The American Rescue Plan (ARP), a key piece of legislation passed this past year by Congress, provided districts across the nation with much-needed funding in the recovery effort from the pandemic.
Princeton Public Schools (PPS) was highlighted March 29 for their innovative use of American Rescue Plan investments to support a wide variety of programs and resources designed to bring back student to school, address mental health and learning needs and plan for the future of student centered instruction, according to information provided by the school district.
Deputy Secretary Cindy Marten and her team witnessed PPS programs firsthand to speak to teachers and administrators about how the district used the ARP funds, according to the statement.
Marten was joined by Jordan Schiff, assistant commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Education.
As part of the visit, Marten observed several areas supported by the ARP, including the science class at Princeton High School (PHS) taught by James Smirk with an emphasis on problem-based learning. She visited the PHS studio band and discussed the challenges and successes of arts continuation during a pandemic. She also visited the PHS counseling suite to learn about the partnership with Corner House, designed to address student mental health concerns.
At Johnson Park, Marten visited two early childhood classrooms where funds from the ARP support high-quality transitions for young students as well as a co-teaching classroom where ARP funds support professional development in this innovative pedagogy. Co-teaching involves pairing general education and special education teachers to create an inclusive environment for all students.
“It was a pleasure to welcome both Cindy Marten and Jordan Schiff to our district,” Dr. Carol Kelley, superintendent of schools, said in the statement. “We are very proud of what our staff has accomplished. In addition, I would like to thank Valerie Ulrich, PPS supervisor of Preschool and Special Projects, for her leadership in leveraging this funding to support our equity and inclusion efforts.”