represent all the stakeholders in our district and will consist of parents, students, teachers, administrators, board members and community leaders.  Charged with developing a strategic plan for the Princeton Public Schools, the design team or “Steering Committee” of 50-60 people will revamp the vision for our district and identify the goals on which we should be focused for the next five years.
We will send out invitations to be a part of the team, but those who may be interested in participating are encouraged to contact my office at:

In addition, I would ask all those interested and invested in the Princeton Public Schools to participate in the Strategic Planning Survey.

The deadline for the survey is May 14, 2015.

The survey will inform the Steering Committee and will be an opportunity for all those in our community, including our students, to share what they perceive to be the strengths and needs of the district as well as their dreams and hopes for change.
Redesigning a district, like redesigning a home, requires both honesty and innovation.  We must have the courage to see what is working and what is not.  And we must have the creativity to see the possibilities of opening up a wall or two!  

I look forward to working with our community to design and construct the renovations that will serve the needs of every child and prepare each one to make a difference in a complex and rapidly changing world.

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