What does it take to be a great leader of a school district? The superintendent has many roles to balance while always keeping a clear focus on aligning with a district’s vision. A great superintendent must be an effective communicator, great listener, strong instructional leader and selfless collaborator. Most importantly, a great superintendent must keep focused on stakeholder relationships while developing a successful plan to support the goals of teaching and learning in our schools.
After being Board approved as the next EPSD Superintendent on June 11, 2018, Kristen Campbell issued a list of district goals for the 2018/2019 School Year. Mrs. Campbell had high expectations, but she has met the aggressive list of goals head on within the first 100 days of the new school year. Mrs. Campbell and her team celebrated the inaugural year of Full Day Kindergarten, revised the district Comprehensive Plan, initiated the EPSD Connects 1:1 program, introduced the Ready Math Program into the EPSD curriculum, and enhanced the already accomplished administrative cabinet by replacing the positions of two Assistant Superintendents.
Let’s break down these accomplishments in more depth:
Full Day Kindergarten-The district-wide effort to bring full day kindergarten to East Penn is in full swing which will result in accelerated progress for young students in academic areas such as reading and mathematics.
Comprehensive Plan Revision- The Pennsylvania Department of Education requires each school district to prepare and submit a “Comprehensive Plan” as part of long range future plans. Comprehensive Planning is a process used to ensure that all students are achieving at high levels. Continuous planning is essential to providing increased student performance and quality results, Innovative, exemplary, and research-based programs, coupled with professional development, focused and aligned resources and public participation in planning, are critical factors in districts that demonstrate continuous growth. Campbell’s team recently presented the 2019-2022 Comprehensive Plan to the East Penn School Board on October 8, 2018. The Comprehensive Plan team was comprised of students, staff, administrators, parents, and business/community members. The development of this plan resulted in a clearly defined focus for district continual improvement efforts that guides decision-making across the district.
EPSD Connects: A 1:1 Initiative- In 2016, a team comprised of teachers, administrators, and students established a plan to successfully implement a 1:1 tech program in East Penn. Mrs. Campbell and her team spent a tremendous amount of time as a school community learning about how technology enhances teaching and learning for students. The district believes that all students deserve access to technology and over the next two years we will be phasing in devices to provide this equity. This fall, students in grades K-4 were issued iPads and students in grades 6, 7, 9, and 10 were issued Chromebooks. Campbell and her team are looking ahead to the next school year where remaining grades 8, 11, and 12 will be issued Chromebooks to fulfill the districts 1:1 goal by 2020.
Ready Math Program- Ready Pennsylvania Mathematics helps teachers create a rich classroom environment in which students at all levels become active, real-world problem solvers. Through teacher-led instruction, students develop mathematical reasoning, engage in discourse, and build strong mathematical habits. The program’s instructional framework supports educators as they strengthen their teaching practices and facilitates meaningful discourse that encourages all learners. Ready Pennsylvania Mathematics
- Encourages students to develop a deeper understanding of mathematics concepts through the embedded Standards for Mathematical Practices
- Builds on students’ prior knowledge with lessons that make connections within and across grade levels and directly address the major focus of the grade
- Incorporates a classroom mathematics routine that promotes conversations and increases accessibility of the mathematics for all students
- Prepares students for the challenges of the PSSA with tasks and activities that have a balance of conceptual understanding, procedural skills, fluency, and application
The EPSD has successfully launched the Ready Math program this year at the elementary and middle school levels. Parent information sessions were scheduled throughout the fall to introduce the parents to this new program.
Hiring of Two New Assistant Superintendents- Shaping your administrative team to function effectively is a key administrative goal. Campbell has replaced two new Assistant Superintendents to round off her already accomplished administrative team. Mrs. Laura Witman has moved up from her current position as Supervisor of Curriculum and Instruction to the role of Assistant Superintendent in charge of secondary education. Mr. Doug Povilaitis will be rejoining us from the North Penn School District where he was the Principal of Oak Park Elementary. Doug started his career in the East Penn School District as a teacher at Emmaus High School. He will now be taking on the role of Assistant Superintendent in charge of elementary education.
Throughout her first 100 days in office, Mrs. Campbell is fulfilling her promises and propelling the district towards continued success. Mrs. Campbell is getting off to a great start that will pave the way for a district tenure that is progressive, transformative, and fiscally responsible. As a district, we are excited for the future and what our successes will mean to our community.