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


Play Outside!

Today we enjoy a very special gift, a warm spring like day in late February. In honor of the day we are having no homework tonight. After months of cold weather, fresh air and sunshine are exactly what our kids need most.

Today we enjoy a very special gift, a warm spring like day in late February. In honor of the day we are having no homework tonight. After months of cold weather, fresh air and sunshine are exactly what our kids need most.

Outdoor play is an essential component for positive child development. Play builds imagination, fosters creativity, and promotes independent problem solving skills. It lets kids be kids exploring nature and developing positive social skills. (https://www.education.com/reference/article/importance-play--social-emotional/ )

Outdoor activity creates lifelong habits of health and wellness. It’s a perfect way to manage stress and anxiety, build physical stamina, and supports improved sleep patterns. (http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/119/1/182 ) Outdoor physical activity also contributes to positive cognitive development. It allows the mind to be more prepared for academic work. That’s one of the reasons that recess is such a crucial part of the school day. As I write the office is flooded with sunshine as I listen to the joyful excitement of recess outside.

Today everyone’s homework is to be in the great outdoors. A gorgeous February day doesn’t come very often. When talking with fellow parents we often lament the challenges and struggles kids must face today. While its true times have changed, we can all seize the opportunities to celebrate childhood and let our kids play outside until the sun goes down. Hopefully no homework tonight will make that a bit easier. Stay off of screens and be active exploring God’s gift of creation.

 

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Unplugged Ash Wednesday

Tomorrow we begin our preparations for Easter as we commence the season of Lent with Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday is a day of prayerful reflection, reconciliation, fasting and sacrifice. We all, children and adults, set aside the day for prayer and penance. As a school community we will receive ashes at a prayer service at 9:30 AM.
 

Tomorrow we begin our preparations for Easter as we commence the season of Lent with Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday is a day of prayerful reflection, reconciliation, fasting and sacrifice. We all, children and adults, set aside the day for prayer and penance. As a school community we will receive ashes at a prayer service at 9:30 AM.
Some resources for Lent can be found at the two links below:


http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/liturgical-year/lent/index.cfm

www.formed.org


An opportunity that presents itself on Ash Wednesday is to allow for mindfulness by limiting the use of technology for the day. We all find ourselves more than a bit too tethered to technology these days. Our minds are cluttered with information overload and distraction. Our children can feel the effects of this the most deeply. Research has chronicled the risks of too much exposure to screens and devices. Children with too much exposure to digital screens can become challenged in the ability to interpret emotion in others. At the core of Ash Wednesday is our connection with the human experience and empathy. As in all things we need to find a balance. Technology is an essential component of education and all of our work lives but when it takes the lead in these realms as well as our entertainment and social interaction, balance is quickly lost. Technology provides incredible tools but can easily monopolize our daily lives. The irony of blogging about the risks of technology is not lost on me.

 

 

https://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2014/08/28/343735856/kids-and-screen-time-what-does-the-research-say


Let's all have an Unplugged Ash Wednesday. While eliminating technology all together might be virtually impossible, we can all do our best to limit our use of technology that is not work related.  For all of us it will be a conscious, tangible sacrifice that can trigger some deeper refection. Let's welcome quiet reflection and listen to what our Lord is telling us on Ash Wednesday and throughout the season of Lent.


I plan on continuing to explore these topics on future posts and podcasts and appreciate your feedback and suggestions.

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Family Meals

A common thread that appears so often in my conversations with parents is the fast pace of life. Even with a concerted effort we all suffer the effects of over scheduling, especially our children. Sometimes it truly is the simple things that make the biggest difference. One such example is the family meal. Gathering together around the dinner table can be a challenge but certainly worth the effort even if it can't happen every night. While I believe cooking together as a family can be an excellent extension of the experience and skill builder for our kids, dining out and ordering in are great too.

A common thread that appears so often in my conversations with parents is the fast pace of life. Even with a concerted effort we all suffer the effects of over scheduling, especially our children. Sometimes it truly is the simple things that make the biggest difference. One such example is the family meal. Gathering together around the dinner table can be a challenge but certainly worth the effort even if it can't happen every night. While I believe cooking together as a family can be an excellent extension of the experience and skill builder for our kids, dining out and ordering in are great too.


Engaging in mealtime conversation builds family unity, fosters vocabulary development and bolsters intellectual curiosity. Anne Fishel, (Washington Post Article) co-founder of The Family Dinner Project points to evidence that regular mealtime can be a stronger indicator of positive high school performance than doing homework or playing sports.
Children are more likely to develop healthy eating habits and continue those habits as adults if they regularly eat family meals. Additional studies have shown improved over all health in children and a reduction in symptoms of chronic health conditions.

 

The family meal is often the most critical relationship builder in a family each day. It gives us all a chance to breath, share, connect and hopefully laugh. Sharing together in a meal can open conversation and strengthen connections beyond meal time.


Grace before meals and refection on the blessings of the day and having food on our table is the perfect way to begin. Throughout the meal engage your kids in conversation with open ended questions about school and friends.


As kids transition into teens, while their inclination may seem to be to distance from family activity, they need the experience even more. Children who regularly have family mealtime are significantly less likely to engage in high risk behaviors such as drinking and drug use and show lower instances of anxiety and depression.


