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Princeton Public School District

Public Board Meeting

January 30, 2024

Board Highlights

These highlights are an unofficial summary of actions taken and topics discussed during the public session of the Princeton Board  of Education on January 30, 2024. They are intended to provide timely information to our community, but do not represent the official minutes of the meeting. You can watch the full Board meeting on the district’s YouTube channel.

Board President's Report

President Dafna Kendal opened the meeting with a request for a moment of silence in honor of Jeffrey Vega, president and CEO of the Princeton Area Community Foundation, who died on January 29. She noted that he was "a big supporter of our schools" and will be missed.

Saying that "the board likes to keep the focus on kids," she introduced Middle School Principal Jason Burr and Computer Teacher Kelly Riely to discuss a project that tasked 7th graders with creating a small business. The students learned about entrepreneurship, finance, design thinking, collaboration, time management, and productivity as they created products, sold them, and then donated their projects to a nonprofit organization of their choosing.  Students have earned $4,300 so far, and 20 organizations have benefitted from these donations. Three of the students described their projects in detail—one was an ornament business whose profits supported an organization that supports homeless pets; another was a brownie baking business whose profits supported the LBGTQ+ community.

Superintendent's Report

Acting Superintendent Kathie Foster mentioned that January has been designated as "School Board Recognition Month," and expressed her deep gratitude to the board members for their dedication to the district. "Each of our board members is committed to putting our students first," she said, and thanked them for their service, loyalty, leadership, and guidance. She observed that a survey by the National School Board Association revealed that board members spend between 11 and 50 volunteer hours a month on board duties.

Portrait of a Graduate

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Kimberly Tew gave a presentation on the Portrait of a Graduate initiative, which seeks to identify and support the characteristics PPS students should possess. These characteristics are:

  • Critical Thinker
  • Global Thinker
  • Curious Learner
  • Health and Wellness Advocate
  • Collaborative Communicator
  • Creative Innovator

The initiative seeks to identify what these skills look like in various grades and subjects, and how they are taught. A holistic five-year plan will provide guidance and support by providing ongoing standards, resources, and feedback. On March 1, the district will roll out an art contest challenging students in all six schools to create an image of what these qualities look like and how they complement one another. The winning projects will become part of a puzzle image showing how the pieces come together. The finished product will be printed as a poster and displayed widely throughout the district, emphasizing the connection among disciplines.

Student Board Members Report

Student reps Oliver Huang and Alex Margulis noted that the PHS holiday concert was well attended, and thanked teachers, counselors, and staff for their assistance during the stressful college application season as well as for the decision to grant a snow day, rather than a remote school day, during a recent storm. The break was much appreciated. They also reported that they have been meeting with administrators to improve field trip access and equity.

Public Comment

Comments focused on concerns that the proposed renovation to Littlebrook School may not provide adequate teaching, meeting, and indoor and outdoor recreational spaces for an expanding student body; and on curriculum issues related to the Pathways to Racial Literacy (PRL) course at Princeton Middle School. Some members of the community voiced concerns that some portions of the curriculum are inappropriate; others voiced support for the PIRL curriculum.

A letter from Littlebrook parents regarding the proposed renovations to Littlebrook Elementary School was read aloud in its entirety; the board thanked its authors for their feedback.

A student and their mother shared their positive experiences with a PHS math teacher praising his dedication and commitment to teaching students at all levels of skills in calculus.

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