MONTVILLE, NJ – Superintendent of Schools René Rovtar presented the Montville Township Public School District’s five-year strategic plan at the April 4 Board of Education meeting.
The district held a series of three public meetings in October and November of 2016, and then in January of 2017, to aid in the planning, Rovtar said. The first was designed to identify district strengths, opportunities and challenges, according to her presentation. The second was to put together a five-year vision for the district, she said, and the third was to develop goals and strategies. She said after the three public meetings, the administrative team “fleshed out formally the goals and objectives and then developed a five-year action plan.”
Rovtar said that during discussion, a number of common ideas were identified:
- “students developing a strong work ethic and an attitude that school work matters”
- developing well rounded students
- attracting and retaining talented and invested teachers
- responsible student citizens
- opportunities for gifted students
- programs to support students in areas like social media and substance abuse
- expanding extracurricular opportunities
- “adjusting the learning environment to best meet students’ needs, ie, explore later start time for high school”
- recognize the importance of community and parental involvement
- support academic improvement
- focus on student health: healthy eating, resilience, anxiety reduction
- greater access to technology
- increase STEM offerings (science, technology, engineering, math)
- provide ways for students to become active contributors to the community in many different ways including sports, music, art, talents, helping others
Rovtar said that the culture and climate surveys that had been performed in the district (read about that here), plus discussions during the public hearings showed that students’ stress and anxiety problems “came through loud and clear.” She said the technology initiative in this year’s budget to purchase a Chromebook (mini computer) for each student at the high school is part of the results of these discussions.
All of the ideas were reduced to four goal areas the district wishes to focus on:
- student and district achievement
- technology/STEAM (adding arts to the mix)
- school culture/climate/community involvement
- cultivation of faculty excellence
Objectives for the student/faculty achievement goal include ensuring students are accepted to the college of their choice, implementing a new gifted and talented program in the elementary and middle schools, and ensuring smooth transitions from elementary to middle school and then from middle school to high school.
Objectives for the STEAM portion include a STEAM day, a quarter-long class in STEAM at the middle school and extracurricular opportunities in coding and robotics.
The district would like to investigate starting the high school at a later time, because “starting at 7:15 a.m. is not hitting their prime time of day,” Rovtar said.
The district would like to implement programs and strategies to reduce stress, depression and anxiety, according to Rovtar’s presentation, and introduce a “service learning program at all grade levels to foster community involvement.”
The district would also like to develop an alumni network, increase efforts to provide substance abuse programs, make sure students are “upstanding digital citizens,” and increase school spirit at the high school.
These programs fall under goal number three of climate and community involvement.
Goal number four is faculty excellence, and objectives include “encourage staff innovation in developing ways to revitalize and refresh instructional programs and course offerings.” Compensation will be reviewed and the supervisor structure will be evaluated.
Rovtar thanked the public for their input and said the version presented directly to the board has the delineation of responsibilities for each objective outlined. She pointed out that this is not an immediate plan but will be implemented over five years. She said some objectives will take two or more years to be fully accomplished.
The plan was approved formally at the April 18 meeting.
The complete strategic plan is on the district website here.