Community Conversation

  • Do you have a question, comment, or feedback about the Community Conversation and the District's 5-Year Strategic Plan? If so, please email us at


    November 30, 2017

    Parents, staff and community members convened for a Community Conversation entitled “Building the Citizens of Tomorrow Today.” When registering, attendees were asked to select two of three offered breakout groups to attend. The purpose of the evening was to solicit input, give updates about district happenings, and answer questions. 

    Breakout topics included the following: 

    1. Equity

    Everyone, including our students, faces some obstacles that hamper their ability to achieve their full potential.  While some obstacles are easily identified, others may be subtle, hidden, or even disregarded.  This was the first of several sessions to explore these roadblocks and develop a plan to proactively reduce/eliminate any barriers that prevent all students from achieving their full potential. 

    Attendees were asked to consider the following: 

    • Students - What are the "unspeakables" that rarely get addressed in schools but you wish we would talk about?
    • Parents/Guardians - How can we improve access and opportunity for your child...and for you?
    • Teachers - What can we do as a community of educators to ensure that all children achieve high levels of success regardless of real/perceived barriers?
    • Administrators - How do we continually recruit, retain and inspire a top-notch diverse workforce that reflects our student population?
    • Board of Education - Do our policies and regulations help build or reduce/eliminate obstacles?
    • College/Universities - What can we do to ensure that college acceptance leads to college graduation?
    • Local Businesses - What can our schools do to better prepare our students for the workforce?
    • Community - How do we recognize and celebrate the gifts and contributions of all people?
    • Everyone - My voice is important - how can I help to foster a culturally responsive learning community and cultivate a climate of true equity in our schools? 
    1. Referendum

    Attendees learned basics of the January 2018 referendum and got answers to questions such as the following: 

    • What projects are included in the referendum?
    • How much will it cost?
    • When is the vote?
    • Will the state pay some of the costs?
    • Is there something in the proposal for each school?
    • Why are these projects necessary?
    • How can the projects improve education?
    • How can we be more secure at school?
    • What can we do to extend the life of our facilities?
    • How can we provide equal access to programs for all kids? 
    1. Learning for Tomorrow

    The world is ever changing. Attendees shared their thoughts as they explored the following: 

    • What skills do our students need in order to be prepared for job areas that do not exist today?
    • What qualities are businesses looking for in their employees?
    • What experiences should we offer students so they are career and/or college ready upon high school graduation?
    • What skills/strategies are necessary to help students reach their full potential? To lead a happy, fulfilling life?

    We are very appreciative of the support local businesses and individuals provided for the event, whether in the form of affordable centerpieces, babysitting, or door prizes. A special “thank you” goes to:

    • Willis Greenhouses
    • Chuckles Pizza & Pasta Restaurant
    • Kennections Hair Concepts
    • Fusion House
    • Lawrence High School
    • Leonardo’s Restaurant
    • Princeton Symphony Orchestra
    • Terhune Orchards
    • Yvette Panasowich


    November 3, 2016

    About 145 members of the community and staff attended our Community Conversation entitled “Building the Citizens of Tomorrow Today” on November 3, 2016. During a brief opening, Superintendent Crystal Edwards related the methodology uses to rate schools and shared “What Makes a School Great?” In case you missed it, here’s a short video of that portion of the program

    Attendees then broke out into one of four groups of their choice:

    • Referendum
    • World Languages
    • Gifted and Talented
    • Afterschool Programs 

    Discussions will continue for the World Languages and Gifted and Talented topics and we will broadcast dates once they’re set. Questions may be addressed to Dr. Andrew Zuckerman, director of instructional services, at or (609) 671-5410. 

    We are very appreciative of the support local businesses and individuals provided for the event, whether in the form of affordable centerpieces or door prizes. A special “thank you” goes to:

    • Willis Greenhouses
    • Chuckles Pizza & Pasta Restaurant
    • The Gingered Peach
    • Kennections Hair Concepts
    • Lawrence High School
    • Leonardo’s Restaurant
    • Princeton Symphony Orchestra
    • Tower Dogs
    • Yvette Panasowich

    February 16, 2016

    The Community Conversation originally scheduled for April 26, 2016 is postponed, possibly until the fall. Watch for more information.

