Elected Board Members:On November 8, Princeton elected three new members to the school board: Debbie Bronfeld, William D. Hare, and Gregory M. Stanciewicz. They will work with the other members of the Board of Education to set a policy and the budget for Princeton Public Schools going forward.
Bronfeld ran on the idea of fixing the opportunity gap for students in Princeton Public schools. This includes better access to proper materials and school supplies for underprivileged students. Additionally, she will focus on teachers’ contracts, which are due to expire in 2018, in order to avoid another conflict. She hopes to achieve this by negotiating early on and prioritizing communication throughout the process. An issue of importance to her is finding a solution to the overcrowding in the Princeton school system.
“The first big thing is capacity. The population has grown … and we need to make sure that students can have the classrooms they need,” Bronfeld said in a phone call.
Stanciewicz hopes to help foster an inclusive and holistic educational environment in Princeton Public Schools while serving on the school board. He believes that members should be available to the public for input and even to the student body. He looks forward to coordinating with the PHS Student Liaisons and the Board of Education in the near future.
“I’m especially looking forward to working closely with Abigail [Emison ’17] and Brian [Li ’17] on issues of importance to the [PHS student body],” Stanciewicz wrote in an email.
Another School Board Member-elect, Bill Hare, says he will focus on two main priorities as a member of the School board: finances and facilities. Both pertain to the growth of the schools and how to deal with new developments that will increase the schools’ populations. He will explore solutions to these problems on the board, which may include new facilities down the road. He is also concerned with the culture at PHS, specifically relating to the college process. The workload of PHS students and the rigor of AP classes is an area of concern to Hare, who would like to explore whether or not the amount of AP classes at PHS is a necessity.
“It would be nice if I could help change the culture, maybe through reducing the number of APs, or somehow reducing the stress and the pressure so people are glad they went [to PHS],” said Hare over the phone.
The school board members will strive to create a positive learning environment across Princeton Public Schools. Bronfeld hopes that the district can promote learning environments in which all are comfortable and succeed, particularly in PHS.
“PHS can be so worried about APs, caught up in the college process,” Bronfeld said. “Students should take classes they enjoy, things that interest them, be involved with their extracurriculars … school should be fun.”
Big Band Dance:As students prepare for Winter Break, students in Nassau One and Two, Jazz Ensemble, and Studio Band are busy preparing for the Big Band Dance, which will take place on Friday, December 16 in the school cafeteria. The goal is to raise money for the band program to afford trips to perform in competition as well as other logistical costs, such as supplying students with instruments. It’s also the first performance of the year where parents of the band students get to see their child’s progress as a musician.
Its main focus, however, is making sure people enjoy their Friday night by listening to jazz music, dancing, and having fun. Students are excited to play in the Big Band dance, and are looking forward to its laid-back atmosphere and having fun with the music.
“I’d say performing at the dances is pretty enjoyable because the audience is mostly from the generation that grew up listening to jazz. So the fact that many of those people come to watch and dance is comforting in a way. I, as well as many of the band students, are very passionate about music, and performing in these band dances allows us to have fun while being surrounded by people who all love the same thing as you do,” said Selia Gupta ’18, a flutist in Jazz Ensemble.
“What I like about running the band program is that we can do incredible, high level, college, professional music in high school, which allows us to travel internationally,” said Joseph Bongiovi, a co-director of the PHS band program.
This year’s Big Band Dance is unique in that alumni are coming back and watching. Some will even play with the band. Since it’s around the holiday time, the bands will be playing Christmas classics such as “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” “White Christmas,” and “Here Comes Santa Claus.” In addition, they’ll play other popular songs like “Sunday Morning,” “Skyfall,” “Feeling Good,” “Summertime,” and “I Want You Back.” Bongiovi finds that the dance exposes them to all sorts of styles of music.
“It’s a great opportunity to connect with other people through jazz…and eat!” said Studio Band manager Caren Ju ’18.
The Studio Band managers, Ju and Isabel Figueroa ’19 are equally excited for both the dance and the stress-free environment. Band members encourage everyone to come.
“It is really great to see people you know go up to play or to see them in audience listening. Everybody practices so hard and not having anyone around to hear what it all sounds like makes it lose most of its meaning. Besides, there can be so much energy in the room at one time from the band that you won’t be able to help but want to listen or even dance a little bit!” Michael Andronov ’18, a trumpeter in Jazz Ensemble.