Staff Spotlight - Melissa Strafer
Melissa Strafer, a World Language teacher at Freehold High School, was admitted to the Social Justice Academy at Monmouth University. The goal of the Social Justice Academy is to imbue new practices, new thinking, and new dispositions into the fabric of the interactions between students and school professionals to create a more equitable experience for their students. The program's focus caught Ms. Strafer's attention, and she was excited to learn she had been accepted as an academy participant.
"The Social Justice Academy helped open my eyes to issues related to equity in education throughout the country. Sitting in person at Monmouth University allowed for a more personal experience with other educators and professionals. We were able to share perspectives and ideas that I have taken with me and have incorporated into my classroom, as well as shared these ideas with my colleagues at Freehold High School and within the district," Ms. Strafer described.
Part of that incorporation into her classroom practices includes Ms. Strafer looking to find a deeper root cause for disruptive behavior or poor academic performance so that she may better connect with students.
The district is thrilled to confirm that Ms. Strafer has officially been awarded a $1,200 grant from the program and looks forward to working with her Principal to plan the next steps in the project which will focus on relationship building, academic success, and community relationships. Specifically, Ms. Strafer plans to use the grant money in a variety of areas, including purchasing professional development materials for staff, supporting student needs by working with the Student Assistance Coordinator in acquiring and dispensing personal care items from a “care closet”, and finally, by working with the School Counseling office in planning a student luncheon to showcase post-graduation options for 2- and 4-year college opportunities.