West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District
The West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District is a comprehensive high achieving regional public school district in New Jersey, United States, serving students in pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade from West Windsor Towship (in Mercer County) and Plainsboro Township (in Middlesex County). There are four elementary schools (grades PreK/K - 3), two upper elementary schools (grades 4 and 5), two middle schools (grades 6 - 8) and two high schools (grades 9 - 12). Niche.com listed the district as third best in New Jersey, and 55th best in the nation, according to its 2018 Best Schools ranking.
|West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District|
|321 Village Road East|
Mercer County, New Jersey, 08550
|Superintendent||Dr. David Aderhold|
|Business administrator||Dr. Christopher Russo|
|Students and staff|
|Enrollment||9,812 (as of 2017-18)|
|District Factor Group||J|
The district is classified by the New Jersey Department of Education as being in District Factor Group "J", the-highest of eight groupings. District Factor Groups organize districts statewide to allow comparison by common socioeconomic characteristics of the local districts. From lowest socioeconomic status to highest, the categories are A, B, CD, DE, FG, GH, I and J.
The West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District was the result of the 1969 merger of two separate, neighboring school districts - the Plainsboro School District and the West Windsor School District - as the population of both municipalities were starting to grow rapidly. The districts merged so that they could accommodate the increasing number of students newly enrolling. Dutch Neck and Wicoff elementary schools were constructed well before the establishment of the regional district.
Constructed at a cost of $8 million and designed to ultimately accommodate an enrollment of 1,300 students in grades 7-12, West Windsor-Plainsboro High School (since renamed as West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South) opened in 1973 for grades 7-10, with students in grades 11 and 12 completing their education at Princeton High School.
With a decline in the number of student athletes playing football at WW-P North that would be inadequate for the school to field a team of its own, the district attempted to combine the teams from the two schools to have them operate as a single co-operative football team for the 2017-18 school year based at South HS. Given that the size of the schools is larger than the threshold established by the state for co-op programs (North is classified as Group III and South as Group IV, based on the size of the enrollment of each school), the proposal was rejected by the West Jersey Football League and by the Leagues and Conferences Committee of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association, before an appeal of the decision was rejected by the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Education. In August 2017, the district announced that WW-P North would cancel its program. The members of the canceled program will be eligible to play for the North junior varsity football team, but will not be able to play for the South team.
Awards and recognitionEdit
The West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District is one of the top achieving districts in New Jersey. The high schools have held first to fifth places in many of the state's rankings. In 2004, West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North was ranked #1 in the state of New Jersey by New Jersey Monthly magazine and West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South was ranked #5. West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South was the 9th ranked public high school, and North was 18th-ranked, in New Jersey out of 316 schools statewide, in New Jersey Monthly magazine's September 2006 cover story on the state's Top Public High Schools.
West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South was recognized during the 1992-93 school year, and Maurice Hawk Elementary School was recognized during the 1993-94 school year, with the National Blue Ribbon Award of Excellence from the United States Department of Education, the highest honor that an American school can achieve.
West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North was recognized in the 2006-07 school year with the Blue Ribbon School Award of Excellence by the U.S. Department of Education, the highest award an American school can receive.
In both the 2004-05 and 2006-07 school years, the Community Middle School Science Olympiad team was first in the country. They were also Science Olympiad state and regional champions for the past 15 or so years. However, Thomas R. Grover Middle School lost to Community Middle School in the 2019-2020 States competition, but did not compete in Nationals due to COVID-19 cancellations.
The West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District supports FIRST Robotics Competition Team #1923, The MidKnight Inventors, which welcomes students from both high schools. The team has been competing since 2006, and mentors FIRST programs across all grade levels in the district, as well as internationally. The team has won four regional competitions including, 2009 New Jersey Regional, 2011 Connecticut Regional, 2017 Mount Olive District, and 2017 Montgomery District. They have been recognized with various awards for community outreach & spreading the mission of FIRST, and has received individual recognitions for both students and mentors on the team's leadership & effective communication within the scope of the FIRST Robotics Competition. The MidKnight Inventors, Team #1923, has made it to the FIRST Championships six years (2009, 2011, 2013, 2015-2017) since 2006 when they first began competing. In 2015, at the FIRST Championship in St. Louis, Missouri, The MidKnight Inventors finished 3rd, out of the 3,000 teams that competed in the FRC competition.
West Windsor-Plainsboro is notable for its ongoing divide over the school district's academics. The controversy comes amidst Superintendent of Schools David Aderhold's plan to ease the high school curriculum. The plan consisted of the elimination of midterm and final exams, increasing the number of no homework nights, and the removal of the A&E math program for the 4th and 5th grade. According to a Christmas-day New York Times article by author Kyle Spencer, the divide appears to be somewhat racial, as the area has a high Asian-American population, such as Indian, Pakistani, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean students. Some parents have argued that such change "dumbs down" the students and hinders the overall academic experience. Other parents believe the children are stressed out to an unhealthy degree. It has been argued that placing too much stress on academics with the intent of going to a good college is wrong, as colleges are more interested in projects and student-led activities than grades alone. The high schools within the West Windsor-Plainsboro School District have been outlined as prep or pre-college institutions, rather than as public high schools. Some have noted that the Asian parents (many first-generation immigrants) are simply trying to boost their children into the middle class. However, there were many that did not fall along the racial divide.
