January 18, 2017

Despite impassioned appeals on both sides, along with expressed commitments to work together, Princeton Charter School (PCS) and Princeton Public Schools (PPS) remain entrenched in their opposition over the question of a PCS expansion.

Princeton Charter School’s board voted unanimously last Wednesday to support their application to the State Department of Education for expansion, and Princeton Public Schools continued their efforts to block that move.  more

Annie Isaacson, 47, yoga teacher and founder in 2014 of Rise Power Yoga on the second floor at 80 Nassau Street, believes in balance. She realizes that Rise Power Yoga is a successful business, but more important to her is leading a balanced life and providing a service to the community. As she explains it, “It becomes a space for a lot of people to show up and discover their radiance and deal with whatever they’re going through, whether it’s physical or emotional.” Annie lives in Princeton off Mount Lucas Road with her 13-year-old son. Here, in her own words, she talks about her journey to Rise Power Yoga. more

BURIAL BATTLE: Laertes (Edmund Lewis, on bottom) and Hamlet (Eric Tucker) fight over the corpse of Ophelia (Andrus Nichols) in the graveyard, as Hamlet prepares for his final revenge in Bedlam theater company’s production of William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” at McCarter’s Berlind Theatre through February 12. (Photo by Elizabeth Nichols)

A New York-based theater company founded in 2012, Bedlam, currently presenting Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Shaw’s Saint Joan in rotating repertory at McCarter’s Berlind Theatre, has received much acclaim from New York critics and others for its productions over the past four years. McCarter artistic director Emily Mann saw their Saint Joan a few years ago in New York City, and “was determined to bring Bedlam’s work to Princeton.” more

January 11, 2017

Princeton Charter School campus

It’s up to the State Department of Education’s Acting Commissioner Kimberley Harrington whether or not to approve Princeton Charter School’s (PCS) application to expand its enrollment by 76 students. With Princeton Public Schools (PPS) and their supporters opposing the expansion publicly, in the press, in the courts, locally and in Trenton, and the PCS strongly defending its proposal, Ms. Harrington has plenty of opportunity for input from both sides on her decision, which she is expected to render within the next two months. more

The Princeton Public Schools Board of Education last week swore in three new members and appointed a new president and vice president. Debbie Bronfeld, William Hare, and Gregory Stankiewicz, newly elected last November, joined the Board for three-year terms; Patrick Sullivan stepped up to the office of president; and Dafna Kendal assumed the position of vice president.

Priorities on the agenda for the year ahead include opposing the Charter School’s proposed expansion; pursuing the most effective, financially responsible ways to relieve overcrowding; and implementing the Strategic Plan to close the achievement gap and improve education for all. more

Institute for Advanced Study

Throughout the fall the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) continued to assert its right to proceed with its faculty housing project adjacent to the Princeton Battlefield. Despite ongoing objections from the Princeton Battlefield Society (PBS) and others, site preparation moved forward and construction seemed imminent.  more

January 4, 2017

Seven hundred and seventy students from a pool of 5003 candidates who applied through single-choice early action have been offered admission to next year’s freshman class at Princeton University. The number of early applicants is the largest in the past six years, up 18.3 percent from last year. more

Photo by Mitsu Yasukawa

As it pursues its mission to support playwrights, new plays, and the future of the American theater, McCarter Theatre Center’s LAB program will be putting to work a $35,000 grant, announced last month, from the National Endowment for the Arts.

“The future of the American theater rests with the American playwright,” McCarter artistic director and resident playwright Emily Mann stated. “We take it as a core mission of this theater to develop and support new works and the playwrights who create them.”

LAB offers readings, workshops, a 10-day artists’ retreat in the spring, commissions and the annual LAB Spotlight Production. It also provides McCarter audiences with a window into the creative process. New works developed in the McCarter LAB have included pieces by Christopher Durang (Vanya and Sonya and Masha and Spike), Danai Gurira (Eclipsed), Nilo Cruz (Anna in the Tropics), Regina Taylor (Crowns), Tarrell Alvin McCraney (The Brother/Sister Plays) and more.

