Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 42
 
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
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Minority Education Committee Hopes to Strengthen Resolve, Extend Its Reach

Ellen Gilbert

“Right now, the doors are wide open,” observed Chair Fern Spruill at Monday evening’s Minority Education Committee (MEC) Meeting, referring to opportunities to implement change. “But we need to have a team.”

The question of degrees of committee members’ involvement and parental participation were repeated themes at the meeting, where the main agenda item was a review of the MEC’s mission and bylaws. The committee’s primary charge is “to be a source of informed, readily available feedback to the Board and administration on issues that impact the educational experience of minority students in the Princeton Regional Schools.”

Co-chair Jim Floyd described the mission as “expansive,” noting that the “broad range of activities” available to the MEC “would hopefully be in the best interest of our minority parents and youngsters, but also for the school system itself.”

Noting that the committee “may not have done as much as we could in the past,” Mr. Floyd encouraged the group to persevere. “Sometimes I refer to history,” the former Borough mayor observed. “When we first moved to Princeton, no one would sell us a house. No one would sell us a piece of land to build on. The system has some inconsistencies and sometimes progress is slow, but we owe it to our students and parents to keep going.” He cited Princeton Community Village as an example of “a wonderful, thriving community” that overcame obstacles during its creation.

At Mr. Floyd’s suggestion, the committee voted to change a request for two student representatives at its meetings to four, to include one from each class in the high school. It was agreed that the students do not have to be from minority groups. Board of Education liaison Tim Quinn called student representation at MEC meetings “a wonderful idea.” In response to concerns expressed about late-evening commitments for students, he noted that the two student representatives at Board of Education meetings are allowed to leave immediately after they give their reports, early in the evening.

Responding to Ms. Spruill’s report on an upcoming meeting to discuss the state-mandated “No Child Left Behind” program with Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Bonnie Lehet, Mr. Floyd suggested that the MEC explore possibility of hosting a large forum that would involve more parents. Interested committee members agreed to meet to discuss this proposal next Monday, October 26, at 7 p.m. in the Valley Road Building. It was noted that “No Child Left Behind” concerns are not limited to minority children.

Ms. Spruill reported that she, School Superintendent Judy Wilson, and other MEC and PRS representatives will be attending the Delaware Valley Minority Student Consortium’s “Creating Family Friendly Schools” workshop in Philadelphia on November 4. The annual event will include a keynote speaker, shared book discussions, and breakout sessions.

Calling the college fair where over 40 historically black colleges will be represented, “a good program for any high school junior or senior,” MEC member Eugene McCray circulated an announcement for a November 15 event at the War Memorial Building in Trenton. Mr. MacRae said that over 1,100 students attended last year’s event, which included workshops on “Scholarships and Financial Aid,” “Key Steps in Making the College Decision,” and “The Job Market Present and Future.” Contacts for the event are Harold B. Vereen, hvereen@trentonques.org; or Charles G. Davis, cdavis@trentonques.org. Groups of ten or more are asked to pre-register at www.oduf.org.

The next regular MEC meeting will be on Monday, November 16th, at the Valley Road Building.

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