An ongoing, parallel controversy in the district has consisted of students, teachers, and alumni who allege that the administrators and parents of the district over-emphasize funding for and teaching of STEM at the expense of the humanities, arts, and sometimes languages. Attempts to cut language programs, including German and Latin, have ignited controversy and led to allegations that the school district under-prepares students to study non-STEM fields or to work outside of the United States.
A controversy regarding youth sports took place September of the 2020-2021 school year. Parent and student advocates of youth sports fought for Superintendent David Aderhold to reverse the cancellation of fall sports. The advocates alleged that the cancellation of fall sports negatively impacted the mental health of student-athletes. The advocates were met with resistance by the Administration and community members who prioritized the well-being of the community during the Covid-19 pandemic. 
- Lower elementary schools
- Dutch Neck Elementary School (located in West Windsor: 687 students; in grades K-3)
- David Argese, Principal
- Laura Bruce, Assistant Principal
- Maurice Hawk Elementary School (West Windsor: 749; K-3)
- Patricia Buell, Principal
- Jack Colella, Assistant Principal
- Town Center Elementary School (Plainsboro: 522; PreK-2)
- Janet Bowes, Principal
- Renee Osterbye, Assistant Principal
- J.V.B. Wicoff Elementary School (Plainsboro: 449; K-3)
- Dr. Michael Welborn, Principal
- Lindsay Jablonski, Assistant Principal
- Upper elementary schools
- Millstone River Upper Elementary School (Plainsboro: 1,088; 3-5). Formerly West Windsor-Plainsboro Upper Elementary School (UES), before the Village School was built.
- Gerald Dalton, Principal
- Erin Falk, Assistant Principal
- Heather Shanklin, Assistant Principal
- Village Upper Elementary School (West Windsor: Preschool, 726; 4-5)
- Barbara Gould, Principal
- Guy Tulp, Assistant Principal
- Middle schools
- West Windsor-Plainsboro Community Middle School (Plainsboro: 1,172; 6-8). Formerly West Windsor-Plainsboro Middle School pre-1997, before Grover Middle School was created.
- Kyle Schimpf, Principal
- Peter James, Assistant Principal
- TBD, Assistant Principal
- Thomas R. Grover Middle School (West Windsor: 1,264; 6-8)
- Lamont Thomas, Principal
- Maureen Cook, Assistant Principal
- Evan Malakates, Assistant Principal
- High schools
- West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North (Plainsboro: 1,448; 9-12)
- Jonathan Dauber, Principal
- Jessica Cincotta, Assistant Principal
- Megan O'Brien, Assistant Principal
- West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South (West Windsor: 1,601; 9-12). Formerly West Windsor-Plainsboro High School, before High School North was established in 1997.
- Dennis Lepold, Principal
- Paul Hamnett, Assistant Principal
- Dr. Carla Royster, Assistant Principal
- Dr. David Aderhold, Superintendent of Schools
- Dr. Christopher Russo, Assistant Superintendent for Finance / Board Secretary
Board of educationEdit
The district's board of education, comprised of nine members, sets policy and oversees the fiscal and educational operation of the district through its administration. As a Type II school district, the board's trustees are elected directly by voters to serve three-year terms of office on a staggered basis, with three seats up for election each year held (since 2013) as part of the November general election. The board appoints a superintendent to oversee the day-to-day operation of the district. Seats on the board of education are allocated based on the population of the constituent municipalities, with five seats allocated to West Windsor and four to Plainsboro.
- District information for West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District, National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed November 1, 2019.
- Taxpayers' Guide to Education Spending April 2013, New Jersey Department of Education. Accessed April 15, 2013.
- District Policy Manual 0110 - Identification, West Windsor-Plainsboro School District. Accessed September 4, 2020. "Purpose: The Board of Education exists for the purpose of providing a thorough and efficient system of free public education in grades Kindergarten through twelve in the West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District. Composition: The West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District is comprised of all the area within the municipal boundaries of West Windsor and Plainsboro Townships."
- 2017-2018 Mercer County Charter and Public Schools Directory, Mercer County, New Jersey. Accessed November 15, 2019.
- "2016 Best School Districts in New Jersey - Niche". K-12 School Rankings and Reviews at Niche.com. Retrieved June 16, 2016.
- NJ Department of Education District Factor Groups (DFG) for School Districts, New Jersey Department of Education. Accessed March 18, 2015.
- District Landmarks, West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District. Accessed April 17, 2011.
- Comprehensive Annual Financial Report of the West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District, New Jersey Department of Education, for year ending June 30, 2019. Accessed March 1, 2021. "When the regional school district was formed in 1969, the district incorporated several existing schools. One of our schools, Dutch Neck Elementary School, was opened in 1917 and is over one-hundred years old. Another school, Wicoff Elementary, is approaching its 100th year as it was opened in 1919."
