"Make today worth remembering." ~ Zig Ziglar
Welcome to the Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School District 2017-2022 Strategic Plan
- Strategic Plan
- Development Process
- Steering Committee
- Components of the Plan
- Comprehensive Program Analysis
In our district, we value:
- creative thinkers who curiously ask questions, judiciously take risks, and relentlessly tackle challenges.
- adaptable citizens who act with integrity and compassion, modeling excellence, courage, inclusion, and equity.
- responsible collaborators who hold themselves personally accountable for their words and actions.
- reflective, lifelong learners who passionately seek knowledge through critical and innovative thinking.
- enterprising individuals who ardently explore their own potential and willingly and continually enrich the world around them.
In our district, we:
- always focus always on what is best for our students.
- ensure that all voices are heard through clear, consistent communication.
- provide consistent programs to empower all of our students, staff, and stakeholders.
- provide safe environments in which all students can learn.
- recruit, train, and retain quality staff.
- regularly celebrate the achievements of our students, staff, and the larger community.
- work diligently to ensure consistency of process, program, and product.
In our district, we do not:
- act complacently when it comes to the safety and security of students and staff.
- disregard the professional learning needs of our staff.
- grow certain programs at the expense of others.
- ignore problems and avoid challenges.
- implement new initiatives without comprehensive professional development.
- raise issues without offering solutions.
- waste the valuable resources that the district has.
In order to achieve this vision, the district is committed to the following goals:
- Communication - By June 2022, the district will have created, implemented, and annually evaluated and refined a clear and effective two-way communication system that allows all stakeholders to efficiently and meaningfully contribute to the district’s mission.
- Health and Wellness - By June 2022, the district will have developed, implemented, and annually evaluated and refined programs and policies to support the health and well-being of our students and staff.
- Program - By June 2022, the district will have developed and implemented a consistent, thorough, data-driven, multi-year process for analyzing current program for relevancy and alignment to the most updated standards. This process will ensure that both content instruction and program configuration are comprehensive, innovative, sustainable, and effective.
- Safety - By June 2022, the district will have developed, implemented, and annually evaluated and refined our systems and procedures to provide the safest environments for our students, staff, and community stakeholders consistently in all district facilities and at all district events.
- Sustainability - By June 2022, the district will have implemented and refined a budget process that supports best practice and ensures the most safe and welcoming environments that are conducive to learning for all students. This will include long-range plans for key areas, permanent annual allocations, and a consistent focus on our responsibility to all students and stakeholders.
- Technology - Consensus Recommendations- By June 2022, the district will have developed, implemented, and annually evaluated and refined a clear process for ensuring the most effective and consistent use of technologies by students, staff, and community stakeholders in support of our mission.
During the 2016-2017 school year, the Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School District engaged in the strategic planning process. This site provides information on the rationale for engaging in the process, each step of the process, and the desired end result. For more detailed information, use the links to the left. We encourage members of the community to stay involved as the plan is implemented. Below is a general summary of our work.
Decision to Plan
During our Board Retreat in October 2016, the Board of Education determined that it was time to renew our planning process. They established a Board goal to develop a full plan by June of 2017. The goal of the plan is to create a foundation to guide our work over the next five years. The full plan will include expected pieces (Values, Mission, Vision) as well as plans for the future (Goals/Action Teams).
Three Board members were selected to form the leadership team for the planning process. The team serves as a liaison of the Board to oversee the process through completion.
A 60-member Steering Committee (link here) was chosen from more than 300 applications to represent the Bridgewater and Raritan communities. After reviewing all applications, selections were made to create a Committee that best represented the various stakeholder groups across the district. This Committee met for the first time at the end of December.
The critical first step of strategic planning was engaging community stakeholders. It is crucial for the Steering Committee to involve as many community members as possible, gathering necessary information from which the pieces of the plan will derive.
Four means for gathering information were used, beginning in early February. First, online surveys were sent to targeted stakeholder groups (students, parents, and staff). As well, a general public survey was released for community members and alumni.
Also, focus groups were held throughout February and into March.
Finally, the Board commissioned both a demographic study and a building utilization study.
The information generated from each of these became the foundation for our planning.