    November 13, 2015

    This year’s Community Conversation is set for Tuesday, April 26, 2016 at 7 p.m. in the Lawrence High School Commons. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

    The district’s new, five-year strategic plan will be shared at the Conversation.

    Watch for more information.

    October 31, 2015 

    Approximately 50 people attended the Turf ‘n Treat on Saturday, October 31 in the Lawrence High School library, prior to the season’s last home football game. Athletic Director Alyson Fischer shared which fields on the Lawrence High and Middle Schools campus are designated to receive synthetic turf, outlined considerations informing the layout decision, shared which spring sports will be affected and alternate plans in place for those practices and competitions, and related an estimated project timeline. 

    The Decision and Design Team (DDT) and the architect met separately with reps from four turf manufacturers on November 2, 2015 and are now in the midst of selecting the project's turf type. Additionally DDT members will visit schools with various kinds of turf to see how the fields are holding up and to solicit considerations as to what the schools would do differently if they did turf again.


    Learn more in the November 1, 2015 issue of The Link.


    View Turf ‘n Treat presentation.


    March 18, 2015


    On March 18, 2015 over 50 people met for a Turf ‘n Talk as part of the planning for artificial turf installation somewhere on the Lawrence Middle/High School campus.  The discussion was not whether or not to have turf or to decide an exact location but rather to identify possibilities, considerations, and priorities.  The Board of Education (BOE) set aside $1.4 million towards the project in the 2014-2015 budget and has included $1.6 million in the proposed 2015-2016 budget.  The PowerPoint (PPT) and itinerary for the Turf ‘n Talk are linked below as well as feedback given during the meeting.


    As related in the PPT, next steps are:

    • Input from the Turf ‘n Talk will be shared with the Design & Decision Team (DDT)
    • DDT will share project scope with architect to generate possible designs
    • DDT will review designs and make final decision
    • Updates will be posted on the website and discussed during BOE meetings





    The DDT is scheduled to meet with the architects on April 1, 2015.  DDT members include:BOE:

    • Kevin Van Hise, Mike Horan, Glenn Collins, Jo Ann Groeger
    • Central Administration: Crystal Edwards, Tom Eldridge, Andrew Zuckerman, Lana Mueller
    • Administration: Alyson Fischer, Mindy Milavsky, Jon Dauber
    • Facilities: Bo Hitchcock, Steve Vandegrift
    • Community:  Delaine Jodain, Tim Moore

    Itinerary – March 18, 2015

    PowerPoint – March 18, 2015

    Turf ‘n Talk Feedback


    March 11, 2015

    As we related initially about the dates set aside to continue the Conversation about our next strategic plan, March 18th is the next meeting date.  Superintendent Edwards has said the special education and athletic strategic plans ultimately will be woven into the district's plan.  We want to use March 18th to focus on a part of the athletic strategic plan and to hold a "Turf and Talk." We are at the planning stage for getting turf and would like your input.  The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Lawrence High library.  Everyone is welcome. Please RSVP to

    We will keep you updated on the district's strategic plan progress virtually.  Watch for periodic emails as well as continue to check this "Community Conversation" site.

    February 25, 2015

    The Conversation continued.  Attendees reviewed goals within the district's current strategic plan.  In light of strengths and challenges related to desired skill sets identified in earlier meetings, attendees considered whether existing goals should continue in the new strategic plan, be modified, and/or be replaced by an entirely new goal.

    The administration now will draft the new strategic plan's goals and activities to accomplish the goals.  The Superintendent will keep people posted on the progress virtually.

    Current Strategic Plan Goals

    February 25, 2015 Input

    February 4, 2015

    Conversation about the district's new strategic plan continued.  Linked here are notes from that evening, a PowerPoint from the meeting, and transcribed input about strengths and challenges from those present.

    The next meeting is February 25, 2015 from 6:30-9 p.m. in the Lawrence High library.  Next steps are to:


    • Review strengths and weaknesses
    • Review data from athletic and special education strategic plans
    • Begin to develop district goals

    December 22, 2014

    It was clear that the time allotted for discussion in the breakout groups at the December 3, 2014 Community Conversation was just not enough.  So, as we announced at the evening’s conclusion, we will continue the conversation and hold a few follow-up meetings to allow for more input.