- Schnessel, S. Michael. "School Bell Is About to Ring Again", The New York Times, September 2, 1973. Accessed September 4, 2020. "The students will be attending the new West Windsor Plainsboro High School, which is said to be the state's first total 'open space' secondary institution.... For the first year, the $8‐million school, which was designed by the Shaver Partnership of Michigan City, Ind., will accommodate only grades 7 through 10. In two years, it will have 1,300 students and run through grade 12. In the meantime, juniors and seniors will attend Princeton High School."
- Miller, Sean. "State denies West Windsor-Plainsboro's appeal in football merger", The Times (Trenton), July 12, 2017. Accessed September 25, 2017. "The New Jersey Commissioner of Education's office on Wednesday rejected an appeal by the West Windsor-Plainsboro school district for emergent action in its plan to merge the North and South High School football teams.... The district wanted the two school football teams, WW-P North and WW-P South, to combine into a 'co-op' for the upcoming 2017 season. But the NJSIAA denied the action, because North is classified as a Group 3 school and South as a Group 4."
- Kahn, Lea. "West Windsor-Plainsboro North varsity football season canceled", CentralJersey.com, August 10, 2017. Accessed September 25, 2017. "West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North will not field a varsity football team this season because of a lack of players, according to West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District officials. The varsity football program at West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South will continue but players from West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North will not be allowed to play for that team."
- Top Public High Schools in New Jersey Archived February 6, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, New Jersey Monthly, September 2006
- Blue Ribbon Schools Program: Schools Recognized 1982-1983 through 1999-2002 (PDF), United States Department of Education. Accessed April 17, 2011.
- U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon Schools Program: Schools Recognized in 2006, United States Department of Education. Accessed April 18, 2011.
- "CIBA cited as one of the best by Education Department", Journal Inquirer, November 16, 2006. "The Blue Ribbon award is given only to schools that reach the top 10 percent of their state's testing scores over several years or show significant gains in student achievement. It is considered the highest honor a school can achieve."
- "Viers Mill School Wins Blue Ribbon; School Scored High on Statewide Test", The Washington Post, September 29, 2005. "For their accomplishments, all three schools this month earned the status of Blue Ribbon School, the highest honor the U.S. Education Department can bestow upon a school."
- Division B Scores and Ranking, 2007 Science Olympiad. Accessed June 14, 2008.
- Muchhal, Siddarth. "West Windsor-Plainsboro: MidKnight Inventors place third in FIRST Robotics World Championship", CentralJersey.com, August 28, 2015. Accessed September 1, 2017. "The MidKnight Inventors (FIRST Robotics Team 1923), a robotics team consisting of students from West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North and South, earned third place along with its alliance at the FIRST Robotics World Championship in St. Louis in April."
- Spencer, Kyle. "New Jersey School District Eases Pressure on Students, Baring an Ethnic Divide", The New York Times, December 25, 2015. Accessed January 2, 2016.
- Guhl-Miller, Solomon. "Don’t Cut German: A Warning from a Graduate Student", Community News, March 18, 2011. Accessed July 3, 2018.
- Johnson, Greg. “West Windsor-Plainsboro Students Parents Fighting to Reverse Fall Sports”, The Trentonian, September 2, 2020. Accessed March 3, 2021.
- School Data for the West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District, National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed November 1, 2019.
- Schools, West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District. Accessed December 2, 2019.
- New Jersey School Directory for the West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District, New Jersey Department of Education. Accessed December 29, 2016.
- Dutch Neck Elementary School, West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District. Accessed December 2, 2019.
- Maurice Hawk Elementary School, West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District. Accessed December 2, 2019.
- Town Center Elementary School, West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District. Accessed December 2, 2019.
- J.V.B. Wicoff Elementary School, West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District. Accessed December 2, 2019.
- Millstone River School, West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District. Accessed December 2, 2019.
- Village School, West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District. Accessed December 2, 2019.
- Community Middle School, West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District. Accessed December 2, 2019.
- Thomas Grover Middle School, West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District. Accessed December 2, 2019.
- West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North, West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District. Accessed December 2, 2019.
- West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South, West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District. Accessed December 2, 2019.
- Central Office Staff, West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District. Accessed September 4, 2020.
- New Jersey School Directory for Mercer County, New Jersey Department of Education. Accessed December 29, 2016.
- New Jersey Boards of Education by District Election Types - 2018 School Election, New Jersey Department of Education, updated February 16, 2018. Accessed January 26, 2020.
- Board of Education, West Windsor-Plainsboro School District. Accessed September 4, 2020. "Members of the Board of Education are elected by qualified voters in the communities of West Windsor and Plainsboro Townships. Members are elected to three-year terms and normally three seats are up for election each spring. The Board of Education is composed of four elected representatives from Plainsboro and five elected representatives from West Windsor, all of whom serve without remuneration."