A COMMITMENT TO ANTI-RACISM, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION
The Princeton Board of Education acknowledges that systemic racism1 and bias2 have existed and continue to exist within our district. We are committed to identifying and dismantling racism and all other systems that lead to disparate outcomes for our students, and ensuring equitable treatment and access to academic, social, and emotional, and extra-curricular opportunities. Students, staff and parents of all backgrounds, cultures, abilities, and identities must be welcomed, safe, respected, and included in our school community.
All of us have the responsibility to stand up and speak out against racism and bias, wherever and whenever we find it, and the Board of Education and the Superintendent will lead all district stakeholders3 in effecting an anti-racist and equitable environment. The Board will align resources and training for all stakeholders to support those who have been historically underserved and overlooked. The Board expects that district administrators will measure and evaluate the effectiveness of all resources and programs to support system change in learning conditions that ensure “students’ success and flourishing.”4
The Princeton Public Schools is dedicated to being a district where fairness and equity prevail.
1. “Systemic racism includes the policies and practices entrenched in established institutions, which result in the exclusion or promotion of designated groups. It differs from overt discrimination in that no individual intent is necessary (City of Toronto).” https://www.aclrc.com/forms-of-racism
2. “Biases affect the way we think, our attitudes and how we interact with those around us. Biases are based on the sum of our socialization experiences. They operate at both the conscious and unconscious levels and in many cases are rooted in stereotypes and prejudices.” Biases can be implicit, conscious, unconscious and systemic. Encyclopedia of Child Behavior and Development, 2011 Edition. Editors: Sam Goldstein, Jack A. Naglieri.
3. By “stakeholders” we mean students, staff, parents, and community members.
4. The term “success and flourishing” is used by the BELE Network.
Equity in Education
The mission of Princeton Public Schools is to prepare all children to lead lives of joy and purpose as knowledgeable, creative, and compassionate citizens of a global society.
- Princeton Public Schools is working on increasing racial literacy and cultural responsiveness among both our staff and our students.
- Racial literacy can be defined in terms of understanding the experiences and perspectives of those whose cultures and colors might be different than our own.
- Racial literacy can be defined in terms of our awareness of our own biases.
- Racial literacy can be defined in terms of our willingness and ability to honestly acknowledge racial issues as they arise and work to address them.
The racial literacy curriculum has a foundation in pedagogies developed to advance social justice, cultural responsiveness, and multiculturalism.
Read the Equity Audit Report from 2018 which informed many changes and improvements between 2018 and 2022.
Princeton High School
The PHS racial literacy course originated in the spring 2018 in part as a response to student advocacy.
- The racial literacy course has become a linchpin, as the district works to provide curricular offerings for students at all levels.
- Teachers and staff districtwide receive racial literacy training, both in person and online.
- Among the offerings are a professional development module called Equity Model 1: Foundational Skills, Knowledge and Dispositions.
Princeton High School has expanded its racial literacy offerings to include PIRL—Princeton Introduction to Racial Literacy—an online racial literacy course based on the popular elective.
Extending the Curriculum through Eighth Grade
The middle school curriculum draws on the work of Gholdy Muhammad, a teacher and literacy scholar, whose pedagogy builds on the Teaching Tolerance standards to address what she calls “historically responsive literacy.” Muhammad offers her own four-tiered learning framework:
- Identity Development
- Skills Development including developing proficiencies across the academic disciplines
- Development of Intellect
- Criticality, including helping students think in active as opposed to passive ways); developing the ability to read texts (including print and social contexts) to understand power and equity.
The district received a grant to engage in a three-phase racial literacy project for Pre-K to first grade. The grant funded:
- Specialized training for the library/media specialists to teach the four domains of racial justice through authentic books featuring diverse characters, authors, and settings.
- New titles for our elementary school libraries and classroom.
- The purchase of Dr. Gholdy Muhammad's book, Cultivating Genius for a district wide, staff book club.
- The cost of Library Media curriculum revision to include a racial literacy lens.
- The updating of library and humanities curriculum based on the Social Justice Standards, a road map for anti-bias education at every stage of K-12 instruction.
Teaching the Teachers
Training begins with elementary-level library media specialists and is continuing with all those who teach the curriculum from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade.
Investing in a Diverse Staff
Our goal is to attract, develop, inspire, and retain a diverse workforce within a supportive environment, and to foster pride in our vision, mission, and values among all employees.
Partnership with Sage Wellness Group and Dr. Tara Doaty
Princeton Public Schools’ partnership with Sage Wellness Group has spanned nearly ten years. During this time, Sage Wellness Group, under the leadership of Dr. Tara Doaty, has provided numerous professional development trainings to PPS staff on topics including social-emotional learning, racial equity, Restorative Justice, and trauma-informed care.
Dr. Doaty has also served as the Keynote Speaker welcoming PPS staff back to school and outlined tools to support the District’s commitment to anti-bias, equity, and providing safe spaces for learning for all staff, students, and families.