    On our busy district calendar, we scheduled the below dates to continue discussions.  We may not need all five but at least we’ll have the time set aside.  Meetings will be from 6:30-9:00 p.m. in the Lawrence High School library.

    • Wednesday, February 4
    • Wednesday, February 25
    • Wednesday, March 18
    • Wednesday, April 1
    • Wednesday, April 21

    On February 4th, we’ll pick up where we left off on December 3rd and feedback gleaned from all four breakout groups on December 3rd will be on hand.

    December 3, 2014

    Over 175 parents, community members, staff, and students were on hand as Lawrence Township Public Schools (LTPS) hosted a Community Conversation on December 3rd in the Lawrence High School Commons.  The district is in the last year of a five-year strategic plan and used the forum to solicit input for consideration as it drafts the next strategic plan.  This is the sixth consecutive year the district has invited the community to an event to hear an update on district happenings and to give input.


    At the Conversation, attendees received a brief update on the district’s progress on the current strategic plan and then moved to one of four breakout groups.  Each group was asked to consider the same question:


    What are 3-5 skills (in academic, social, emotional, behavioral areas) students need to learn to prepare them for the future?


    Summarized skill areas identified in the four breakout groups are:

    • Communication
    • Critical thinking/analysis
    • Problem solving
    • Personal management development
    • Executive functioning
    • Creativity
    • Foundational skills
    • Global citizenship

    More time was needed for discussion in the breakout groups so the next step is to “Continue the Conversation” in January.


    Prior to the Community Conversation, LTPS conducted a survey and requested responses from community members, parents, staff, and middle and high school students.  As the district is preparing students for jobs that do not even exist yet, LTPS solicited additional feedback about things to consider as it looks towards the future.  Over 1,600 people took the survey that generally asked questions to discover what people think:

    • the district is doing well,
    • on what the district needs to improve, and
    • what skills the respondents feel are important for LTPS graduates to have as they head into the future upon graduation. 


    Before the evening’s Conversation programs started, attendees browsed displays and spoke with representatives of Lawrence community organizations.  Those present were Every Child Valued, Lawrenceville Main Street, Lawrence Township Education Foundation, Lawrence Township Community Foundation, Lawrence Township Recreation Department, LTPS Athletic Booster Club, Boys and Girls Club, PEI Kids, Special Olympics and Sustainable Lawrence.


    Local entities providing door prizes for the evening are Willis Greenhouses, Chuckles, Candela Restaurant, Amalfi’s Restaurant, Kennections Hair Concepts, Tastee Sub Shoppe, and the Lawrence High School Booster Club.


    View video of the Community Conversation here.


    July 1, 2014

    Mark your calendar!  The next Community Conversation is set for Wednesday, December 3, 2014.  Watch for more info.

    July 16, 2013

    Mark your calendar!  The next Community Conversation is set for Thursday, November 14, 2013.  Watch for more info.

    January 3, 2013

    Topical discussions are scheduled for January 24, 2013 at 6PM.  These discussions are follow ups to those started at last fall's Community Conversation.  Topics, meeting locations and leaders, as well as contacts are outlined below.  Superintendent Crystal Edwards and Director of Instructional Services Andrew Zuckerman also will be on hand.  Please RSVP to the respective contact if you plan to attend or have questions.

    World Languages—Room 309.  Maureen Hayes, Barbara Beers, and Jessica Cincotta will lead.  Contact: Debby Rosetty

    G&T—High School library.  Kathy Robbins and G&T teachers will lead.  Contact: Kathy Robbins

    Increased Enrollment—Room 403.  Erin Servillo, Judy Bronston, and Jay Billy will lead.  Contact:  Tanisha Wells

    Athletics and Extracurricular Activities—Room 401.  Tom Eldridge, Mindy Milavsky, and Ken Mason will lead.  Contact: Beth Farletta

    November 9, 2012

    Outcome of Conversation: Topical Discussions to Continue

    Over 100 parents and community members attended our October 17th Community Conversation in addition to students and district administrators who were on hand for the evening. We appreciate the time people took to attend the evening and give their input. 

    Several comments about the Conversation indicated that people felt the evening was very worthwhile but there wasn’t enough time for discussion. So, as interest indicated and as we promised, we’re continuing discussions in four topical areas identified that evening. The areas are:

    • Increasing Enrollment
    • Gifted & Talented
    • World Languages
    • Athletics and Extracurricular Activities 

    If there’s another area you’d like to discuss, please indicate that also and if there’s enough people with the same suggestion, we’ll form groups for those topics.

