May 16, 2018

School Matters: Week of May 16, 2018

Littlebrook Science Students Dream About Their Future

Littlebrook Elementary School (LB) is gearing up for its ninth annual Science Expo on Friday, May 18. Each of the approximately 300 students from kindergarten through fifth grade will participate in up to 15 different 20-minute presentations by dozens of parents and other science experts and enthusiasts who have volunteered their time.

“I’m so grateful to the many parents and community members who give up their day to engage with our kids,” said LB science teacher Martha Friend. “Taking an entire teaching day to focus on science sends a powerful message to our students: Science is a vital component of all of our lives.”

Sessions at this year’s Science Expo will include Making the Invisible Visible: Heat and Air! by Princeton University professor and LB parent Forrest Meggers; Humans, Frogs, and Dogs: How Evolution Shapes Animals by Martin Wuhr, also an LB parent and Princeton professor; and Reading Ice’s Stories by Julian Spergel, former LB student and now a graduate research assistant at Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory.

Second Annual Becoming Conference for Teen Girls on June 16

Designed to empower, educate, and inspire girls between the ages of 13 and 17, the second annual Becoming Conference, sponsored by the Center for Black Church Studies, will take place at Princeton Theological Seminary 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 16.

“I’m hoping that the girls attending this year’s conference will leave having experienced the safety of knowing that they are not alone in their journeys, and that they have a village of women and peers to serve as a community of hope for them,“ said Becoming Conference Director Khristi L. Adams.

Tickets and further information are available at

PHS Musicians, Vocalists Win Championships

The Princeton High School (PHS) Studio Band has been named the 2018 New Jersey State Jazz Champions, the PHS Jazz Ensemble placed second in the New Jersey State Finals, and the Studio Vocals won the New Jersey State Finals for their division.

This is the first time in school history that the Studio Band and Jazz Ensemble placed first and second in the state competition.

PDS’s “Bat Boy” Wins Four Nominations at Paper Mill

Princeton Day School’s Upper School winter musical “Bat Boy” has earned four nominations from the Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards.

Student Achievement Award nominations went to Hope Ammidon, assistant director; Rakesh Potluri, assistant lighting designer/master electrician; Aaron Baseman, production art and design; and to the chorus for outstanding performance.

Lighting designer Steve Howe also earned an honorable mention for his work on the production, which was directed by Stan Cahill.

The Rising Star Awards visit more than 100 New Jersey schools and honor outstanding achievement in musical production.

JWMS Eighth Graders Compete in Robocop Junior Competition

John Witherspoon Middle School’s two teams finished fifth and sixth in the lightweight primary league of the May 6 Robocop Junior competition at the Borough of Manhattan Community College.

Contending with a slew of problems with the robots they had designed, including a propensity to shoot the ball into the wrong goal, the eighth graders learned a number of valuable lessons.

Under the mentorship of Armin Rump and Riverside science teacher Mark Eastburn, the students learned “detailed thinking and problem-solving, observation and causal deduction, teamwork, perseverance and grit, digital literacy, logical and computational thinking, and dealing with uncertainty,” Rump said.

“Congratulations for a hard-fought tournament,” added Rump. “All of you did a great job building and programming your own robots. I would have liked to see a little more sharing of ideas and code among the group, but no one can say you didn’t do it yourselves.”

N.J. High School Students to Show Off Their Financial IQ

High school students from 13 districts across New Jersey will compete for prizes in delivering financial lessons on May 23 at 6 p.m. at Rider University’s Bart Luedeke Center. Sponsored by the Mercadien Group, New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Company, Rider University, Fulton Bank, and the Roma Bank Foundation, the Money$peak competition complements the personal finance course mandated since 2014 for all high schoolers.

All students who are taking or have taken a personal finance course are eligible to join a team of up to six classmates to create a compelling multimedia presentation on one of ten topics related to finance.

Schools sending winning teams will receive grants to support financial education. For more information, visit

Chapin Boat Builders Launch Their Canoes

Chapin School eighth-graders last week completed a year-long project and launched their lake-worthy canoes at Lake Mercer in Mercer County Park.

In pursuing this experiential learning challenge, the eighth-graders worked in three groups, using all of the tools necessary to build the canoes from scratch while using design thinking and collaborative learning to create successful vessels.

The ships withstood the lake waters, and the triumphant students returned to shore slightly damp but unscathed.