Names in the News: Superintendent Kathryn Powers
Nearing her one-year anniversary as the superintendent in Twinsburg, Patch asked Kathryn Powers about her experience and the future
Her name is Kathryn Powers.
Nearly a year ago she was chosen as the new superintendent for the Twinsburg City School District.
Since then she has had the task of making some tough decisions, including navigating through $3.2 million in cuts and changes to the district.
So how was her first year?
Twinsburg Patch caught up with Powers to discuss her experience so far and what she sees in the future.
Twinsburg Patch: What do you love about the community of Twinsburg?
Kathryn Powers: I have had the great fortune of being a resident of Twinsburg since 1997. Twinsburg is a wonderful place to live! As an educator, I want to live in a community that embraces families and supports its school district. I also want to live in a community that celebrates diversity and remains proactive in regard to economic development and conservation efforts. I am proud to call Twinsburg my hometown!
Patch: You are coming up on your one-year anniversary with the schools as superintendent. How would you describe your first year here?
Powers: My first year as superintendent of the Twinsburg City School District has been very busy and very exciting! I have enjoyed familiarizing myself with our parents, students, staff and community members and learning about all of the programs and services we offer. We have so much to be proud of in our school district. Our students excel academically, athletically, in social awareness and in the arts. Our parents and community members are extremely supportive! Our staff is hard-working and dedicated to providing our students with the very best instructional programming available while also insuring that our learning environment is child-centered. It truly is my pleasure to be here!
Patch: It’s been a challenge this year dealing with the school finances. How do you hope to navigate the District’s financial future?
Powers: As you may know, the board of education and the administrative team have been very concerned about the district’s financial outlook. With Tangible Personal Property Tax diminishing with an impact of a $9.8 million reduction in revenue to the General Fund, one of the district’s goals this year was to develop a comprehensive financial plan that proposes a combination of expenditure reductions and revenue increases in order to maintain stability resulting in a balanced budget in fiscal year 2016.
After months of gathering feedback from members of our three communities, the Operational Change Plan was developed. Components of the plan include reductions in staff, implementation of Academic Fees and Pay-to-Participate Fees, along with the implementation of technological strategies which will increase the efficiency of District operations. The $3.2 million Operational Change Plan was developed with careful consideration of our community members’ input and with the focus being the continuation of excellent educational programming for our students.
Patch: What are the big things Twinsburg parents should know about the sweeping changes to education from the state?
Powers: Ohio’s Education Reform Movement, otherwise known as “Start Ready Ohio…Graduate Ready”, is built upon the belief that since our lives have changed so drastically due to advancements in technology, changes in job requirements and the evolution of how we communicate, public education must change in order to prepare our students for successful lives as citizens in the 21st century.
Today’s students must be prepared to use creativity, innovation, problem solving skills and collaborative efforts while at the same time engaging in a much more rigorous instructional program so they are prepared to be competitive in the workforce. The reform movement includes multiple components, however, the most important ones include the adoption of more rigorous standards known as the Common Core Standards in Language Arts and Math and the revised Academic Content Standards in Science and Social Studies.
The new and revised standards are being integrated in classroom instruction in the coming school year and will require our students to master much more rigorous learning objectives. The manner in which students will be assessed is also changing as we move from paper-and-pencil assessments to those completed online. This change is expected to occur during the 2014/2015 school year. As this will be a tremendous shift in the manner in which students show mastery of the learning objectives our school district will begin the process of introducing online assessments for classroom instruction in the coming school year.
In addition to changing the manner in which our students are assessed, a new system of evaluation for teachers, principals and superintendents is being introduced. The new system is evidence-based and will require educators to be able to produce evidentiary artifacts to support professional goals. Finally, the Education Reform Movement brings changes to the “look” of the District Report Card. As you know, the Twinsburg City School District is proud of its designation of “Excellent with Distinction”. The Education Reform Movement will replace districts’ designations with a letter grade of A-F.
As we move toward implementation of the Education Reform Movement, I will work to keep our families and community members informed of our District’s progress.