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Opinion: Behrend, Tuck-Ponder have a record of working toward equity

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This year, the school board will face essential decisions for the future direction of our schools – most importantly, the selection of our next superintendent. We are writing to support the re-election of board President Beth Behrend and Vice President Michele Tuck-Ponder. Both have a proven record of working collaboratively with community partners to support our students, promoting equity while responsibly managing the finances of the district.

The board, under Beth and Michele’s leadership, has gone beyond rhetoric to implement programs that address equity. It has been proven that early intervention makes a difference in educational outcomes. Through a partnership with the YWCA and grants from both the Burke Foundation and the state, free pre-K was expanded by 75 additional students with dual Spanish/English instruction.

Remote learning was a challenge to many of our students who did not have home computers. Through the, 1:1 Technology Initiative, funds were strategically redeployed from the existing district technology budget to ensure that all students have equal access to school programming in the pandemic. An anonymous grant of $250,000 funded the necessary broadband and hotspots necessary to deliver instruction.

Through a successful partnership with SHUPP (Send Hunger Packing Princeton) and Princeton University, the Princeton Public School’s food service and transportation staff were able to provide three meals a day and fresh staples to 500 students and their families. Food boxes were delivered by staffed school buses, each week since the beginning of remote learning in March. This program continued throughout the summer as well as school year.

School boards are non-partisan overseers of the district. The past few months have brought never before seen challenges to our board. Beth and Michele have been able to lead with an approach of community collaboration and fiscal responsibility with an ever-present eye on the well-being of all of our students.

Molly Chrein
Martha Land
Julie Ramirez
Ross Wishnick

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