Noura, a new play by Iraqi-American playwright and performer Heather Raffo (9 Parts of Desire), will be featured at the end of this month as a LAB Spotlight Production. Created after years of work in Arab American communities in New York City, where Ms. Raffo discussed A Doll’s House with Middle Eastern women, Noura is “a timely re-imagining” of Ibsen’s play “through the lens of an Iraqi refugee family” and “a passionate exploration of contemporary feminism that reflects the dilemma facing modern America: do we live for each other or for ourselves?” more

December 28, 2016

AS IT HAPPENS: This is how the site of Princeton University’s Arts & Transit complex looked last January. Much progress has been made on the buildings designed by architect Steven Holl, and the project is still scheduled to be completed in 2017. (Photo by Emily Reeves)

The rapid pace of teardowns and the often out-of-scale houses that replace them was an issue that dominated discussions in Princeton throughout 2016. The town’s changing character was the theme in the platforms of nearly every candidate who ran for local office in 2016. Midway through the year, moved to take action by the presence of bulldozers all over town, Princeton Council formed a Neighborhood Character and Zoning Initiative. more

December 21, 2016

Calling on police departments to “embrace reform,” Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole emphasized how her priorities had changed completely in her 35 years in law enforcement. “Everybody wants to talk about guns and drugs, and, yes, we need to talk about crime and crime rates, but my most complicated issue right now is first of all equity and social justice in our policing, in our community. And also it’s the intersection of public safety and public health.”  more

ALWAYS MOVING FORWARD: Derrick Wilder, a natural-born performer and teacher, spent many years dancing professionally before taking over the Lawrenceville School dance department, which has flourished under his leadership over the past 11 years.

Derrick Wilder, who came to Lawrenceville School in 2005 as director of dance, became chair of the performing arts department (including dance, theater, and instrumental and vocal music) two years ago. Under his leadership, the dance program has flourished and grown rapidly over the past 11 years, with a range of ballet, modern, and jazz classes for students of all levels, a host of student-led dance companies, and an abundance of performance opportunities, most notably the fall musical and the annual Spring Dance Concert. Before coming to Lawrenceville, Mr. Wilder enjoyed a successful career as a dancer, choreographer, administrator and dance educator.  more

REMEMBERING THE BATTLE: Re-enactors dressed as American soldiers celebrated the Battle of Princeton last January.  Beginning on the night of January 2, 2017, a week of living history events, sponsored by the Princeton Battlefield Society, the Princeton Historical Society, Morven Museum, and others will commemorate the 240th anniversary of the historic battle and related events. (Photo by Meredith Barnes of Molly Picture Studio)

At this point in 1776, still in the early days of America’s war for independence, American troops were installed in winter quarters at Valley Forge, but General Washington was already planning his Christmas night crossing of the Delaware and attack on British headquarters in Trenton that would lead to the pivotal Battle of Princeton on January 3, 1777. more

December 14, 2016

Princeton Charter School’s (PCS) December 1 proposal to add 76 students next year has reignited a battle with Princeton Public Schools (PPS) over limited available resources, but it’s not a simple conflict.

Each side has expressed sincere respect for the other side, along with a strong sense of shared concerns and goals and a desire to work positively together. As both sides have pointed out, however, the state’s school funding formula may inevitably pit the two entities against each other.  more

Institute for Advanced Study

A 21st-century battle of Princeton, which has raged on at least since 2003 when the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) first announced its plans to build faculty housing on land adjacent to the Princeton Battlefield State Park, seems to be finally drawing to a close, with Monday’s announcement of an agreement between the IAS and the Civil War Trust (CWT), through its Campaign 1776 initiative to protect Revolutionary War battlefields.  more

Local Democrats are ready for action, as they face a daunting array of important issues.

About 150 residents of Princeton and surrounding communities gathered at the Suzanne Patterson Center behind Monument Hall on Stockton Street Sunday evening to voice their concerns and to help the Princeton Community Democratic Organization (PCDO) plan strategies for political action. more

December 7, 2016

Princeton Charter School has applied to the New Jersey Department of Education (DOE) to expand its enrollment by 76 students next year, a proposal that Princeton Public Schools (PPS) superintendent Steve Cochrane has claimed would drain funds from PPS and ”compromise the quality of our students’ education.” more

The successful Dual Language Immersion Program at Community Park School will be an ongoing initiative in the district, after last month’s unanimous affirmation by the Princeton Public Schools Board of Education.

