Principal's Message

WELCOME FROM THE PRINCIPAL

The process of choosing a school for your child is a challenging and difficult one. As you embark on this process of discernment I hope you will consider St. Paul Catholic School of Princeton. With a rich history dating back to 1880 when the Sisters of Mercy founded our school, we are Princeton’s first and only co-educational Catholic elementary school. Our mission is to provide sound spiritual, educational, moral, ethical, and social teachings. Our research based PreK3 - 8 school model provides a nurturing learning community. St. Paul School is a Catholic school that is committed to teaching the message of Jesus and the truths of the Catholic faith, while providing the highest level of a challenging academic program.

We provide a rigorous curriculum in state of the art facilities right in the heart of Princeton. Our dedicated, experienced faculty model lifelong learning through ongoing professional development. Graduates of St. Paul School attend top private and public high schools. Class sizes are small and provide for individual attention and active learning experiences. The ultimate goal is to enable students to become independent learners and thinkers who can apply what they have learned in real-life situations. We emphasize going beyond the school walls with an extensive field trip and assembly program to bring quality curricular and extra-curricular activities to our students.

Why Choose St. Paul’s School of Princeton?

• The only Catholic school in Princeton, with a successful co-ed, pre-k through 8 model. Princeton and its vibrant university are valued parts of our campus life.

• A 2012 Blue Ribbon School of Excellence, a U.S. Department of Education designation that recognizes overall academic excellence

• Proud of its established STEM program through Project Lead The Way

• Blessed with faculty and teachers who are caring, fully certified, professional educators

• Focus on the whole child, from academics to spiritual to character, and more

• A strong, affordable choice when compared to the areas’ many private schools

For over 135 years St. Paul School has been setting a standard for education in the Princeton area. We are proud to provide an outstanding educational opportunities for our students in a nurturing, faith embedded community and we look forward to the opportunity to share it with your family.

Sincerely,
Ryan Killeen, Ed.D.
Principal

rkilleen@spsprinceton.org

Follow Dr. Killeen on Twitter


Read to Feed

A few weeks back, I shared with you all our launch of our Read to Feed program with Heifer International. All of our students were challenged to read and have their reading sponsored to raise funds in support of the programs of Heifer International.

A few weeks back, I shared with you all our launch of our Read to Feed program with Heifer International. All of our students were challenged to read and have their reading sponsored to raise funds in support of the programs of Heifer International.

To quote iconic 80’s television show the A-team, “I love it when a plan comes together” To say we were overwhelmed by the response to the program would be an understatement. The enthusiasm our students and families have shown has been phenomenal. With the last few responses coming in we have raised approximately $5,000 which will be matched dollar for dollar through the Heifer matching program. Thank you to Mrs. Graja and Ms. Dwyer for spearheading this initiative.

The synergy of this program, supporting positive literacy, along with social justice is what makes it so unique. Students are excited and eager to read and we see that excitement continuing. The impact these resources will make in the lives of families around the globe is hard for us to even comprehend. A critical component of the program is the education of students on the realities of poverty and food insecurity globally.

An element that I must admit we did not fully appreciate was the empowerment our students would feel through participation. I was struck recently when discussing the program with one of our third grade students. He was so excited by the program and so proud of his participation. To paraphrase his words, “I’m a kid, I don’t usually get to change people’s lives” But changing lives is exactly what our kids have done and there is a lesson in these words for us all. We all confront opportunities every day, big and small that allow us to be a force for positive change. I am so heartened to see our children embrace to opportunity to lead and live lives of faith-filled service.

Thank you all for your support of all we do here at SPS but in particular this year’s inaugural Read to Feed program.

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Teacher Appreciation

It is a challenge for us all to keep up with hectic pace of life in school these days. We have been very busy. Today we celebrated our beautiful May Crowning Liturgy, a timeless traditions that links our 136 years as we honor Mary, our Mother. Next week I hope to see you all as we celebrate the arts at our Spring Art and Music Showcase on Tuesday May 22nd beginning at 6:00 PM. Mrs. Dolan and Mrs. Hemmel are very busy preparing for the evening.

Last week, as we joined our nation in celebration of Teacher Appreciation week I reflected on the many incredible teachers I have known throughout my life. I am especially blessed to work every day with the most incredible faculty of dedicated teachers devoted to the ministry of Catholic education.

In April of 2015, Jane Magovern, a great woman, teacher, mother, and friend was called home to God after a long and courageous battle with cancer. Jane Magovern was an incredibly dedicated teacher at St. Rose Grammar School in Belmar, NJ for 40 years. Having met Jane in first grade, I was blessed to know Jane for 37 of those years.