    Please email Lana Mueller ( and indicate your area(s) of interest by November 14. After we receive feedback and assess interest, we’ll communicate the date, time, and location for the various groups to meet. 

    September 20, 2012

    Mark your's time for our next Community Conversation!An importantpart of our progress and planning is to collect feedback from a multitude of stakeholders.  Thus we hope you will attend on October 17 at 7:00 the Lawrence High Commons. Register here

    Come at 6:30 p.m. when doors open and meet some of our community partners.   

    This year's Conversation will include an update on our strategic plan goals and a selection of breakout sessions that include an informative tour of Lawrence High, Challenge Chats, and fiscal planning. 

    Challenge Chats will involve topics such as our increasing enrollment.  Fiscal planning will solicit priorities for our 2013-2014 budget planning and will outline considerations. One possibility that has been in the news recently is that of the federal government's withholding some of our No Child Left Behind and IDEA funds. 

    Babysitting is provided and the Lawrence High School Store will be open.  Stock up on Cardinal gear!

    We hope you'll come partner with us on the 17th!  

    October 17, 2011

    Approximately 150 parents, students, community members, and staff came together this evening in the Lawrence High School Commons for the Community Conversation. Doors opened at 6:30 p.m. so those who arrived early could meet Dr. Crystal Lovell, our new Superintendent as of September 1, 2011, as well as meet some of our community partners who displayed information about their organizations. Those partners included: Every Child Valued, Latinos Unidos, Lawrence Township Education Foundation, Lawrence Township Community Foundation, League of Women Voters, and American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life. Additionally there was an area in which district students and staff displayed technology utilizing 21st century skills, such as that used in the Middle and Intermediate Schools’ robotics programs. 

    The program began at 7:00 p.m. Crystal Lovell; Andrew Zuckerman, director of instructional services; and Marian Leibowitz, guest speaker and Lawrence resident, presented information about the district’s five-year strategic plan that runs from 2010-2015 and the four goals within the plan.

    • Academic Equity and Excellence
    • Fiscal Responsibility
    • Future Technology
    • Community Engagement

    (See presentation document linked below and also posted on Slide Share.)

    Participants had the opportunity to ask questions and then broke out into their choice of two of the following breakout sessions giving more details within the four goal areas.

    • Goal 1: What’s all the buzz about Career Academies?
    • Goal 2: What did you learn in school today? (curriculum tables and displays)
    • Goal 3: Dollars and Sense – solar, fiber, green initiatives, cost savings
    • Goal 4: Portrait of the 21st Century Learner (web 2.0, robotics, tech)
    • Goal 5: Community Outreach – Character Ed, Outreach Programs, Service Learning

    Attendees then reconvened in the Commons for small group feedback and closure. People could post questions or feedback not pertaining to the evening’s topic in a “Parking Lot” area so the district received the information. This input as well as feedback received about what people saw and heard during the evening is posted below and videotape of the evening has been shown on LTPS-TV.

    September 16, 2011

    Community Conversation Resumes--Save the Date!

    It's time to get together again! Please save the date of Monday, October 17 at 7PM for the district and community to meet in the Lawrence High School Commons to continue the Conversation that began in April 2009. The community will meet our new Superintendent, Dr. Crystal Lovell, and will learn details of the district's five-year strategic plan. There will be refreshments, babysitting, and door prizes! Watch for more details and registration info. We hope to see you there!


    May 2, 2011

    Community Conversation III Postponed until Fall

    May is typically a very busy month with things such as end-of-school year concerts and programs, religious celebrations, and sporting events. This year is proving to be no different.  Thus, Superintendent Phil Meara has postponed the May 10 Community Conversation III until the fall. 

    Please watch for a rescheduled date after the 2011-2012 school year begins in September.  Thanks again for your interest, and we hope to see you in the fall.  Stay tuned for more info. 

    April 2011


    Community Conversation III - May 10th.  Register now!