Started as a pilot initiative at the beginning of the 2015-16 year for sections in kindergarten and first grade, the program expanded to second grade, with 43 kindergarteners, 41 first graders, and 38 second graders. It is scheduled to include K-3 in 2017-18, K-4 in 2018-19, and K-5 with full implementation in 2019-20. more

EGYPTIAN EXPLORATIONS: Justin Mathews and Connie Escher team up to investigate the pharaohs of ancient Egypt and many other wonders of the ancient world with their sixth grade social studies students at John Witherspoon Middle School. (Photo by Donald Gilpin)

Tim Charleston, K-8 social studies supervisor for the Princeton Public Schools, described Connie Escher and Justin Mathews, sixth grade ancient world cultures teachers: “As a team they complement each other phenomenally. They both have significant individual strengths. They’re at the top of their game professionally. They take pride and pleasure in providing learning experiences for their students. They approach social studies in a hands-on way, and they care deeply about their students and about history.” more

November 30, 2016

Speculation about the impact of a Trump presidency on international politics continues with seven weeks to go before the president-elect actually takes office. A panel of Princeton University historians, political scientists, anthropologists, and sociologists gathered in Aaron Burr Hall Monday under the auspices of Princeton’s Institute for International and Regional Studies (PIIRS) to discuss how the rest of the world views Mr. Trump and what might be the consequences of a Trump presidency in various parts of the world.  more

quaker-roots

QUAKER ROOTS: Built in 1781, the Princeton schoolmaster’s house, one of only two surviving Quaker schoolmaster houses in New Jersey and the only one still in use by a school, will be renovated over the next year to serve as a welcoming “front door” to Princeton Friends School and the Princeton Quaker Meeting property. (Photo Courtesy of Princeton Friends School)

During the coming year, the 1781 Schoolmaster’s House and the adjacent 19th-century barn will be renovated to serve as a welcoming “front door” to Princeton Friends School (PFS) and the historic Quaker Meeting property on Quaker Road. Erected as a residence and classroom building, the House is today one of only two surviving Quaker schoolmaster houses in New Jersey and the only one still in use by a school.  more

sustainable-princeton

Sustainable Princeton (SP), a nonprofit organization whose mission is to protect the environment and make Princeton a more sustainable place, has chosen Molly Jones as its next executive director. Ms. Jones, who brings to the job experience from volunteer and professional roles at a number of local non-profit groups, understands the organization’s accomplishments in the realms of energy conservation and waste reduction and the challenges to further engage the community in changing habits to change the world.  more

November 23, 2016

Two separate fires on Sunday caused extensive damage to three shops on Witherspoon and Spring Streets and an office building at 601 Ewing Street. There were no injuries reported, according to Princeton Police Lieutenant Chris Morgan.

Fire departments from Princeton and eight surrounding communities responded to a two-alarm fire at 12:57 p.m. on Sunday at the Village Silver Shop, More Cafe, and Sakura Express in downtown Princeton. Witherspoon Street was closed for about two hours.  more

In response to the recent election and its aftermath, with fear and uncertainties that prompted a demonstration by hundreds of University community members last Thursday, Princeton faculty members and key administrators have issued separate statements of support for students’ rights and diversity, and against racism and discrimination.  more

The three Princeton professors conducting Monday’s panel discussion before a packed house at the Woodrow Wilson School’s Dodds Auditorium found themselves facing a different, far more difficult challenge than the one they had originally prepared for. The future under Donald Trump’s administration is full of uncertainty and extremes of possibilities, they agreed, and each ventured their “best guesses” as to what might happen. more

November 16, 2016

The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat struck simultaneously for local Democrats last week. Eighty-three percent of Princeton votes went to Hillary Clinton, Liz Lempert won more than 70 percent of the ballots in the mayoral race, and two Democratic candidates were unopposed in their bid for town council seats. But the surprising Trump victory in the national election seemed to set the mood at Democratic Party Headquarters at 138 Nassau Street. more