Equity in Education

Imagine a world without racism. A world in which all people move freely and without fear. A world in which levels of education and information are accessible to all. A world in which the ideas, contributions, and culture of each individual are celebrated.  

The mission of Princeton Public Schools is to prepare all children to lead lives of joy and purpose as knowledgeable, creative, and compassionate citizens of a global society. 

As a district, we want every child, regardless of race, religion, country of origin, economic status, sexual identity, gender, gender identity, or learning differences, to fully reach their potential. We want to be a school district where systemic bias or racism quite simply cannot be found. We know this is immense in scope, and know we have a lot of work ahead of us, but we are committed to this work. 

Equity Principles

Educational Equity is about individuals, relationships and systems. A school that is educationally equitable is one in which we accept and value all individuals for who they are, and provide the structures, relationships, and resources they need to achieve their greatest potential.  It is a school committed to educating globally skilled and engaged citizens who will contribute to the creation of a more just world. In achieving equity in the Princeton Public Schools, we are guided by the following principles. 

  1. We are color brave* – not color blind.

  2. We provide access to academic and extra-curricular opportunities to all – without barriers and with support.

  3. We are committed to building a diverse staff reflective of our student body.

  4. We are committed to building and broadening the cultural responsiveness of our staff, students and families, specifically, our ability to learn from and relate respectfully with people from all cultures and backgrounds.

  5. We are committed to building, supporting, and regularly revising a high quality, diverse curriculum that is representative of the world and of the multiple narratives of the human experience.

  6. We are committed to communication with families that is
    • Open
    • Responsive
    • Two-way
    • Inviting
    • Sensitive
    • Inclusive
       
  7. We are committed to examining our data
    • Objectively
    • Courageously
    • Diversely
    • Regularly
       
  8. We are committed to upholding a Code of Conduct that is reflective of cultural differences and encompasses universal expectations of care, kindness, and restorative justice.

  9. We are committed to getting to know our students as individuals and as learners and to being responsive to them in our teaching.

  10. We are committed to practices that cultivate empathy and to the creation of a community in which everyone feels they belong.


*Mellody Hobson is the person first credited with using the phrase color brave.  She believes we need to openly acknowledge that the color of someone’s skin shapes their experiences in the world, and that we can only overcome systemic biases and cultural injustices when we talk honestly about race. “It’s time for us to be comfortable with the uncomfortable conversation about race. If we truly believe in equal rights and equal opportunity in America, we need to have real conversations about this issue. We can’t be color blind, we have to be color brave."

Racial Literacy and Cultural Responsiveness

Princeton Public Schools is working on increasing racial literacy and cultural responsiveness among both our staff and our students. Racial literacy can be defined in terms of understanding the experiences and perspectives of those whose cultures and colors might be different than our own. Racial literacy can be defined in terms of our awareness of our own biases. And racial literacy can be defined in terms of our willingness and ability to honestly acknowledge racial issues as they arise and work to address them. As a district, we are striving to do all of those things.

Investing in a Diverse Staff

The Princeton Public School District is proud to be a diverse district, with students from many different backgrounds and cultures attending our schools. We know how important it is for students to see educators who look like them in positions of leadership in their classrooms and schools. We also know that the more diversity we have among our educators, the better our schools will be for all students. Our goal is to attract, develop, inspire, and retain a diverse workforce within a supportive environment, and to foster pride in our vision, mission, and values among all employees.

Current Initiatives

Professional Development for Staff

  • All new teachers participate in SEED training (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity)
  • Beginning in 2017, non-faculty staff have the option to participate in SEED trainings 
  • Trainings during professional development days.
  • Administrators have participated in trainings with Dr. Eddie Fergus, Marceline DuBose, and Dr. Tara Doaty. 

Revision of Curriculum

  • The 3rd grade history curriculum was revised for the 2017-2018 school year to move away from a strict focus on colonial times to include more contemporary issues, such as school segregation in Princeton.
  • The US 1 Curriculum at PHS was revised for the 2017-2018 school year to begin with a unit on race, a theme that will be carried forward throughout the rest of the class. 
  • New tools….Perspectives from TeachingTolerance.org, which provides texts that help teachers to make connections to issues of social justice, will be integrated into curriculum during the 2017-2018 school year.
  • In May 2016, all elementary teachers reviewed the Classroom Index and began planning strategies for using the textbook regularly in classroom instruction.
  • Teachers are working to diversify K-8 classroom libraries so that the literature available to students is more representative of diverse cultural experiences and backgrounds.
  • Two new classes are now offered: Racial Literacy and Justice and The Harmony Project.

COLLABORATIONS

  • PHS students participate in the annual Mercer County Days of Dialogue events that focus on racial literacy 
  • The Princeton Public School District is working with other Mercer Country school districts to create a Mercer County Equity Institute to support equity work throughout the region.

Resources

Teaching Tolerance
Classroom Index
Harvard University's Project Implicit
Tufts: Know How Your Own Background Influences Your Teaching
How the Concept of Implicit Bias Came into Being