After two public forums where Princeton Public Schools heard from a wide range of people including community members, students, alumni, and PPS staff, the Board of Education approved a name change for John Witherspoon Middle School.
Going forward, it will be known as Princeton Unified Middle School (PUMS), an interim name that will be used until a permanent name can be chosen. The resolution passed by the Board requires a permanent name to be selected by June 30, 2021. The renaming process offers a unique learning opportunity for PPS students, and plans are underway for their participation.
Both community members and board members noted that changing the name of John Witherspoon Middle School is a symbolic first step that needs to be accompanied by corresponding changes in the curriculum and in the community to promote social justice and antiracism.
PPS has taken some initial steps toward that goal. The district recently announced plans to include racial literacy courses in the curriculum for Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten, and First Grade next year, and there are plans for the courses to be expanded to all grades in subsequent years. Princeton High School, which already offers a racial literacy course, is piloting an online version of that course for adoption in 2021-2022.
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