Princeton School Board Revises Calendar, Addresses DLI Program Concerns

In a recent Princeton School Board meeting, the board addressed several issues, including the revision of the 2023-2024 school calendar, concerns regarding the Dual Language Immersion (DLI) program at Community Park Elementary School, and the celebration of student achievements. The meeting also saw discussions on the Multicultural Student Achievement Network, Black History Month initiatives, and student-led efforts to support their peers academically.

A significant portion of the meeting was devoted to the revised school calendar for the 2023-2024 year. The board decided to hold school on June 4th, which coincides with a primary election day, after considering the low number of citizens who typically vote in person and the ability to provide additional security and building monitors on that day. The decision came amid discussions with the mayor about potentially relocating voting out of schools for safety reasons. Additionally, the board clarified that remote learning would not be an option for snow days unless there was a three-day consecutive closure, which sparked a conversation about the future impact of snow days on the school calendar.

The Dual Language Immersion (DLI) program at Community Park Elementary School also took center stage. The board considered capping enrollment at two sections per grade level to alleviate the burden on teachers caused by odd triads in some grades. The potential expansion of the DLI program led to deliberations on the impact on class sizes and school capacity. A lottery system, prioritizing current DLI students, siblings, and students zoned for Community Park, was proposed to manage the high demand for the program. This system, intended for the incoming kindergarten class of 2024-25, drew attention to the transparency of the process and potential impact on non-zoned students. The board discussed reserving spots for late registrants who are Spanish Heritage speakers, with the lottery set for May 1st.

During the meeting, the board also celebrated the winners of the Scripps Elementary National Spelling Bee, acknowledging their achievements and advancement to the next competition round. The Multicultural Student Achievement Network (MSAN) was discussed, and students shared their experiences from the 2023 National Student Conference, highlighting the theme “You Belong.” The importance of making multicultural students feel seen and heard in a predominantly white high school was emphasized, alongside the presentation of their “Tiger Talk” project.

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Black History Month initiatives at Princeton High School were addressed, with interviews conducted with students and staff to understand their knowledge and perspectives on black history and culture. The significance of promoting diversity and representation within the school community was underscored through the students’ responses and the school’s initiatives.

In other matters, the meeting featured a report on the Tiger Talk program at Princeton High School, which focuses on creating a sense of belonging and inclusivity. Peer tutoring and support for math students were presented by the PHS math club, and the establishment of the Shirley Satterfield Scholarship Fund by the Princeton Parents for Black Children was announced. They also inquired about funding for the MSAN trip in the next year’s budget.

The Operations Committee provided updates on the 2022 and 2023 referenda projects, including roofing projects, HVAC bids, and bus purchases. The committee also discussed sustainability efforts and playground planning. Reports from the Personnel Committee included job descriptions and recruitment efforts, such as a job fair for aides and the review of resumes for an HR position. The Policy Committee discussed the student discipline code of conduct, mandatory school threat assessment teams, and attendance requirements. The Student Achievement Committee reviewed intervention programs, middle school math support, field trips, and school recess guidance.

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The public comment section allowed for community engagement, with a student highlighting a teacher’s dedication, and another parent concerned about the absence of math teachers. A community member expressed interest in becoming a substitute teacher and shared positive feedback about the school system.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.

Superintendent:
Carol Kelley
School Board Officials:
Dafna Kendal, Michele Tuck-Ponder, Beth Behrend, Betsy Baglio, Brian McDonald, Mara Franceschi, Debbie Bronfeld, Jean Durbin, Susan Kanter, Robert Christopher, Andre Penn (Student Representative), Rohun Chivate (Student Representative)

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