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Freehold Regional High School District Presents Draft Strategic Plan

Freehold Regional High School Superintendent Charles Sampson
Freehold Regional High School Superintendent Charles Sampson (photo Ilya Hemlin)

The Freehold Regional High School District is putting big expectations into the presentation of their draft of the strategic plan which hopes to further raise educational standards.

After several months of work between board of education members, community stakeholders, and district staff and administration, the draft of the strategic plan is presented officially to the board of education Tuesday night. The board will be asked to adopt a new mission statement which hopes to form a more unifying and direct education goal for the students. The new mission says FRHSD will “form a diverse supportive community offering innovative, comprehensive programs that inspire students to maximize their potential, empowering them to be productive citizens prepared to navigate an ever-changing world.”

The plan was spearheaded by Superintendent Charles Sampson, who saw the need for a change in initiatives. He notes that “over the past couple of years we’ve lacked a coherent district vision of ‘how do we continually improve and how do we take a high functioning system and make it better?’”

What will be presented to the BOE is a set of objectives which include lofty goals that ask that “all students will actively participate in their community”, “all students will explore and pursue an individual post-secondary plan”, and “all students will exceed expectations for proficiency on local, state, national, and international assessments.”

Sampson acknowledges that the goals are lofty, especially since they call for “all” students to be able to achieve them, however the superintendents says it was intentional.

“The intention and the strategy is intentionally ambitious. We think that if you do not in the word of Jim Collins …”have that audacious goal out in front of what you want to become then you’re never going to reach it.’ So it’s an intentionally ambitious plan.”

Within those objectives, there are seven strategies which Sampson hopes will be able to get into the action stage which would then see them be carried out.

From here on out, members of the community, administrators, and board members will have a very vocal role in terms of how the strategic plan get’s carried out. Sampson says “We will be reaching out to a broad range of community members over the next month or so to form action planning teams.”

While all of the points being brought up to the BOE were already culled from several opinion sessions, the entire process front to back will be open for input and augmentation based on people’s opinions.

One of the methods in which the strategic plan will be open to the public is through a custom website designed by the district which will detail every step of the plan throughout its development as well as have ample room for opinion, discussion, and feedback.

“Once we open up the web presence we expect to get a much wider voice. ” says Sampson.

Sampson adds that one of the advantages of the plan is that it will make future budgets easier to plan out. He notes everything within the strategic plan is covered in the upcoming budget, so no grants or increases are necessary currently.

“It improves our ability to budget for our initiatives because what it does is it gives you a clear road map so year after year, we can sit there and  look at our competing strategies over our budget and say over our long term strategy, these are our goals for a particular year.”

The plan will be tackled as in a five year time span, and Sampson hopes it’s something that will survive any regime changes and become a staple for the district.

“When we say lifelong learner, what does it mean exactly? And how do we make sure that every component of the organization understands that meaning. From the superintendent on down.”

However, with FRHSD being considered an excellent school district, he is quick to note it presents a certain challenge.

“The real nitty gritty, the difficult part is improving that and making our system better. We really feel strongly that a strategic plan with a five year specific plan where we can measure and gauge our success at is a critical component…We have a school district that’s doing very well, so let’s not throw everything out.”

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