Espe: Start of the school year filled with excitement, expectations

Julia Espe

Every new school year begins with great hopes and expectations for our students. As 3,300 students and 455 teachers and staff enter Princeton Public Schools on September 5, we want to take you on a journey through the past year.
You may be aware of some of what we accomplished last year. Consider that we: once again made gains in our reading, math, science and ACT scores. We started our 1:1 technology plan to give a device to a third of our students. We added first grade to our preschool and K levels of Spanish Immersion. We added more college credit bearing classes to our high school curriculum. Our schools won state awards in PBIS, showing our Tiger Pride. Our district was awarded $326,695 in grants during the last school year. But these accomplishments don’t paint a real picture of what we do every day.
We are equipping our students with the tools and skills they need for future success, starting the day they enter school. This includes a rich curriculum that includes and goes beyond basic academics; updated technologies and training to help students navigate complex online information; and helping students apply their classroom lessons to the real world. You might not be aware that our students are participating in VEX Robotics in grades 3 through 12, using math and science skills to build robots; produced their own healthy food in the school garden at the Middle School; and conducted exciting research using primary source documents that they access on the internet.
Princeton Public Schools offers students and families an array of specialized programs and opportunities to ensure that all students’ needs are met and that they are prepared for their future. These opportunities include the expansion of opportunities for advanced learners, group and individual tutoring for students who need those supports, and advisory curriculum which helps students to navigate career exploration.
We have worked hard to build a safe, supportive, and welcoming education community where all students are treated fairly and with respect. Our dedicated teachers, principals, school counselors and other school staff are committed to providing the best education possible for our students. Many of our teachers and other staff have taken classes and other professional development opportunities over the summer to help hone their skills and keep them up-to-date on how to teach our students what they need to know to be ready for the future.
We welcome our families and community members to get engaged and see the great things that are happening at our schools. Our new district website will be rolling out at the end of the month, and one of the features will be the opportunity for you to contact our schools to volunteer. In addition, please follow our district through our Facebook account at Princeton Public Schools ISD477 and Twitter account at @isd477.
We can’t wait to open our school and classroom doors and lead all our students to success in the 2017-18 school year.

Dr. Julia Espe is the superintendent of the Princeton School District.