Following the completion of information gathering, the Steering Committee reconvened and, using the information generated by the administration and from our February work, built the components of the strategic plan.
The Steering Committee presented its work to the Board on May 23. During Board Retreat on June 13, the Board worked to complete the plan. The finalized plan was presented to the public on June 27.
Beginning in July, Action Teams will be formed and the next level of work will begin: Building Toward Our Vision.
The Steering Committee will explore: what the district stands for; what the district is successful at; and where the district can improve. It will take the information from our surveys, focus groups and demographic/facilities studies to create the plan that will guide our efforts over the next five years.
Members were chosen to ensure and to balance representation from each of the diverse stakeholder groups within the district.
Kawsar Ahmed, Community Member
Ariel Baxter, Certified Staff - Middle
Steve Beatty, Certified Staff - High
Rachel Berg, Community Member
Tami Billy, Community Member
Tammy Bloom, Community Member
Zack Bray, Councilman - Raritan
Patrick Breslin, Community Member
Janmarie Carr-Jones, Certified Staff - High
Anne Marie D'Andrade, Certified Staff - Elementary
Debra Distasi, Community Member
Jason Draine, Certified Staff - Intermediate
Carla Engstrom, Community Member
Lisa Ferreria, Supervisor - SE - K-5
Will Ferry, Principal - Intermediate
Cathleen Fillipello, Vice Princpal - Intermediate
Lauren Fitzsimmons, Certified Staff - High
Dan Fonder, Principal - Elementary
Stacey Frank, Community Member
DeeAnnah Ghazarian, Certified Staff - Elementary
Kristia Greenberg, Support Staff
Daniel Hayes, Mayor - Bridgewater
Brian Henry, Supervisor - HPE - K-12
Wen-Ling Hsu, Community Member
Nancy Iatesta, Principal - Middle School
Jessica Ivan, Community Member - APEX
Karen Jones, Director
Ribhu Kansal, Community Member
Marge Kerr, Principal - Elementary
Brian Kitchin, Certified Staff - Elementary
Debbie Kulak, Community Member
Russell Lazovick, Superintendent
Lin Lin, Community Member
Katrina Macht, Certified Staff - Intermediate
Russell Maciolek, Community Member
Jason Mauriello, Supervisor - MA - 9-12
Lori McLain, Certified Staff - Middle
AnnMarie Mead, Board Member
Mark Morrell, Principal - High School
Candy Mulligan, Supervisor - ELA - K-4
John Murphy, Community Member
Andres Ospina, Manager of Technology
Anne Pericone, Community Member - SEA
Daniel Petrozelli, Board Member
Megan Pryll, Certified Staff - Elementary
Konstanze Seifert-Ethier, Community Member
Kristy Shurina, Community Member - Education Foundation
Daniel Silvia, Assistant Superintendent
James Singagliese, Principal - Elementary
Steven Singer, Community Member
Peter Starrs, Business Administrator
Kristen Taylor, Supervisor - SE - 9-12
Melanie Thiesse, Board Member
Brigitte Tsampalis, Community Member
Marin Vitali, Certified Staff - Intermediate
Quinn Whalen, Certified Staff - Elementary
Mauria Zalavary Kunkel, Certified Staff - Middle
Strategic plans follow a variety of formats, and when comparing the plans of public school districts, you will find that few, if any, are exactly alike. Often, you will find the same “key parts” from plan to plan appear similar, but they often represent different ideas.
Bridgewater-Raritan’s plan will develop:
- Value Statements
- a Mission Statement
- a Vision Statement
- Goal Areas
- Goal Statements
- Action Teams
- Below is a description of each piece.
Values are a set of principles, or an organization's constitution, which specify how and why an organization will conduct its business. They symbolize what an organization stands for, what it believes, and what guides its behavior and decision making. Values represent a stake in the ground and define an organization's position on various key issues. Furthermore, values explain how an organization attends to its internal business affairs, how it achieves its work product, and how it maintains its rapport with its clientele. In short, the way an organization does business is encapsulated in its value statements.
Every organization exists for a specific purpose. For an organization to achieve greatness, it must articulate and internalize its core purpose in everything it does. All processes and each resource used should be measured by how they support the mission of the organization.
