August 22, 2012

New Name, New Look, New Website; Princeton Public Schools Ready to Go

“We are certainly ready to welcome our students back,” said Superintendent Judy Wilson in a recent Princeton Community TV appearance.

Which is not to say that the schools have been idle. Ms. Wilson reported that “hundreds of students were with us this summer,” to take English classes; participate in math and literacy programs; receive special needs instruction, and get help in preparing for college.

The TV spot gave Ms. Wilson an opportunity to provide the latest information about the schools; a new name, a new logo, and a new website were at the top of her list. The new name, Princeton Public Schools, occurs in anticipation of the January 1, 2013, consolidation of Princeton Borough and Princeton Township, at which point Princeton will no longer qualify as a regional school district and is legally obligated to change its name.

The new website,, promises to provide “all that’s newsworthy, accurate, and all that’s important to you as a parent,” said Ms. Wilson. With “a new look” and “many more resources,” the site will include “good news” as well as up-to-the minute emergency information.

Princeton Public School athletes, who have already begun to return to school for pre-season training, will be observed more carefully under the schools’ new policies and procedures regarding concussions and their aftermath, said Ms. Wilson. Coaches and nurses will also be “paying attention to new research on sudden cardiac arrest,” and on ensuring that athletes remain hydrated during the hot weather.

“The choice to read is so very powerful in our children’s lives,” said Ms. Wilson in her comments about the required summer reading lists that were posted on the old website and have been transferred to the new one. She encouraged parents and students to visit the public library (“a few visits”) and to engage in “literacy experiences,” like “conversations about books and movies.”

Ms. Wilson described the buildings and grounds improvements to all six schools proposed under a recently announced public bond referendum as “projects that just can’t be tackled in day-to-day maintenance and repairs.” Princeton residents will vote on the $10.9 million bond on Monday, September 24, when polls will be open from noon to 9 p.m. The work includes “a range of projects from drainage systems to instructional classrooms to fields and courts, but none of it is new construction,” she noted. The improvements are intended to “stop water damage; fight energy costs; replace gym floors; add an ADA-compliant ramp to Princeton High School;” and beef up playground safety at the elementary schools. A new turf field, bleachers, and track used by middle and high school students need to be replaced, said Ms. Wilson, and the John Witherspoon Middle School gym will be “repurposed” to create a media center.

Turning to what she described as “minor projects,” Ms. Wilson noted that “the Valley Road building does not need any attention; it’s been well-maintained and renovated in recent years.” The adjacent playing fields, however, “need attention.”

Ms. Wilson pointed to “high needs, low costs, and low interest rates” as reasons for the upcoming referendum. If it is passed, it will cost the average in Princeton resident $149.

More details on repairs and upgrades, Ms. Wilson noted, will be made available in the coming weeks.