Schools Steering Committee Continues Work On District Mission, Goals

Education consultant JoAnn Perotti led a group of parents, school administrators, district officials and faculty through a strategic planning workshop on Jan. 11.

New goals for the school district and strategies to achieve them were the main topics Jan. 11 at a strategic plan workshop held at Franklin High School.

About 50 people – school and district administrators, faculty, parents and Board of Education members and Mayor Phil Kramer – met in the school’s cafeteria for the fourth in an ongoing series of meetings designed to update the district’s mission and establish a new set of goals.

The group is known as the steering committee, and has an outside consultant – JoAnn Perotti of Pennsylvania – leading it.

The group started meeting in October 2016 and, Perotti said, its work should be completed by June.

Group members sat around small tables and conferred among themselves, then wrote down their conclusions and gave them to Perotti.

She said she would take the comments and put them in one document. A sub-committee of the steering committee will then meet and distill the comments further, in preparation for the larger group’s next meeting on March 13.

“We were way up at 30,000 feet,” she said. “We’re kind of drilling down now, looking at the bigger picture get smaller and smaller with more concise information.”

The district updates its mission and goals every three to five years, said schools Superintendent John Ravally.

These are the district’s current goals:

  • To continue to expand our curricular program and learning opportunities to be inclusive of all learners with a focus on improving achievement and promoting student individual growth leading to improved community satisfaction with our schools.
  • To offer professional development opportunities in all schools focused on energizing and empowering staff to make meaningful instructional changes through the use of data protocols with an emphasis on transitional grade levels.
  • To begin a multi-year planning process for grade reconfiguration and necessary changes in attendance zones required for a successful implementation of the One Less Move referendum projects.
  • To continue progress on our facilities projects with the least amount of disruption to the educational process while ensuring the safety and well-being of students and staff.

The district’s mission currently reads as follows:

“The Mission of the Franklin Township Public Schools is to provide excellent educational opportunities that meet or exceed New Jersey Student Learning Standards for every student; maintain an environment that engenders an appreciation of the value of every student; develop every student to his/her highest potential; and instill the attitudes, skills, and knowledge necessary to become independent, contributing members of a multi-cultural representative republic.”

There were three updated versions of the mission being considered by the group on Jan. 11; Perotti said steering committee members were favoring the following:

“Our mission is to provide educational opportunities; instill the attitudes, skills, and knowledge necessary to become independent, contributing members of a global community; foster an environment that engenders an appreciation of the uniqueness of every student and challenge every student to achieve their highest potential.”

Perotti sent the members home with assignments, questionnaires asking for the members’ thoughts on “what do we need to do when it comes to improving student achievement, improving professional development, grade reconfiguration and attendance and facilities,” she said.

“This is what floated to the top the last time we met, when we asked what were the strengths and challenges for the district,” Perotti said. “We want to turn these into strategies and action plans.”

“You don’t have to write everything down, but from your perspective, what should the district be doing in the next two to five years in these areas,” she said.

“What’s exciting about this process is that its not that Dr. Ravally is sitting in his office making these decisions, it’s a representative group of stakeholders of the community coming together and looking at where do we want to go in the next three years,” she said.

Derrick Castillo, a father of three children in the school district, said the meeting was “very informative.”

“I got to sit with some of the administrators and educators and listen to what they had to say,” he said. “This was my first meeting. Now that I have the schedule, I probably will attend the next one and see what progress we made.”


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