Ms. Debora Frank is a current board member representing Kingwood Township, and she will be running for reelection on Nov. 2, 2021.
When it comes to “controversial issues” in the classroom, Frank said, “controversial topics usually arouse emotions and feelings, and that is why it is important to approach them with the least amount of bias as possible.”
“Some topics should never be considered controversial such as racism, sexism, LGBTQ rights and issues of inequity. These issues should be taught in a manner that allows students to examine the issue and develop critical thinking skills,” Frank said.
Meanwhile, topics like abortions, capital punishment, AI and healthcare can be defined as controversial, and students should be allowed to have their opinions acknowledged and well-respected. As a sitting BOE member, she plans on continuing to follow the BOE’s policies about teaching these issues.
“What one defines as a controversial issue is also relative to the time period and place where the topic is being discussed,” Frank said.
When considering budget priorities, Frank explains how important long term planning is. Budget priorities must be based on the mission and goals for the district. This practice will allow for superior extracurricular and educational opportunities.
Input from both the BOE and the superintendent helps balance out the educational programs with the district’s resources and budget.
“Not impacting students is the main goal in running a school,” Frank said.
Along with long-term planning, Ms. Frank believes that any budget cuts have to be data driven. By doing so, the BOE can ensure that academics and extracurricular activities are the last in line for cuts.
So far, Frank believes DVRHS has done a phenomenal job at managing non-teaching costs through service sharing. With the last large state budget cut fast approaching, managing these final reductions will allow DVRHS to find long lasting solutions for the school’s programs and models in the near future.
“We may have to implement an activity fee, and we must better promote our Academies so that students stay in the district,” Frank said concerning following the data to make informed budgetary decisions.
As the COVID-19 pandemic still lingers, Frank reflects on how drastic the impact of virtual learning really was. From creative lesson planning to the utilization of new technologies, DVRHS developed critical teaching styles that should continue to be used.
“Our top priority is always the health and safety of our students. We learned our students need to be in school,” Frank said.
Frank admits that students aren’t as engaged online as they are in a classroom, so the school should keep on providing more social and emotional support that students really need. Frank believes DVRHS’ staff went well above what was expected.
When it comes to new programs for DVRHS, Frank has three suggestions. Her main focus is on having a service learning program. An Ad Hoc committee investigated adding a service-learning graduation requirement in the 2019-2020 school year. As the pandemic hit in March 2020, this discussion went on hold; the idea is now making a comeback.
Teachers, board members and community members have joined the committee, and students can potentially put their input in as well.
“I believe volunteerism & community service are an important part of citizenship,” Frank said.
Frank would also like to see an Agriculture Academy and some more international exchange programs added to the school’s offerings.
As far as renovations go, Frank believes that the Media Center needs an update. There should be collaboration rooms, a coffee station, and a maker space area. Post COVID-19, students should relax after school or during lunch. Rather than just being used as a place to store books, the Media Center should be a place for discussions, homework and projects to be worked on in an “inviting and relaxing work space [that] promotes creativity,” Frank said.
As a community, we need to listen to all our stakeholders. Schools are the backbone of our community and we help to seed the solutions of tomorrow.”
— Debora Frank
Extracurricular activities also play a major role in a student’s education. Every student possesses different assets and strengths, and by having plenty of opportunities, DVRHS is able to meet the needs of the students.
The current BOE helped improve the clubs and sports by upgrading the auditorium, establishing a new weight room and starting the turf field project.
“For a small school, I think we do a great job with our concerts, plays, art exhibits, Changing Perspectives and sport teams,” said Ms. Frank.
According to Frank, DVRHS’ smaller size, caring staff and robust educational program shape the way the community is connected. Since the community is so familiar with one another, students can get a more personalized education.
Frank believes that DVRHS should also continue striving to be “Future Ready” by setting the students up for success.
By being the first school in Hunterdon County to receive this title, “it means having our students prepared for a technology driven workforce,” Frank said.
Frank believes that the BOE can continue to improve the school by creating a robotics team and finishing the new media center, but the current curriculum must be robust and should always continue to be personalized for the best success.
Frank is motivated to continue serving on the BOE as she has been a board member since 2009 and has been a part of many of DVRHS’ innovations.
For example, as a BOE member, Frank helped approve the building of the new science labs, establishing concurrent enrollment programs, starting the iPad initiative, installing solar panels and starting many Academies.
Frank is seeking re-election because she would like to continue to help the students. She believes that, as a whole, the community should seek solutions to help the students have a great education. During her time, she has helped reach many student goals through Strategic Planning, Educational Planning and Long-Range Facility Planning.
“As a community, we need to listen to all our stakeholders. Schools are the backbone of our community, and we help to seed the solutions of tomorrow,” Frank said.
If you agree with these ideas and wish to support this candidate, make sure to vote on Nov. 2.