Jane taught art with passion and ignited creativity in her students. As an artist myself I looked forward with great excitement to her class each week. Reading came slowly for me but I always knew I would find success in Mrs. Magovern’s classroom. Mrs. Magovern fostered confidence and enthusiasm in us all. I still recall being in 7th grade when Mrs. Magovern selected me to draw a life size rendering of the crucifixion for our school lobby. I felt like Da Vinci with my first papal commission as I carried my rolls of sketches back and forth on the school bus each day. Jane fostered in me a great love of art and inspiration for the kind of educator I aspired to become.

As I continued high school and college I kept in touch and visited with Mrs. Magovern often. After college I returned to my alma mater where both of Jane’s daughters were attending and one was in my class. As the years continued and Jane continued her vocation at our other parish school, I came to know her as a school parent, a colleague, a mentor, and a friend.

As my career brought me in new directions, I would still cross paths with Jane again and think of her often. Whenever you ran into Jane whether on her front porch, around town or on her beloved boardwalk, Jane always made you feel how genuinely excited she was to see you and how very present she was in that moment. Jane taught me that authentically understanding and celebrating your students is how growth and learning takes place.

Just like I saw in Jane, I see that same love of teaching and investment in the lives of children throughout our school community every single day. Make sure you let the special teachers in your life know how important they are.

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Arts Education

I hope this note finds you well and enjoying the arrival of beautiful spring weather.

Last weekend I had the privilege of attending two fantastic performances of the SPS production of Seussical Jr. It is difficult to capture it words the magic of this phenomenal production.

I hope this note finds you well and enjoying the arrival of beautiful spring weather.

Last weekend I had the privilege of attending two fantastic performances of the SPS production of Seussical Jr. It is difficult to capture it words the magic of this phenomenal production.


We are blessed with an incredibly talented team of educators who prepared our students. My sincere thanks are offered to directors, Ms. Dwyer and Mrs. Scaturo and choreographer, Mrs. Gramlich. The hours of hard work and dedication came to fruition in our most ambitious production yet and showcased the gifts and talents of 65 students (more than 60% of our upper school).


For those of you unfamiliar with the play, it interweaves elements of some of the classic stories of Dr. Seuss in a musical narrative. The end result is a joyous celebration of friendship, determination, and tolerance. The innocent wisdom tells lessons from which we all can still learn.


Our musical theater program is an important component of our commitment to arts education which we plan to grow here at SPS. Arts education programs have a significant and measurable positive effect on child development and form an essential component of a rich, well rounded academic program. In the words of a 2005 study from the Rand Corporation, the arts "can connect people more deeply to the world and open them to new ways of seeing." The arts are shown to increase student growth and development in math, cognitive development, reading, critical thinking, and verbal reasoning. Theater also supports positive interpersonal skills and peer relationships.https://www.edutopia.org/arts-music-curriculum-child-development


Sometimes we all can lose sight of the essential need to integrate all learning as society tends to silo education into neat categories. STEM and Humanities must both be cultivated and celebrated in our schools. In the words of Albert Einstein "Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere."


Please join us later this month as we will continue celebrations of the arts with our Spring Art and Music night on May 22nd showcasing our visual art program led by Mrs. Dolan and our music program led by Ms. Hemmel.


 

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Middle States Visit

Most of you are probably familiar with the Middle States Association which has been the leader in school accreditation especially in the Mid-Atlantic region for nearly 100 years. As stated by the association in its mission statement "The Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools, building on the rich history of the Middle States Association, aspire to improve the quality of education in the United States and around the world by assisting schools to achieve excellence through the process of accreditation, by affirming to the public a member school's trustworthiness and commitment to continuous improvement, by providing the network and resources for the promotion of proven practices." Accreditation represents "Affirmation that a school or other educational institution is providing the level of quality in its educational programs, services, activities, and/or resources expected by its community of stakeholders and endorsed by the education world." –MSA/CESS 

http://msa-cess.org/default.aspx?RelID=606504

I hope you all enjoyed a restful and peaceful Easter recess. After some quiet time we enter a very busy week here at SPS. On Tuesday evening we will welcome a reaccreditation team from Middle States.

