Hopatcong residents interested in serving on the “High School of the Future” task force being formed by the board have until Oct. 1 to sign up.
Board of Education president Clifford Lundin said this week that so far 30 residents have indicated a willingness to serve on the panel.
The board would also like to discuss hiring a facilitator from the New Jersey School Boards Association to assist in the formation of the task force and the development of goals.
The task force idea was put forth in late summer after New Jersey Monthly magazine in its annual high school ranking issue placed Hopatcong High School at 289, a drop of 89 slots from its 2011 ranking as the 200th best school in state.
At the time, Lundin told residents at a public meeting that the slide in ranking made him angry and frustrated.
The district in recent years has realigned its K-12 curriculum in math, science and reading to match with state and national standards, he said.
In addition, the district invested more than $500,000 in new text books to support the new curriculum. The board hired Noreen Lazariuk as the new high school principal and reorganized the administrators in four schools.
The goals for the task force set by the school board are: to address and assess the future needs of our high school students in the areas of academics, activities, athletics, the arts, and college and career readiness. Superintendent Charles Maranzano said Wednesday the task force would be formed as a subcommittee of the school board.
The activity at present is procedural, he said, simply to get the task force in place.
Once organized, he said he would expect the group would perform an analysis of the present conditions to determine the strengths and weakness of the district, a standard analytic tool.
Based on that analysis, Maranzano said, the task force could form subcommittees to examine specific areas of the district, such as curriculum, facilities, discipline and others.
Once that process is done, the task force could make recommendations for additions or deletions to current programs and procedures.
This is not a quick process, he said.
“In the end, I think they will find that they have a capable, traditional high school,” Maranzano said.
Still, the task force could decide to add programs, seek to become, for example, a magnet school for the arts, or make other choices, he said.