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Princeton High School News

The PHS Ideas Center tutoring is open for business!

Sign up now for tutoring:

  • Students & parents can fill out the online form.
  • Tutoring available in all academic subjects during the school day.
  • After-school tutoring until 4:30 PM on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

    screen shot of Ideas Center poster


Spotlight on PHS:
Dr. Andrea Dinan, Director of the PHS Ideas Center


What happens at the Ideas Center?

The Ideas Center is the hub of the tutoring programs for PHS. In the center students can request academic assistance and receive help in a variety of ways, including peer tutoring, study groups, Princeton University tutors and assistance from PHS teachers. It is a quiet study room during the school day as well as a gathering place for service projects and a boisterous place at break for students to receive help, connect with peers and eat lunch.

Are there students who serve as peer-to-peer tutors at the Ideas Center? Do adults or Princeton University students also provide tutoring?

Currently our staff is comprised of 75 peer tutors. Peer tutors are students who received an A in the course they will be tutoring and have a strong recommendation from the course teacher. The peer tutors participate in several workshops during the year to sharpen their leadership, communication and mentor abilities as well as meet in small groups to troubleshoot. The program is overseen by a student board of veteran tutors who have been chosen by their peers.

Additionally, we have 5-10 Princeton University tutors on staff. Most recently the university tutors have assisted via zoom, so we are looking forward to welcoming them back to our center for in-person tutoring this year. The PU tutors primarily serve to assist drop-in students due to our schedule. Currently we have 8 teachers assisting during the day for one-on-one meetings with students. After school on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursdays 3:30pm- 4:30pm there are 2 teachers that supervise our after-school tutoring program.

Are all PHS student eligible to receive help at the Ideas Center? As there certain subjects where there is high demand for help?

All students can request help in any course they are taking at Princeton High school as well as organization and time management assistance.  As you might guess, the higher-level math and sciences draw the most requests. We offer popular study groups during midterm, finals, and AP testing season.

Are there PHS teachers who part of the rotation in the Ideas Center? How does that work?

PHS teachers are assigned during their duty period to be on call and assist students. Many teachers utilize the room for meeting with parents, community members and students as well.

Are there other things that happen in the Ideas Center other than tutoring?

YES! We provide two Career Cafe talks a month for students interested in specific careers. Our student board organizes and schedules the talks. Additionally, the student board began a Diversity Talks series which featured a series of advocates in different fields including some local student leaders in Mercer County.

The Ideas Center is also where Community Service Project leaders and programming meet. These projects include the tutoring program at PMS and the Pannell Center.  The Community Service Committee oversees these programs in the IC and plans large scale events like PHS Gives Back and the Poder en Salud program

What is Generation 1? How many students are involved?

Annually we have 30 students from all 4 grades participating in our college preparation program. We meet weekly to discuss important components for the application, assist with coursework and provide leadership opportunities to the students. This year the group was awarded a PODER EN SALUD (Power in Health) grant to address covid myths in the community. The Gen 1 group surveyed students new to our country and created a presentation and brochure to address the misinformation. Through an NJEA FAST grant we were able to provide all participating families with health goods for attending our presentation in the panel center.  The program culminates senior year with Fafsa workshops, scholarship assistance and general application support.

Does the Ideas Center provide support for international students? Does PHS have a high proportion of international students?

Every year is different, but we host the upper-class transfer student orientation in the fall. As of today, 45 new students are signed up. The program gives a good overview of the school, and the Ideas Center student board provides information on PHS ’s unique culture. The international students then have a “home base” to come to for lunch or when they have questions.  All the participants are also assigned a school “buddy.”

Additionally, we have two auxiliary programs providing ESL tutoring - one larger project for students speaking Spanish and a smaller project for students from Asian countries.

During the year we provide buddies to all newly registered students - tours, help and a lunch friend.

In 2020, we began using zoom as a way for students to connect and “travel” around the world. Over 50 students participated in teaching English to an Egyptian elementary school for 3 months. Via Zoom, our students volunteered at the Jersey City Immigrant and Refugee resettlement Center, participated in a multi-country exchange, and supported Lakota girls on Pine Ridge Reservation in a friendship program. Additionally, we have held 2 English Language “Bootcamp” programs with a school in Mexico.

Dr. Dinan, can you tell us a little about your background? What is your official title? How long have you been at PHS? 

I am also a first gen student! Before PHS, I helped form the NJ Farmers Against Hunger program for the state as an Americorps member and served as a Vista member at Homefront. I began working at PHS in 1996 and coached Field Hockey, Track, Basketball and Softball.

I have a doctorate in Educational Leadership and my thesis focused upon the academic impacts of Service Learning at the High School level. I have studied Spanish for many years and in 2016 was awarded a Fulbright Award for Distinguished Teachers to study under resourced students in Mexico. My work in Mexico cemented a 7-year relationship with a special school for the poorest students living in Mérida, Mexico. At PHS I coordinate the ELL Summer Camp, and multiple service projects. As part of the Guidance Department, I am always on hand to assist with any concerns students may have.

I have been a member of the Princeton Rotary since 1998, a Past President and have structured some of my programs at school to mirror the board I serve on in Rotary. I am a proud supporter and past board member of Fund 101 and currently on the board of Princeton Children’s fund. In my free time I like to scull and Crossfit.

Are there other things you would like to add about the Ideas Center?

I am proud of my student leaders and their commitment to assisting all their peers in acclimating to the school year and succeeding academically. We are all looking forward to 2022-2023 school year!

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Dr. Andrea Dinan, Director of the PHS Ideas Center

Photo of Dr. Andrea Dinan, Director of PHS Ideas Center Tutoring Hub
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