Hopewell Valley Regional School District (21-2280)

Hopewell Valley Regional School District

The Hopewell Valley Regional School District is committed to providing a comprehensive, caring educational experience which nurtures the unique talents of each individual; creates fulfilled, socially responsible, lifelong learners; develops confidence and capabilities to face the challenges of a rapidly changing world; and promotes a culture of respect that values diversity. We pursue this mission through a strong and varied curriculum, superb teaching staff, and an array of extracurricular opportunities designed to enrich the learning experience of all students. Hopewell Valley serves the two boroughs of Pennington and Hopewell and the much larger Hopewell Township, and encompasses a total area of nearly 60 square miles with a population that exceeds 20,000. There are six schools that comprise the district. (Four elementary schools, a middle school, and a high school.) District enrollment is currently 3,750 students.

In preparing our students for success, we offer a diverse and innovative curriculum guided by the Common Core Standards as well as the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards and supplemented with a wide variety of courses designed to prepare our youth to compete successfully in their postgraduate years. Eligible students, who exhaust the extensive course offerings at Central High School, can take classes at nearby universities including Princeton and Rider, and for those interested in niche subjects, online learning is available through several web providers. Students are also experiencing a one-to-one learning environment using Chromebooks to enhance our inquiry-based learning approach. A video projection system, linking all classrooms at Central High School and Timberlane Middle School, provides teachers with fresh opportunities to strengthen instruction with web-based resources and gives students new capabilities to create multimedia presentations.

Our commitment to STEM education is evidenced by our STEM magnet program at the Bear Tavern Elementary School and recently expanded to our Middle School. This program is open to in-district students as well as selected out-of-district students through the New Jersey School Choice program. This concentrated studies program provides interested students an opportunity to participate in a dynamic learning environment that complements their learning style.

A longstanding and important element of our curriculum is our visual and performing arts program. Hopewell Valley's extraordinary commitment to music education continues to be recognized by the nation's foremost music educators and advocates; including the American Music Conference, which has saluted Hopewell Valley as among the 100 Best Communities in America for music education. Our student musicians and vocalists continue to collect trophies through a wide variety of national competitions, as well as win distinction as selected members of highly competitive regional chorus, band, and orchestra ensembles. We most recently added a performing arts concentration which will result in a specialized diploma for students who chose to take performing arts credits beyond the graduation requirements.

Student success in Hopewell Valley is measured in a variety of ways. While they represent just one measure of student learning; SAT Reasoning test scores of Hopewell Valley students far exceed state and national averages, as do the results of the SAT Subject tests. Average scores in Hopewell Valley remain solidly higher than those of comparable, high achieving suburban districts in New Jersey. In 2016, CHS students achieved an average SAT Reasoning test score of 565 in Critical Reading, 584 in Mathematics and 556 in Writing. All of these scores were significantly higher than state and national averages. Each year, more and more students are also choosing to take the ACT. This policy of inclusion is proudly upheld throughout the district, which strives to help every student learn optimally, regardless of ability or special need.

In our Advanced Placement Program, 20+ courses are offered in subjects ranging from Latin to Studio Art, making it one of the largest high school menus in New Jersey. Student performance on AP exams continues to track upward at a remarkable pace. Of the 686 tests taken last year, more than 89 percent scored a 3 or better -- enough to win college credit. Hopewell Valley's high overall scholarship is annually recognized by the College Board. We have also expanded opportunities for all students to take an AP classes. Our inclusive efforts were acknowledged by the College Board who placed us on their Honor Roll, for increasing access to AP course work while simultaneously maintaining or increasing the percentage of students earning scores of 3 or higher on AP Exams. In addition, dozens of students are honored every year as AP Scholars. Through the PSAT, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation named 4 CHS students as National Merit Scholars and 15 CHS students as Commended Scholars in 2016.

Professional development continues to be a high priority in Hopewell Valley where rigorous standards, an extensive offering of workshops, and a mentoring system for our newest teachers reflect the district's belief that good teaching is the single largest factor in students' classroom success. The high caliber of the faculty is demonstrated in other ways as well. Teachers have collected regional and national honors, including being published in professional journals and authoring textbooks.

Hopewell Valley recognizes its obligation not just to educate its students about responsible citizenship, but to serve as a model as well. Construction in the district over the past several years has included energy-efficient systems such as geothermal heating and cooling systems, and solar heat recovery systems at Central High School, Timberlane Middle School and Bear Tavern Elementary School.

Hopewell Valley belongs to a proud community that is actively involved in its schools. Well-organized parent groups are engaged partners at all six schools. The Hopewell Valley Education Foundation works with generous local corporations to provide financial support for our district programs. The Recreation Foundation of Hopewell Valley has been an important fundraiser for athletic field development for area youth. Largely because of its efforts, the athletic fields at Timberlane and new field turf stadium are attractive and key facilities for Hopewell Valley’s student-athletes.

Finally, in order to maximize quality programs for staff and students, the district continues to partner with area school districts and municipalities to provide efficiencies through shared services.