Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXV, No. 8
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
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For Your Viewing Pleasure: School District Offers “This Week in Education” on TV30

Ellen Gilbert

“This Week in Education” on TV30 is a spiffy new complement to the regularly-aired repeats of recent School Board Meetings.

Hosted by Assistant Superintendent Lewis Goldstein, the series, which may be viewed in Princeton on Verizon FIOS Channel 45 or Comcast Channel 30, promises to highlight schools events, students, administrators, teachers, support staff, along with new and ongoing programs The 30-minute show is broadcast three times each week, at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesdays; 11:30 a.m. on Fridays; and 9:30 a.m. on Sundays. The show may also be viewed over the internet by going to www.princetontv.org, and clicking on “archives” to see present and past shows.

Mr. Goldstein, whose purview in the district is Human Resources, Public Information and Community Relations, describes the new series as an effort “to promote educational awareness in the community,” and to talk about “all the wonderful things that are going on in the schools.” He credited Superintendent Judy Wilson with the idea for the show, and appreciatively acknowledged TV30 for giving the district studio time.

He cited Executive Director George McCollough’s talents as an editor, and described the unscripted, informal tone of the program. “There are no teleprompters. This is the best way to do it; people are really speaking from their hearts.” Some jazzy opening music sets the tone.

The first segment of “This Week in Education” was split into two parts. The first aired last week, and the second will appear this week. Together, they focus on John Witherspoon Middle School (JW), using interviews with Principal Jason Burr, teachers Justin Mathews, Kelly Riely, Amy Wargo, Steve Carson, Alison Ramus, Sharrie Barish, as well as five eighth grade students.

Wearing what appeared to be a particularly eye-catching vintage tie for his interview, Mr. Burr enthused about the reception he received this last semester as JW’s incoming principal, and talked about the school’s “many new initiatives.”

“It truly is a partnership between students, families, and the community at large,” said the former teacher, who has been an educator for over 15 years. He cited the remarkable success of JW’s “Super Saturday” event early in the fall, when over 400 youngsters and their families turned out.

In another conversation with Mr. Goldstein, sixth grade teacher Justin Mathews described the “specialness” of that year in school, when children have more than one teacher for the first time. “The kids are taking on more responsibility,” he observed. “They say, ‘you mean we don’t have to get in line?’ and we say, ‘no, you just have to go to your next class.” Teachers also tell them, he added, that “by the end of today, you’re going to love this place.”

The combination of children’s interests and community resources, Mr. Mathews observed, makes “magic happen.”

Mr. Goldstein described the conversation that took place with five JW students in the second segment as “completely spontaneous. When I asked them the questions, I had no idea what they were going to say.”

Future segments of “The Week in Education” will focus on music programs, science experiments, choral performances, art, music, and literacy. Mr. Goldstein noted, however, that in addition to highlighting special programs, events, and people, the show would also be used to inform the public about more serious issues like budget questions, as that season approaches.

“We’ve gotten a lot of good feedback so far,” Mr. Goldstein said. The public is encouraged to tune in and make additional suggestions.

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