These highlights are an unofficial summary of actions taken and topics discussed during the public session of the PPS Board of Education on February 21, 2023. They are intended to provide timely information to our community, but they do not represent an official accounting of the meeting. Official minutes will be approved by the Board at its next meeting. To see the video of the February 21 meeting, please click here.
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The Princeton Board of Education met Tuesday, February 21, 2023, via Zoom.
The meeting was called to order by Dafna Kendal, Board President. Nine board members were present, including Betsy Kalber Baglio (Vice President), Beth Behrend, Debbie Bronfeld, Jean Durbin, Mara Franceschi, Susan Kanter, and Brian McDonald.
Congratulations to our Students: Board President Dafna Kendal congratulated those 15 PHS students who are National Merit Scholarship Finalists and wished good luck to the PHS Girls' Swim Team and their coaches in the State Championship. (To read more about the girls' state championship win, please click here.) Also recognized were the HS Boys' Hockey team, Mercer County Champions, who are moving on to the NJSIAA tournament; PHS Boys' Swimming team; PHS Wrestling team; and the PHS Girls' Basketball team, Mercer County Invitational Champions. Also, the PMS Boys' Basketball team had a great season, making it to the middle school Mercer County tournament finals for the first time in team history.
Gender Neutral Changing Rooms: Ms. Sharon DiSebastian, 8th Grade counselor at Princeton Middle School and advisor to the Student Advocacy Club, introduced two 8th-grade students who presented their proposal for creating gender-neutral changing rooms at Princeton Middle School, including research from studies and interviews with PMS students. The Board thanked the students for their advocacy and for raising the issue along with possible solutions. Ms. Kendal advised that the Board, along with Matt Bouldin, will be working with the students as they look for a location at the middle school to convert.
Addendum to the Collective Negotiations Agreement with PRESSA: The Board announced an increase in the starting salaries of custodians, secretaries, and instructional aides and approved an extension of the contract by another year. The Board thanked the PRESSA representatives present, Eric Karch and Ashante Thompson, for their partnership; Ms. Thompson and Mr. Karch thanked the Board for their trust and support.
Dr. Joy Barnes-Johnson reported on the upcoming Spring Assessment preparations and provided important dates. Work includes preparing the buildings and aligning them with the technology demands, communicating clear information (in English and Spanish) to families on the District website, and shifting the culture around assessments to one of embracing the valuable insights they provide.
- On March 13 the NJ Graduation Proficiency Assessment (11th grade; graduation requirement) begins
- NJ Student Learning Standards Assessments May 1 - June 2
Dr. Kelley presented the District's new Strategic Plan for the Board's consideration. She described the process of the plan's development, including the diversity of input from the community, students, employees, and other stakeholders. "By clarifying the goals and measures of student achievement and by outlining a roadmap for establishing annual priorities and action plans, our strategic plan will focus on the District's promise of delivering high-quality education for all of our students, enhancing their plans post-high school graduation, increasing student academic achievement, and building equitable learning experiences," she said.
Dr. Kelley invited the community to the State of the District celebration on February 27 from 6 to 8 PM,which includes the launch of the Strategic Plan.
Student Board member report: Student Board members Rohun Chivate and Andre Penn updated the Board on the mental health infographic presented at last month's meeting. The updated graphic is being disseminated on social media and through messaging. The students are working on getting it posted in restrooms, shared through the counseling department, and sent electronically via the daily Chmiel Spiel.
Discussion of ACFR/AMR and Corrective action plan. Mr. Bouldin reported on the annual external audit and presented the report to the Board for approval.
In response to public comments, Dr. Tew discussed the steps involved in the process of evaluating the 3-8 math program, which will begin in May, including course alignment and course sequencing specifically at the middle school. Dr. Tew announced the upcoming Math Placement night 7 pm Thursday, March 23, via webinar.
Long Term Planning
Brian McDonald announced there will be an Open Committee meeting on Tuesday, March 21, at 6 pm, to which he invited the full board and the public to discuss next steps in the facilities planning process in support of the new strategic plan and informed by the updated demographic projections that have been provided by the demographer.
Susan Kanter reported that in the committee's annual meeting with the auditors, the PPS business office was once again complimented for its professionalism and thoroughness. The Board echoed that praise of the business office. The committee had a 2022 Referendum update.
Debbie Bronfeld provided an update from the recent committee meeting and thanked Maria Hernandez, who is scheduled to retire, for all of her help. The Board also wished her a long and healthy retirement.
The next Board of Education meeting will be March 14 at 25 Valley Road, Princeton, NJ.
- District News