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Watchung Hills Regional High School District - Watchung

Watchung Hills Regional High School serves both Somerset and Morris counties in New Jersey. Students come from Warren Township, Watchung, and Green Brook in Somerset county; and Long Hill Township in Morris county.Watchung Hills Regional High School Is a comprehensive secondary school that strives for educational excellence. The focal point of the educational program is the student. Students are taught to think logically and critically and to achieve their fullest academic potential. The school encourages individual self-realization along with social and civic responsibility. The educational program strives to create an awareness of and a tolerance for other cultures and an understanding of moral and aesthetic values.There is one seat in this election for a three year term.
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  • Sondra Fechtner retired

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    Freddie Hayeck Student, Watchung Hills Regional High School

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Biographical Information

What personal and professional experiences have prepared you for serving on the Board?

What do you consider the three most important challenges facing our local public schools at this time? How would you address these challenges?

Do you think that the current civics education in our schools is adequate? If not, what do you think can be done to improve it?

Qualifications/Experience Graduate University of Delaware former teacher North Plainfield WHRHS board member-36 years
Campaign Address 72 Cardinal Drive Watchung n.j. 07069
Campaign Email sjfechtner@optonline.net
During the many years I have been on our Board of Education, I have served on all committees with my strongest interest being in the Personnel and Education Committees. I have participated in the important decision of selecting five Superintendents over the years and have been involved with the assignment of all our present administrative staff. My knowledge of the many facets of our comprehensive school is deep and wide so I am able to explain reasons for past actions and relate history. I understand that this board is a Board of Overseers. Among important responsibilities are policies and budget as we strive for the best educational opportunities for our students.

I'm a long time resident of Watchung and my 4 sons are graduates of our school.
Certainly the digital age is upon us and schools are moving with the challenge. We have a new tool and we try to provide the the best opportunities for teachers and students to make this a positive learning environment. There is a move toward more collaborative teaching which seems to bring the technology and social skills together. Our school offers many diverse co-corricular actives which are important to help round out the development of our young students. These are listed on the school's website and I truly am impressed with the broad range of interests. Of course, we always struggle with the budget, how we allocate our resources. We are facing dealing enrollment with which I had experience early in my years on the board. There will be decisions to be made in our Program of Studies and budget considerations.
We aim to help our students become responsible and well informed citizens with the right (and, to me, obligation) to vote. This involves critical thinking which should be taught across the board. With academics and co-curricula programs such as Debating Society, Jr. Statesmen of America, Model U.N., Mock Trial, Future Business Leaders of America, Habitat for Humanity, we are encouraging and supporting awareness of responsibility for our government systems. Understanding U.S. and world government has become so complex, but I think we have a strong and successful department to address these subjects.
Qualifications/Experience ● Member of Watchung Hills Municipal Alliance ● Volunteer EMT at Watchung Rescue Squad ● Watchung Hills Senior Class President ● Resident of Watchung for 8 years ● Red Cross Volunteer ● Volunteer Tutor
Campaign Address 43 Sunbright Road, Watchung, NJ 07069
I believe I am uniquely qualified to serve on the Watchung Hills Board of Education because of the perspective I bring and my commitment to service. As a Watchung Hills High School student and class president, I understand the school from an insider’s perspective. While I know how great our school is, I see what can be improved to empower students for future success. My personal knowledge of the school will be an asset on the board.

Outside of school, I am also actively involved in the community. I am a volunteer EMT with the Watchung Rescue Squad, an Eagle Scout with Watchung Troop 32, and a member of the Watchung Hills Municipal Alliance. I find it part of my social contract to give back and welcome the opportunity to do more as a member of the Watchung Hills Board of Education.
School funding, class sizes, and a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (S.T.E.A.M.) education are the most important challenges our school faces.

A public school should provide students with a high quality education yet remain accountable to taxpayers. Tax hikes can not be the first option when looking to improve the school. To remedy this, I support generating outside revenue for the school. This allows the school to enhance its programs at no additional cost to residents. This can be done by leasing the name of the football field to a sponsor or local business. For example, the Summit High School Hilltoppers play at Investors Bank field. I will implement fiscal responsibility to curb wasteful spending, so residents get every penny out of their tax dollars.

As a student, I recognize the importance of small class sizes since students receive a more personalized education. I will work to keep class sizes down to improve student outcomes and maintain the integrity of our educational processes. I will establish continuous dialogue with sending K-8 districts. This will allow the high school board of education to adjust and adequately prepare for changes in student population.

Today’s students must be creators, innovators, and problem solvers to be successful in post-secondary education and in the workforce. As a member of the board, I will put a greater emphasis on a S.T.E.A.M. based curriculum to empower students with the necessary skills for today’s ever changing world. To do this, basic computer science skills can be intertwined into English and art classes. Universities such as Stanford and several states, including New York, have done this with positive results.

Another idea is to create a Makerspace, a modern-day shop class. These S.T.E.A.M. focused labs are outfitted with computer software, engineering tools, and 3D printers. Students become creative and innovative thinkers as they are free to design what they want.

At Watchung Hills, I received significant and meaningful civics education. It was from my history teachers that I was inspired to serve my community through civil service. However, there is always room for improvement and innovative opportunities. I will bring elected officials and civil servants from various levels of government to speak to the students. I feel this is an effective way to enhance civics education and foster a passion for service in future students.

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