Rather than defining core purpose, vision is a declaration of what an organization aspires to be. An organization identifies mission, examines how and how well it is meeting this mission, and creates a vision that goes beyond current practice. Vision is always ahead of practice. Vision can constantly be reached and revised without touching mission.
While a Mission Statement only changes as the core function of an institution evolves over time, a Vision Statement establishes desired growth in form and function. Vision Statements may be altered whenever the goals that support that vision are measurably achieved.
An organization must identify practices that may or may not exist in a district that would assist the district in successfully achieving the strategic vision. Strategy statements are clear statements of these practices that the district needs to embed in its culture. Stating them allows the district to constantly plan with them in mind. They are a statement of how a district will approach all decisions. The achievement of the district’s strategic vision should allow for these to become integral pieces of our culture.
An organization must identify practices that exist in a district that interfere with proper practice and impede with the successful fulfillment of the strategic vision. Delimiter statements are clear statements of these practices that the district needs to prevent from becoming part of its new culture. Stating them allows the district to constantly plan with them in mind. They are a statement of that which should not exist going forward. The achievement of the district’s strategic vision should ensure that these practices or beliefs are not a part of our culture.
When evaluating an organization's vision, it must define the areas in which it must enact change. These large areas within the organization allow for specific goal statements to be created. More importantly, defining these larger areas allows the district to plan to integrate the various aspects of its vision.
Goals are broad but measurable statements of specific accomplishments the district needs to achieve in order to realize its stated vision.
Having developed all facets of the comprehensive strategic plan, the district must design clear teams to lead the strategic work based on goal areas and, if necessary, specific goal statements.
June 20, 2018
At its retreat for the 2017-2018 school year the Board of Education set the following goal:
The Board of Education will, by June 2018:
- ensure effective, consistent program across the district.
- Actions to include:
- requiring an assessment of the recent demographic and facilities use study and its implications on program
- requiring an assessment of current program in line with best practices and the academic needs of our students
- requiring the exploration of options in providing comprehensive, consistent program
- require the superintendent to develop and present a study that includes:
- a comprehensive analysis of current program
- options to grow or restructure program based on current best practices
- the costs associated with implementing options
- Actions to include:
This report was created to allow the Board to make important decisions with a clear understanding of the larger needs of the district. At the start, it was designed to explore areas that are both critical to students and the larger community and that dramatically impact the district’s resources. The initial areas included:
- Before and After School Care
- Full Day Kindergarten
- General Curriculum
- Gifted and Talented
- Special Education
- Extra/Co-curricular Activities
During the preparation of the report, some of these areas have been combined. As well, three additional areas were added:
Facilities, which are a both important and a large expense, are not included in this report as the Board has already developed a long-term plan for this area. The Long-Range Facilities Plan (LRFP) was developed during the 2016-2017 school year. It takes into account all of the major aspects of maintaining our more than $200 million dollars in facilities by balancing over years the predictable, major expenses that are part of the regular operations of a school district. From this rotating plan, the Board was able to determine the funds needed to create a permanent allocation only large enough to support the year-to-year expenses within the plan. What is important to this report is not the plan itself, but the fact that current budget does not fully fund this permanent allocation. Over two years, the Board has moved from budgeting 14% of the needed yearly funds to 84%, but the reality that the Board and members of the public must keep in mind is that this is not 100% of what is determined to be needed. This impacts how we may proceed with decisions in each of the focus areas.
To fully understand these programs, the Board must keep in mind the population it serves. In order to place these decisions in an accurate context, the Board contracted a demographer in the 2016-2017 school year. His goals included providing a current breakdown of our student population and facilities use, a projection of future student populations, and the impact of the determined growth or decline on facilities use. The report begins with a review of this information so that the examinations of each area can be understood within our projected reality.
In examining each area, the report informs when and how an area could positively impact the district’s revenue; however, it also clarifies the impact to resources and expenditures that growth of any one area will have.
Final thoughts are provided at the end of the report. There are no recommendations for one area over another. The purpose of the report is to inform discussion of each area within a larger whole and support long-term decision making by constructing a comprehensive picture of the district’s needs.
--Thank you for your interest in our work.