School board briefed on three-year strategic plan to improve equity in education

The Hopewell Valley Regional School District administration building in Pennington.

A strategic plan for equity in education throughout the Hopewell Valley Regional School District (HVRSD) recommends investments in areas such as curriculum development.

The plan, which was presented by Adriana Abizadeh, president of Catalyst Consulting Group, was provided to the public and school board at the Board of Education’s Jan. 24 meeting.

Not only were recommended investments toward the district’s curriculum development, but also its professional development, and community forums and communications.

“The plan does value very highly the use of data, really evaluating where our outcomes are currently and how equity is distributed throughout those outcomes and where we would like to see ourselves moving forward,” Abizadeh said. “The plan also does require some deep intentionality around reflection of outcomes.”

Under curriculum development, the plan has the district evaluating data and resources for cultural responsiveness and representation across various subjects; integrating coalitions throughout the district; integrating curriculum across different subject matters; and identifying gaps and the resources needed and allocating those resources appropriately, according to the strategic plan.

For the 2021-22 school year, regarding curriculum development some milestones the district can measure progress included surveying parents, teachers, staff and students about additional equity topics and issues; assessing literature to adopt new texts from diverse authors; and examining access equity in the district for extracurriculars, Advanced Placement and honors courses.

With professional development the plan outlines ensuring the district’s professional training opportunities also reflect goals pertaining to equity in education; identifying benchmarks for progress after training and implementing incentivization strategies; and increasing engagement with student groups.

“In the last strategic priority area, as I noted, was community forums and communications. This really stemmed from ongoing conversations with parents, as well as district staff, around the ability to convey wins and successes that have occurred to date,” Abizadeh said.

For community forums and communications, the plan recommended providing students the opportunity to curate social media; improving the district website and communications to include diversity equity initiatives and progress; and increasing the community engagement aspect of the efforts in equity in education.

“The school district cannot sacrifice the few for the sake of the many. Just really ensuring as we are thinking about equity, everyone is included in that lens, irregardless of their background, socioeconomic status, their learning style or anything that would differentiate us as individuals,” she added.

Catalyst Consulting Group has been working with the school district since the summer of 2021 and presented the strategic plan specifically around equity in education for the school district’s next three years.

Stakeholder groups involved in the strategic plan were teacher staff, administration leadership and parents.

“This is a living document and can be modified and adjusted if priorities and timelines change,” Abizadeh said.

For more information on the strategic plan on equity in education, visit