    Join us and continue the journey that led to the district's 2010-2015 Strategic Plan.  Begun with the "Conversation with the Community:  Educating for Success in the 21st Century" in April 2009, the district's Strategic Plan serves as a road may for achieving educational excellence.  In September 2009 Advisory Committees formed at the Community Conversation II for four strategic planning goal areas identified in the first Conversation -- Fiscal Responsibility, Academic Excellence and Equity, Community Outreach (global and local), and Technology (future).

    The Community Conversation III is Tuesday, May 10, 2011 from 7 - 9PM in the Lawrence High School Commons.  We encourage you to attend this forum even if you did not participate in the previous Conversations.  There will be babysitting and refreshments.

    On May 10th you will learn about the strategic plan and attend breakout sessions about programs within the plan and currently underway in the district.  Click here to register.  We hope to see you on May 10th!

    Questions?  Contact (609) 671-5405.

    February 2011

    Community Conversation the date!

    Mark your calendar and save the evening of Tuesday, May 10, 2011 to attend the district’s Community Conversation III.  Learn about the newly-developed five year strategic plan and current programs/initiatives underway.  Stay tuned for more information.

    September 2010

    District administration currently is developing action plans for the four goals identified during the strategic planning process. Once the action plans are finalized for the developing five-year strategic plan, they’ll be shared with the community. Stay tuned!

    October 2009

    The Advisory Committee meetings, another step in the Board of Education’s strategic planning process, are underway with the first of four having been held on September 30. Approximately 145 people…community members, staff members, parents, administrators, and Middle and High School students…attended that evening in the High School Commons. After first meeting as a group, attendees broke into one of four advisory committees to consider skills necessary to prepare students to be successful in a 21st century global marketplace. 

    A list of the four committees follows and feedback from the September 30th meeting is posted below. 

    • Academic Equity and Excellence
    • Community Outreach—local and global
    • Fiscal Responsibility
    • Future Technology

    The next Advisory Committee meeting is October 20 at 7PM in the High School Commons. Even if you weren’t able to attend the September 30th meeting, we encourage you to participate and join us on October 20. The groups will begin drafting action plans that evening for priorities they identified on September 30th.  In addition to those referenced above, several documents are posted below for the committees' consideration in this phase of the planning process.  The documents give feedback received via means such as the High School Task Force and the Parent Survey.

    For questions or to RSVP your attendance for October 20 (or the two subsequent meetings on December 1 and January 20), please contact Lana Mueller at or (609) 671-5405.

    August 2009

        Summer is almost gone and we're soon heading Back to School!


    As you may recall, the Board of Education (BOE) hosted a Community Conversation on Saturday, April 18, 2009 in the Lawrence High School Commons.  (See background info below.)  At that time attendees…community and staff members…gave their ideas about what students will need in order to be successful in the future.  What skills will they need in order to compete for jobs that do not exist yet?

    The BOE is ready to form advisory committees around five themes identified in feedback received during the April 2009 Conversation.  Plans call for the committees to meet four times during the 2009-2010 school year and to bring their recommendations to the BOE on April 28, 2010 at the second Community Conversation.  All committees will meet on the same dates.

    Join us on September 30, 2009 at 7 PM in the Lawrence High School Commons for the first committee meeting and kick-off of the next step in the BOE's strategic planning process. Subsequent meeting dates are October 20, December 1, and January 20...all at 7 PM in the High School Commons.

    Please RSVP your attendance for September 30 to Lana Mueller via email (  or (609) 671-5405. Provide your name, email address, and phone number.

    Enjoy the rest of the summer and...we'll see you in September!

    Community Conversation Background

    On April 18, 2009 the Board of Education hosted “A Conversation with the Community: Educating for Success in the 21st Century” in the Lawrence High School Commons. Approximately 150 people …parents, students (grades 7-12), district staff, and community members… attended. The event included panel and table discussions.

    The occasion was part of the Board of Education’s strategic planning process. The event’s purpose was to gather innovative ideas about what students will need in order to be successful in the future. What skills will they need in order to compete for jobs that do not exist yet?

    Next steps include the Board of Education’s consideration of all the Conversation’s feedback and identification of four or five main themes. The Board then will form focus groups around those themes. The groups will meet throughout the next year and will report their findings to the Board in the Spring of 2010.

    Read information about the Conversation event and feedback obtained during the event at the links below.  Additionally, if you were unable to attend on April 18 but would like to provide input, please do so at the link below.  You may also register to receive updates about the strategic planning process.