May 1, 2019

School Matters, May 1

JWMS Students Walk and Bike to School

John Witherspoon Middle School (JWMS) students met the Earth Day challenge on April 23 as 189 students walked to school while 104 rode their bikes, close to 40 percent of the student body coming to school on their own power rather than by car or bus.

Fifteen extra bike racks had been purchased and installed through the foresighted efforts of the JWMS PTO.

The Safe Routes to School team of the Greater Mercer Transportation Management Association, along with Princeton Bicycle Advisory Committee Chair Lisa Serieyssol, will be visiting the middle and elementary schools and giving bike and pedestrian safety talks in the coming weeks.

May is National Bike Month, with Bike to Work Week May 13-19. The Riverside School already celebrated its Bike to School Day. Community Park School will be celebrating on May 10, Littlebrook on May 15, and Johnson Park on May 20.

Racial Bias Forum at PHS Responds to Stereotypes in Spring Musical

In response to controversy over offensive cultural stereotypes and racially biased material in the Princeton High School spring musical production of Anything Goes, a forum for students will take place on Wednesday, May 1 in the PHS auditorium.

The musical, according to Princeton Public Schools Supervisor of Visual and Performing Arts Patrick Lenihan, “included scenes that perpetuated an antiquated and damaging stereotype of Asian culture and particularly Asian women. Members of our community were understandably hurt or offended by these scenes or, perhaps, had their own implicit biases reinforced. For this, we are sorry.”

The forum will be moderated by Lenora Keel, a member of the district’s equity team, and a guest expert, Phil Chan, will share best practices on performing culturally-sensitive repertoire.

“The student forum is part of our ongoing journey as a district towards greater equity and racial literacy,” Lenihan noted. “Our hope is that through honest, open dialogue — particularly during times when people have been hurt — we can move forward together in creating schools that are truly welcoming and bias-free for all students, staff, and families.

Pennington School Students Tie for First in Computer Science Contest

A team of ten Pennington School students tied for first place in the American Computer Science League (ACSL) Computer Science Contest, becoming the co-champions in their division, which includes 75 teams from the United States, Europe, and Asia. 

Finishing with the best point total since Pennington School started competing five years ago, the team will move on to the All-Star Contest on Saturday, May 25 at Wayne Hills High School in Wayne, New Jersey.

The team members — seniors Zheng Bao, Xiangjun Dai, Ye Teng, Qinyuan Wu, Byeong Woo Yoon, and Yushan Zhang; juniors Deep Patel, Huiyu Yang, and Yiren Zhou; and sophomore Alexander Huang — had to answer questions on advanced computer science topics as well as code challenging problems for four contests during the school year.

Student Filmmakers Featured at May 5 Festival

A morning at the movies celebrating student filmmaking in Princeton Public Schools (PPS) will take place Sunday, May 5 at the Walnut Lane Film Festival.

Sponsored by the Princeton Education Foundation and the PPS, the Festival, starting at 10 a.m. at the Princeton Garden Theatre, will spotlight John Witherspoon Middle School and Princeton High School students’ short films. For more information, visit