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Schools: Goal is to educate 'whole child'

by Gina Mace | Reporter Published: September 7, 2016 12:00 AM
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Twinsburg -- In crafting their goals for the 2016-17 school year, the Twinsburg City School District Board of Education, staff and administrators say they considered the "whole child."

After an Aug. 31 Board work session to finish a second draft of the proposed goals, superintendent Kathryn Powers said educators need to be aware that there is much more to the development of a child than school work and test scores.

"Behind every data point is the heart and soul of a child," Powers said. "If there are social issues, drug or other issues, they can't learn."

That's why each of the four proposed written goals start with "The Twinsburg City School District will be student centered ... "

It's also why the goal for student achievement includes not just focused curriculum and quality professional development, but community partnerships and development of the whole child as well, Powers said during the work session.

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As one of the steps toward student achievement, the school district is planning a parent forum on the opioid epidemic, Powers said.

There will also be less testing, she said.

"The teachers are happy and the kids will be less stressed," Powers said.

The financial goal focuses on maintaining fiscal integrity, transparency and accountability.

Board member Kathy Turle-Waldron suggested the district join the Ohio treasurer's Online Checkbook to assist with transparency in financial reporting. The Online Checkbook gives local governments an opportunity to post their income and expenses on a website where it can be viewed by the public.

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Board Vice President Mark Curtis said the district is already transparent when it comes to how taxpayers' money is spent.

"Anyone can obtain our financial information," he said.

Board President Rob Felber said completed audits are released to the public as soon as they are received by the Board, and Powers pointed to the five-year plan completed and posted on the district website earlier this year that spells out school finances.

Treasurer Martin Aho said he receives very few public record requests for financial information.

"Very few Ohio school districts use the Online Checkbook," Aho said.

A third goal for the district is community relations through communication and engagement with the community. Powers is working on focus groups and the Board agreed that communication and partnership with the community is important to support student growth and development.

The final goal area is toward facility and grounds, or capital improvements. Their biggest challenge is how to keep the school environment warm, safe and dry with limited funds, board members said.

Before the work session, Powers led a committee of Twinsburg educators and administrators to complete a first draft of the goals.

"It's a blueprint for the school year," Powers said. "The Board will approve goals that will guide our staff and focus on student successes."

The work session was an opportunity for the Board to look over and tweak the proposed goals.

"They will be introduced to the community as a resolution at a [future] Board meeting," Felber said.

This is the sixth year the superintendent and Board have set goals for the school year, Powers said.

"The annual goal-setting work session is not the only time the Board and administration reflect on past accomplishments," Felber said. "We continue to hone our efforts for the continuing well-being of our students."

Email: gmace@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9423

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