Asbury Park School Officials Repurposing Some Schools

A restructuring in the Asbury Park school district is scheduled to begin in September 2020 and will include students in grades seven to 12 attending all their classes at the high school instead of the elementary schools.

The high school will also feature dedicated entrances and exits for younger grades and staggered start times.

In addition, under the new plan Bradley and Thurgood Marshall Elementary will serve as Pre-K to third grade STEAM Academies and the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School will be transformed into an Innovation Academy for grades four to six.

School Superintendent Sancha K. Gray recently held her first stakeholder meeting to engage community partners in a discussion about the new plan.

The meeting, held in the Asbury Park High School Media Center, involved approximately 50 attendees including district administrators, staff, parents, elected officials, business owners, civic leaders, law enforcement, community advocates, school district partners and pastors. The purpose was to allow Gray to share her vision simultaneously with individuals and organizations who have partnered with and shared in the recent activities of the school district.

During the meeting Gray provided a detailed explanation for the much-needed transformational change. While the district’s moral imperative remains the same — to make sure each student is college- or career-ready when he or she graduates— the reality is the district will have to do more with less as a result of a $24 million reduction in state aid.

On the facilities front, the district will renovate and expand its current Buildings and Grounds location, which will become the future home of Central Office. Additionally, the Barack Obama Elementary School will be repurposed to support Buildings and Grounds as well as other activities. Input from stakeholders in the July 24 meeting as well as future ones will be used to determine additional uses.

Stakeholders also participated in several group sessions designed to gather their feedback on potential strengths, opportunities and threats to the proposed plan. Additional meetings will be convened in coming months as the district continues its R.A.C.E. (Reflect/Review, Assess, Create, and Execute) to get its students to the finish line – high school graduation.

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