Princeton Charter School offers three avenues for parent involvement in the school: through the governance structure, both on the board of trustees and the standing and ad hoc committees, through volunteer activities, and through the daily involvement of parents monitoring their children's academic progress. Parental involvement manifests itself at the highest level in the governance structure of PCS (see Section 4), since parents constitute the majority of the Board of Trustees. In addition, both Trustee and non-Trustee parents may serve on Board advisory committees.
Parents may also establish committees under their own initiative to enrich the life of the school. These committees may undertake a number of school-wide projects such as book fairs, school picnics, after-school clubs, community service, and other activities. At least two room parents will be secured for each class in the school as liaisons between the classroom teacher and other parents.
Parents are involved in the school on a daily basis by supporting their children's academic endeavors. For example, they may be requested to initial their children's homework assignments to ensure the timely completion of homework. Not only will PCS communicate with parents openly and frequently about their children's progress but will also keep them informed about the school as a whole during open houses, orientations, and back-to-school nights. A collection of the textbooks and other books used by the students will be maintained in the office and be easily accessible to parents. Parents will be asked to give their view of their child's academic progress guided by a questionnaire to be developed by a joint parent-teacher committee. Parents who do not choose to submit a written evaluation will be offered the opportunity to have a personal interview.
The Princeton area is home to experts in many disciplines. Partnerships between PCS and such community resources may enrich the PCS educational program. For example, a local astronomer might prepare materials to supplement the School's textbooks in the event of a significant astronomical discovery. In all cases such materials will be subject to the approval and quality assurance process applied to all PCS instructional materials. A disciplined approach to the production of such materials through partnerships is an interesting objective in its own right and PCS may seek outside funding for such projects. In particular, members of the school's founding group plan to seek an ``instructional materials development'' grant from the National Science Foundation.
Four major local organizations have been contacted and are interested in helping with the development of the PCS arts program. The Princeton Chamber Symphony is developing new outreach programs to demonstrate musicianship to students in schools. The Symphony would like to provide tutorials in music appreciation to teach children how to enjoy a classical music concert. The Westminster Conservatory of Music is interested in a broader role, such as a partnership for providing the entire music program. The Arts Council of Princeton is [interested in helping Princeton Charter School with its arts program. The Arts Council can provide space for art workshops and can provide a link between the school and community artists.] The Princeton Ballet School will help identify personnel to set up and teach a dance program. These arts options will be considered as the Board of Trustees and Head of School finalize the PCS educational plan after receipt of the Charter. The Princeton University Computing Center has already committed to provide Internet access to Princeton Charter School on the same terms as it is provided to the local regional school district.
Representatives of the Founders have contacted a range of local organizations and community groups to inform them about the plans for a charter school and to learn about their interests in and ideas on education. Princeton has a diverse population and the PCS Founders believe it is important to reach out to all the segments of the community. The interim director of the Civil Rights Commission was contacted, as were three ministers of churches in Princeton. The head of the Princeton Housing Authority and the administrator of the Princeton Young Achievers have also been contacted. The PCS Founders will continue this outreach effort by setting up public meetings to explain the mission, goals, and admissions process of PCS and will seek out all those who are interested in helping constructively with the work of forming a school.