Dr. Frederick Froehlich-North Penn Stronger Together
What inspired you to run for North Penn School Board? Anything specifically related to the current Board’s decisions over the last year?
I have wanted to run for this position for quite some time but due to prior professional commitments, I refrained from pursuing it until I felt I could devote the appropriate amount of time to such an important position. In the past, it was a way to give back to the community. Now, it is driven by a host of influences. I believe in a student-centered approach to learning. Providing students with engaging experiences and opportunities to seek out the best path for their individual needs is both needed and something I felt was lacking in many of the more recent decisions made by the board. These decisions include the prioritizing of athletics over air conditioning in our capital project priorities, the lack of focus on virtual security while we have been using hybrid and virtual learning, the changes to the aquatic program requirements for tenth graders despite overwhelming support of the PE staff to retain our previous program, and the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
What, if anything, would you have done differently in regards to the re-opening process throughout this school year?
It is always easy for me to look back with 20/20 vision and claim that I would have had the perfect solution for the COVID situation. However, I cannot say with any level of certainty that anything I may have done would have resulted in any better results. What I can speak to is that I would never have presented a return to school plan to the families and more specifically the students of North Penn which created expectations only to rescind the options after the fact. I would not have presented a plan without having a clear sense of the potential logistics of truly providing the options I would have been proposing. Despite my opinion, I don’t believe that we would have returned to full in-person instruction in September but I would not have allowed the public to feel that it was an option. In addition, I would have called on the other board members to support an initiative to be 100% transparent with regards to the metrics that were being used to determine our return to school plan. Other districts have used clearly defined percentages and a rationale for multi-tiered return to school plans. North Penn should have had a plan to do the same.
If elected, what will be your top priorities post-pandemic?
First and foremost, has to be addressing academic regression due to the use of non-traditional instruction for any student who is seeing measurable losses as a result of the pandemic.
Second would be to evaluate out course offerings and ensure that we have both course offerings and advancement plans for all levels of students. This would include more focused college planning for college bound students, technical or trade school exploration for those who feel that their strengths lie in these fields, job training for those who plan to enter the workforce out of high school, and what may be the most significant part of this plan would be to begin this exploratory process in the 7th grade.
My next priority would be to examine the district financial plan and budgeting in depth to determine where the district can develop a more financially responsible plan for spending. This would allow for the reallocation of funds to provide better classroom experiences for the students, outcome driven professional development for the teaching staff, staffing support for our administrators, and most importantly, the potential for tax relief for community members who have had the financial burdens of the district passed on to them.
How would your unique skill set and background be an asset to the Board?
As a PA certified teacher in 5 areas, I have spent 12 years in the public school system including 6 years as a subject teacher in the School District of Philadelphia, 5 years as a special education teacher in the Norristown Area School District, and have spent extensive time in summer remedial positions or extended school year programs at Cheltenham Area School District, Central Bucks School District, and Pennridge School District. In addition, I am the Twilight Program Facilitator at Pennridge which is a program designed to offer an alternate path to graduation for at-risk juniors and seniors. I am an adjunct assistant professor for Temple University and a course instructor for the University of the People. All of these positions have offered me perspective from a variety of school models and settings. I believe that the board benefits from those who are able to speak from current lived experiences in the classroom. In addition, I am a parent of three students in North Penn which has allowed me to take off my educator hat and, in a way, code switch taking on the role of a parent who has watched my children’s experiences over the years. The board would benefit from candidates who have this variety of lenses to look through.