Middle School Virtual Visit
Welcome from Renée C. Price, Head of Middle School and Assistant Head of School for Academic Life
Welcome to Princeton Day School! In this extraordinary moment, as you face uncertainties everywhere, please know that we are here for you. I could not be prouder of our exceptional faculty and our close-knit family community as we all come together more energetically than ever for this springtime filled with challenges and opportunities.
The question of "Why PDS?" is very real for you as you consider next steps for your family. As Head of the Middle School, let me share my perspective on the answer to that question. Here, our primary aim is to ensure that each student emerges from their PDS Middle School journey transformed, empowered, known, skilled, flourishing and embraced and for who they are.
I have four clear goals for my team and for our Middle School learning community: create a challenging, equitable, empowering and developmentally-appropriate environment.
It starts before school begins, through all of the ways we orient new students so that they feel comfortable and confident before the first day of class. The work we joyfully pursue to support each child's healthy identity development, habits of mind and relationship-building strengths fosters the positive trajectory on which students will set their lives. The role of parents in this community is also essential to the success of each child. Together with you, we are a team. Our collective job is to coach them through new learning experiences that are designed to help them stretch and grow. You are not alone at PDS. Help is everywhere here.
Warmth, generosity and the desire to engage are the traits we witness every day in our community. This is a school that finds joy in large and small things, from wacky hat day to cheering on a tournament-winning team. And in this self-motivated community, we thrive on working hard, we seek to learn from mistakes, and we keep moving forward through constant recalibration. We all want strong academics and an array of programs that inspire, but at PDS we never lose sight of the fact that these experiences are but the scaffolding for a life of extraordinary purpose. And PDS gets this concept in a way that I challenge you to find replicated elsewhere.
All of the "must-haves" are here -- but in my experience, what distinguishes PDS is how these "must-haves" differ intentionally from that of every other school I've been involved with. From our advisory program to our student-led assemblies to integrated and inter-disciplinary learning; from diverse athletics opportunities for all to a built-in structure for the kinds of focused and hands-on specialty pursuits that are usually reserved only for after-school club experiences elsewhere; we have it all in ways that your child will appreciate more than you can imagine as you stand at the threshold of PDS.
I wish that every child had the chance to work with teachers as brilliant and devoted as my Middle School faculty team, in a community as motivated and compassionate as this one. At PDS, we do not believe that more is always better. We value deep learning over volume. We value independent problem-solving strategies and the ability to communicate one’s ideas. We understand that these skills are as important as knowledge of the content in a course. This Middle School truly lives the PDS mission to nurture mind, body and character from the moment each student enters. We work continually to create a culture of dignity, mutual support and confidence through self-challenge, opportunities for shared learning and guided support. And the proof that it works is in our alumni, so many of whom find their way back to the Great Road to contribute to a place they know and love: nothing lifts our hearts more than to see that the middle schoolers we nurtured have grown into the most amazing, independent, empowered and resilient young adults who are intent on experiencing lives of meaning and vision.
We're here for you and eager to answer your questions. Congratulations on your acceptance to PDS and welcome!
Head of Middle School