There is also evidence that family meal time also reduces stress for adults as well. We all need to build time into each day to be genuinely present with one another. Yes, that means no phones at the dinner table. (https://www.cnn.com/2011/10/25/living/family-dinner-h/index.html)


While we all need to be realistic, understanding it probably won't happen every night, we can all make it a priority as much as possible.
God bless,


Ryan Killeen, Ed.D.

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Why choose a Catholic School?

This week has been filled with excitement and enthusiasm as we have celebrated the unique spirit and vitality of our Catholic school and all Catholic schools across the nation. Having grown up in Catholic education and now having spent the bulk of my professional life in Catholic education, I have encountered the question "Why choose a Catholic School?" more times than I can count.

This week has been filled with excitement and enthusiasm as we have celebrated the unique spirit and vitality of our Catholic school and all Catholic schools across the nation. Having grown up in Catholic education and now having spent the bulk of my professional life in Catholic education, I have encountered the question "Why choose a Catholic School?" more times than I can count.


To me a fully realized life is one that is grounded in faith. To quote the Vatican document To Teach as Jesus Did "Catholic education is an expression of the mission entrusted by Jesus to the Church He founded. Through education the Church seeks to prepare its members to proclaim the Good News and to translate this proclamation into action."


At the center of all learning in a Catholic school is the perspective of the human experience. Knowledge can be placed in context, with a complete perspective of moral and ethical implications. Each day provides opportunity to put faith into action as our children learn to live lives of service informed by Gospel teaching.


The investment and engagement of parents is uniquely present in our Catholic schools. We can fully articulate the role of parents as primary teachers and deeply share in partnership.


We have a mandate to provide the highest quality academics, engaging all learners and advancing them to realize the fullness of the gifts they have received from God. Our system of schools has a rich history dating back to the early 1800's. Throughout our history we have changed and adapted to meet the needs of our communities. We continue to evolve to serve diverse student populations, providing challenging STEM curriculum, rich Humanities, and technological literacy always rooted in a foundation of Catholic theology and tradition. Our children are prepared to navigate our world with vision imbued with the skills and moral grounding essential for success.


Our faculty have chosen a vocation as well as a career. We are forming the next generation of our Church. Most important of all, at the end of the day, we are raising saints. Each day in our school is filled with new success, new discovery, and new accomplishment. I have the joyful gift of watching this unfold each day and knowing and seeing first hand the profound impact we make on our students and families. Thank you to all of the generations that have supported our school and for the investment made today by parents, faculty, and parishioners in the ministry of St. Paul Catholic School.

 

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Reflections on a Catholic School Teacher

Each year as we approach Catholic Schools Week I find myself reflecting on my own years as a Catholic school student. Like all kids when you are in the midst of things you never appreciate how impactful the experience is. I began this journey in Catholic education as a first grade student at St. Rose Grammar School in Belmar, NJ. During the twelve years I attended St. Rose Grammar and High School I was blessed with dozens of incredible guides on my academic journey.

Each year as we approach Catholic Schools Week I find myself reflecting on my own years as a Catholic school student. Like all kids when you are in the midst of things you never appreciate how impactful the experience is.

I began this journey in Catholic education as a first grade student at St. Rose Grammar School in Belmar, NJ. During the twelve years I attended St. Rose Grammar and High School I was blessed with dozens of incredible guides on my academic journey.

One of these very special teachers is Mrs. Mary Burns. I first got to know Mrs. Burns when I entered the sixth grade and had the gift of being in her class for Reading and Language Arts for the next three years.

In sixth grade I turned a pivotal corner as a student. Reading switched from something I had to do to something I wanted to do. For that I owe a heartfelt thank you to C.S. Lewis and Mrs. Burns. In memory it feels like I was perpetually working on a book report for Mrs. Burns. A book report doesn’t really capture it though. Because you never completed a simple book report. You created an original book jacket, built a diorama, created a mobile, or produced any number of creative, out of the box activities that stretched us as students and captured our imagination. The excitement that Mrs. Burns demonstrated each day and the joy she found in our success was contagious for all of us.

I learned so much from Mrs. Burns and not just the classic teacher tool of referring to yourself in the third person. (“Mrs. Burns will wait until our class is quiet and ready for the lesson”). I learned to love language and literature. I witnessed her passion for teaching as she tailored her lessons to engage all learners. Like all my teachers, she reminded me that I was a cherished child of God, blessed with unique gifts and talents and the opportunity to live my faith each day.

This past Christmas when I unpacked our Christmas decorations among those treasures was the handmade ornament I received from Mrs. Burns in 6th grade, a prized possession. It is an artifact of a very special teacher who gives 100% every day and probably never realizes the impact she makes. The very special people who answer the call to serve in Catholic schools are who we are and what makes our communities so very special.

The gift of my Catholic school education is an investment my family made that has guided my personal and professional life. I feel so very blessed to work with the most incredible team of talented, dedicated, generous educators every day. Catholic Schools Week officially kicks off on January 28th and provides the opportunity to celebrate the unique culture of our Catholic Schools. Please take a moment and thank those special teachers in your life and the lives of your children.

 

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