"Intelligence plus character – that is the true goal of education.”
Martin Luther King Jr.
Just as our motto “Inspire, Challenge, Support, and Achieve” reminds us that we work together to nurture a community of learners by setting goals, staying self-motivated and inspiring others to excel, our core character values of “respect”, “responsibility” and “community” remind us that we consciously cultivate a vibrant school culture by encouraging each member to reflect and act in ways that promote positive daily interaction with others.
The care in building school community begins when our students first arrive, and they are warmly greeted by faculty before the start of school day, and continues at the close of school day, when children from our K-4 and 5-8 buildings share their common playground, supervised under the watchful eyes of our faculty. At our biweekly all school morning meeting, older students sit with their younger buddies, “Awesome Actions” are acknowledged, achievements recognized, and a word of the week is shared between staff and students. Students strengthen existing friendships and create new ones through their participation in afterschool clubs and sports. No less important is Musical night, where we cherish our tradition of inviting PCS alumni to join together with current students to sing our school song “On this Night.”
The 72 original Princeton Charter School students wrote our original Code of Conduct in 1998. The students were in grades 4, 5, and 6. When one-fourth grade boy suggested, “Be nice to students younger than you are,” the sixth graders reminded him that his class was the youngest. Without skipping a beat, he replied, “But we won’t always be.” We pay tribute to those first students, who set an example for others to follow, and preserve this spirit during Field Day. Through multi-grade black and red teams led by our intrepid teachers, and field stations managed by tireless parents, the children learn that the Hawk spirit is not about a personal victory, but about being respectful of differences.
In our classrooms, students learn that respect is about understanding the rules. As one of our teachers said to a student “If you speak out of turn, you take away from the others an opportunity to learn.”
The lesson to our students is evident –- with effort comes esteem. That is why the value of learning and work is held in high regard. But our students also know it takes little steps, little gestures we do for each other that help us all move forward with confidence. It is why 6th grade helps the kindergarten and first grade pack up at the end of the day, why 7th grade reads with 2nd grade, and why 8th grade helps to ease the transition of 5th grade to the middle school building. It is why our students help those who are less fortunate by trick or treating for UNICEF, collect food to assemble holiday baskets, and participate in the St. Jude Math-a-thon.
At Princeton Charter School, the spirit of volunteerism brings together our parents, teachers and students. From our founding parents who were the architects of our educational mission, to our current parents who serve lunches every day in our cafeteria, from our teachers who step up to give extra help to those who need it, to our students who learn they can make a difference, we strive to set an example, every PCS day.