 

Most of you are probably familiar with the Middle States Association which has been the leader in school accreditation especially in the Mid-Atlantic region for nearly 100 years. As stated by the association in its mission statement "The Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools, building on the rich history of the Middle States Association, aspire to improve the quality of education in the United States and around the world by assisting schools to achieve excellence through the process of accreditation, by affirming to the public a member school's trustworthiness and commitment to continuous improvement, by providing the network and resources for the promotion of proven practices." Accreditation represents "Affirmation that a school or other educational institution is providing the level of quality in its educational programs, services, activities, and/or resources expected by its community of stakeholders and endorsed by the education world." –MSA/CESS 

http://msa-cess.org/default.aspx?RelID=606504

 

The self-study builds upon the ongoing annual review conducted and builds upon the recommendations and guidance from our most recent visit seven years ago. Our team was organized last year and led a comprehensive self-assessment aligned with the Middle States protocols.  You may recall the surveys conducted with all families and faculty in the fall. The Internal Review Team was led by Mr. Chiaravalloti and Ms. Dwyer. The planning committee also included Mrs. Gayan, Mrs. Graja, Ms. Palumbo, and Mrs. Shen. I sincerely thank all of our stakeholders for their honest, active engagement in this process.  

 

Through the self-study our faculty team has selected three areas of current focus.

 

 

·         Language Arts Literacy, as we seek to expand knowledge of language and cultivate a culture of reading.

·         Global Citizenship: Expanding outreach and civic engagement to the community, and teaching responsible digital citizenship

·         Communication: Engage frequently and consistently with all stakeholder.

 

The study is broad and encompasses all aspects of the school and its programs including curriculum, climate, facilities, finance, governance, and community. The peer review team will spend the week at SPS conducting classrooms visits, interviewing key stakeholders, and reviewing our assessment documentation.

 

Honest, thoughtful, reflection and assessment is an essential component to maintain the health and vitality of any organization and is the most fruitful when incorporating multiple, objective perspectives. Critical reflection and analysis benefits us all and embraces a growth mind set as we continue to grow as a school community.



Thank you for your continued partnership in the ministry of St. Paul School.

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A Lion in Winter

Easter is in most of our minds synonymous with the arrival of spring and the rebirth that defines the season. After a very long winter we welcome with open, happy hearts the life and Joy of Easter. This winter, in particular, gave all indications that it would never end but now we see hope in longer days, slightly rising temperatures and the signs of spring. I’m reminded of the children’s novel The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. In the classic tale of good triumphing over evil, renowned Christian Theologian, C.S. Lewis weaves an allegory of Easter salvation that can be appreciated by all ages and yields new wisdom at each reading. In the story the land of Narnia is imprisoned in an eternal winter by the White Witch, broken by the arrival of the Lion, Aslan, symbolically representing Christ.

I hope this note finds you enjoying Holy Week and the most sacred and special time of prayerful reflection it provides.

Easter is in most of our minds synonymous with the arrival of spring and the rebirth that defines the season. After a very long winter we welcome with open, happy hearts the life and Joy of Easter. This winter, in particular, gave all indications that it would never end but now we see hope in longer days, slightly rising temperatures and the signs of spring.

I’m reminded of the children’s novel The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. In the classic tale of good triumphing over evil, renowned Christian Theologian, C.S. Lewis weaves an allegory of Easter salvation that can be appreciated by all ages and yields new wisdom at each reading. In the story the land of Narnia is imprisoned in an eternal winter by the White Witch, broken by the arrival of the Lion, Aslan, symbolically representing Christ. Aslan sacrifices himself so that all may be saved and redeemed. Parallels with the Passion can be drawn throughout the story and in its many characters.

By crafting this tale Lewis invites us all to enter into deeper reflection and see how we all live the story of Salvation every day. By presenting the story this way we can all see Christ’s Passion is very real and present for all of us. For me reading The Chronicles of Narnia was a watershed moment in a love of reading. It wasn’t until I read the stories again in college and taught the books to my high school students that I explored the deeper meaning and studied the theological teachings of Lewis. We intentionally place The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe in our sixth grade curriculum to explore the themes of the Passion in multiple disciplines.  It makes an excellent partner to their preparation and presentation of the Mime Stations of the Cross. Through this interdisciplinary unit of study, students delve deeply into literary and theological content. Our school Mime Stations presented each year the Friday before Holy Week and directed by Mrs. Rooney is a poignant and beautifully simple depiction of Christ’s death and Resurrection, and a true gift to our school and parish.

Our journey through Holy Week and final preparations for Easter continues with the start of the Triduum on Holy Thursday. I hope if your schedule allows that you will join us for Morning Prayer on Thursday in St. Paul Church. May the Joy of Easter be manifest in your heart’s and homes this Sunday and all times.

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