The mission of the Hopewell Valley Regional School District is to provide a comprehensive, caring educational experience which nurtures the unique talents of each individual; creates fulfilled, socially responsible, life-long 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, a sending area of nearly 60 square miles with a population exceeding 20,000. Six schools comprise the district -- four elementary schools, a middle school and a high school. Enrollment for the 2011-2012 year was 3795, a slight decline from 2010-2011. In preparing our students for success, we offer a diverse and innovative curriculum guided by 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 post-graduate years. Eligible students who exhaust the extensive course offerings at Central High School take classes at nearby universities including Princeton and Rider, and for those interested in niche subjects, such as meteorology or Mandarin Chinese, online learning through Virtual High School and other web providers are available. 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- and cable-based resources and gives students new capabilities to create multimedia presentations. The system, allowing studio productions to be broadcast live into classrooms, offers students a digital-age production experience.
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.
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 2012, CHS students achieved an average SAT Reasoning test score of 551 in Critical Reading, 571 in Mathematics and 554 in Writing. All of these scores were significantly higher than state and national averages. Whats more, 86 percent of students took the SAT, reflecting Hopewell Valley's proud policy of aggressively encouraging students to take the test. Unlike some school systems, which tacitly discourage academic underachievers from taking the SAT in order to maximize their district's average statistics, Hopewell Valley believes the test has value to all students, including those who perform at lower-than-average levels, and encourages their participation. 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 the consistently popular Advanced Placement Program, 18 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 366 tests taken last year, more than 94 percent were scored a 3 or better -- enough to win college credit. Hopewell Valley's high overall scholarship is annually recognized by the College Board, which continues to honor dozens of students every year as AP Scholars, and the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, which named 1 CHS student as a winner, 2 as finalists and another 16 as Commended Scholars in 2012.
Professional development continues to be a high priority in Hopewell Valley where rigorous standards, an extensive offering of workshops, and a state-acclaimed 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 the ultra-competitive award of national certification by the selective National Board for Teaching Standards.
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 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 Central are attractive and key facilities for Hopewell Valleys 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.