Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 51
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
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PHS Ranked Among Top 100 High Schools

Ellen Gilbert

At last week’s Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Judy Wilson announced that Princeton High School (PHS) was ranked 94th in the nation in a recent U.S. News & World Report article. PHS was the highest ranked open-admissions public high school in New Jersey and the only open-admissions public high school in the state to make it into the top 100, she reported, congratulating Principal Gary Snyder, the PHS faculty and professional staff, the PHS administrative staff, the PHS support staff, and PHS students and parents on achieving this recognition.

“It is the second time in three years that PHS has been ranked in the top 100 schools,” said Ms. Wilson. She noted that among the criteria used in ranking schools, the “one piece we’re very proud of” was the measure of a school’s “credibility” — the “assurance that a school was serving all of its students well.” Rather than simply analyzing average test scores or predictability of success by wealth or zip code, she explained, the rating looked to see how all students were performing in the context of all New Jersey schools. New Jersey is itself a high-ranking state, she noted. Other “multi-dimensional criteria” included college readiness as reflected by last year’s AP (advanced placement) scores. “We’re really, really proud of this accomplishment,” she said.

Ms. Wilson also reported that the district is “closely following” the work of Governor-elect Christie to see what issues are on the table as his administration looks toward education. “We do expect a deep and sweeping agenda,” she observed. “We know that with a $10 million deficit in the state, some of those issues will be fiscal.” The governor-elect is expected to make his budget address in mid-March. Echoing Ms. Wilson, chair Dorothy Bedford reported that the finance committee is “in a state of alert regarding the intentions of the new governor.”

In other actions Tuesday evening, a representative of the district’s school cafeteria workers presented Ms. Wilson with a petition signed by 200 coworkers supporting on-going negotiations with Chartwells Food Services.

“We believe school cafeteria workers should earn a wage that allows them to support their families and they should have access to other benefits such as affordable health insurance,” said the “Pledge in Support of Princeton School Cafeteria Workers,” which calls “on the Princeton Board of Education to join us as we urge Chartwells to settle a fair contract now.”

“Earning as little as $8 an hour without having a raise in years, the school cafeteria workers are trying to negotiate a contract with Chartwell’s that would help their families make ends meet,” wrote Service Employees International Union Local 32 BJ Assistant Communications Director Lynsey Kryzwick in an email describing the petition. “Little progress has been made since the negotiations began in June.”

Facilities Committee Chair Mia Cahill described the installation of new windows in the portion of the Valley Road building used by the district, and noted that they are “moving forward on the reconfiguration and reorganization” of existing space in the Valley Road side of the building. The committee “encourages proposals from the municipalities and Corner House as to what might occur in that space, with a timetable and sources of funding,” she said. 

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