Zaneta Chambers joined Princeton Academy of the Sacred Heart in May as its first director of the Learning Resource Center. And while the hire may sound like a routine appointment, it typifies Princeton Academy’s approach to “developing young men to be creative, compassionate and courageous leaders of a just society.”
“We seek to bring out the best in each and every boy,” Head of School Alfred (Rik) Dugan III says. “We take great pride in seeing, hearing and knowing each and every boy individually, and meeting him where he is on his journey, as a person and as a learner. We use a phrase here, ‘He Can Be.’ We believe he can be anything.”
Reinventing Boys’ Education
Princeton Academy was founded in 1998 and Dugan sees its role as reinventing boys’ education for students in kindergarten through grade 8.
“We need to pull in all parties who are a part of that child’s learning journey,” Chambers says. “It cannot just be the student. We have to partner with families, caregivers. We need to ensure teachers play an active part, not just in the classroom, but by really knowing the child, and seeing them for who they are and where they are at the moment.”
She is not alone, of course. Princeton Academy also has created a Director of Social Emotional Wellness to lead along with a Director of Secondary School Placement, a Director of Community and Culture, a Director of Curriculum Innovation and a Director of Spiritual Life.
“This concept of reinventing boys’ education allows us to really think about developing good men for tomorrow,” Dugan says. “We are mindful that we are educating and partnering with families to raise boys who we strive to equip with a tool belt to solve global problems and make our world a better place, while also providing a compass to help him navigate the moral context of the world around him.”
A Handshake By Any Other Name
A longstanding tradition at PASH is the Morning Handshake.
So with the school open in-person last year, that became a different, but just as meaningful, morning greeting.
“Every boy was acknowledged with eye contact, a good morning, sometimes a bow or a head nod,” Dugan says. “Yes, a handshake is a handshake, but really it is a representation of seeing the other individual and enabling the other person to know, ‘I am here for you. I am extending my hand, and so are you. And you are going to carry that forward into our world.’”