Back to School

Superintendent Back to School Letter

Dear Parents/Guardians and Community Members,

Welcome Back to School!  It feels so good to say that! We have been carefully planning for a safe return since June, with more than 100 staff, teachers and parents helping to prepare our Safe Learning Plan. In all my years as a former football coach, wrestling coach and administrator, I don’t recall a year that I completely threw out my playbook and started over. Yet, that is exactly where we find ourselves. 

YET - It’s a powerful word and I expect we will hear a lot this year. Educator Carol Dweck, author of Growth Mindset, uses the phrase “the power of yet” to remind us that when faced with a new challenge, it’s not that we can’t do it, it’s just that we haven’t learned how, YET. We teach the power of YET to students. When they believe they can get smarter and learn that effort makes them stronger, they are more likely to put in extra time and effort, and that leads to higher achievement. As we adapt to the ever-evolving challenges of our pandemic plans, we have leaned on the power of YET and our school district will be stronger in the end.

So, we have a new Princeton Playbook for Fall 2020 with all of our new procedures, and although we will be physically distancing, we are as committed as ever to our kids, our team and our community.  Our mission remains critically important: to be an innovative leader in instruction, developing in every learner the ability to succeed in an ever-changing world. The pandemic has taught us the need to remain flexible, welcome change and adjust to an evolving situation with patience and grace.
As students return to our school buildings this year, each will have had a different experience last spring. We pledge to meet each of our Tigers where they are and inspire them with a growth mindset. We bring positivity to school each day, and we hope our students will too. Our goal is to utilize best practices (in-person, in a hybrid model, or online)  that will maximize the student experience and inspire learning and growth. Our pledge to you as we return to school:

Ensure Health & Safety

We are dedicated to providing a healthy and safe learning environment for all students, staff and community.  We will communicate the importance of self-screening, hand-washing, hygiene practices, cleaning protocols, and other measures to mitigate and respond to the effects of COVID-19. We will follow all guidance from federal, state and local health authorities.

Provide High-Quality Instruction

We are dedicated to providing a high-quality education for all of our students, regardless of the instructional model.  We have formed a committee of staff members from all levels of our organization, with subcommittees focusing on planning in the areas of Health & Safety, Student Learning, Climate & Culture, Operations, and Communications. We will follow all guidance and regulations outlined by the Minnesota Department of Education.

Offer Educational Opportunities for All

We are dedicated to ensuring our students have equitable access to a high-quality education and have systems in place to support our students. We are planning for three potential scenarios based on guidance from the Minnesota Department of Education: In-person learning for all students; hybrid learning with physical distancing and capacity limits; distance learning only.  Families will have the opportunity to choose their learning path once the learning scenarios are approved.

Support our Students, Families and Staff

We are dedicated to providing academic, social and emotional support to students, families and staff.   We will allow students, families and staff to provide input on the implementation of our learning plan.

To ensure the multiple systems of supports our students will need this year, our Continuous Improvement Plan will focus on the areas of:

  • Student learning
  • Climate and Culture
  • Multi-Tiered Systems and Supports, and
  • Operations

It is a unique time in our history. For us to achieve our goals to provide the best possible experience for our students, we must work together as a team - parents-families-students-school and community. None of us can do this alone. We all have roles and responsibilities that will contribute to achieving our goals. Your support and participation is needed to help us meet our commitment to excellence.
It is a privilege to serve the Princeton area community. I am excited to have the opportunity to lead our district into a new school year. It is truly a GREAT place. We intend to continue Princeton’s standard of excellence by providing our students with the support and tools necessary for lifetime learning and achievement to take place.
Please visit our  Princeton Playbook for Fall 2020 special attention to these important information links:

Sincerely,
Ben Barton, Superintendent
 

We hope you are enjoying your summer break.  We are looking forward to your return to school. Given that we haven’t been able to see most of you in person since mid-March, we can’t wait for you to add some life to our classrooms. 

We are excited to begin the 2020-2021 school year! We enter an unprecedented beginning of the school year, full of changes and adjustments most of us had never previously imagined.