By EMMALEE C. TORISK
Matthew Bowen isn’t necessarily fond of the word “change.”
He prefers “improve.”
Though Bowen has been superintendent of Campbell City Schools only since August, he’s well aware of the district’s rich heritage, along with its numerous successful graduates. Those traditions aren’t things that he feels the district should lose sight of. “We want to afford our students those same opportunities,” Bowen said.
“And then some,” added Rachael Smith, the district’s special-services director. “Career choices are very different than they were 20 years ago. We want to really focus on additional opportunities to get our kids ready for their world.”
In order to do that, the district soon will begin distributing a survey to community members that will allow them to voice opinions regarding all facets of education at Campbell City Schools, including course offerings, extracurricular activities and community involvement, Smith said.
The results of the survey will be shared within the district, particularly with the board of education, and then used to develop additional opportunities for students as early as the second semester of the current academic year.
Bowen indicated that the survey — which will be ready within the next few weeks — will not be limited to parents of school-age children.
Instead, he wants the entire community, particularly alumni of Campbell Memorial High School, to be involved and engaged in the process of identifying and prioritizing the district’s needs.
“We want a true representation of the stakeholders,” Bowen said. “We want to listen and to have an open mind. It will allow us to identify areas we have not thought of, and also to help us identify community members who are truly interested in seeing our students continue to succeed.”
Bowen said, too, that the survey is simply a starting point, and that the district may not be able to afford “all of the wants and needs” identified therein. He noted that the district must remain fiscally responsible while still making “the best decisions,” both in the short term and the long term, for students.
After all, it’s always all about the students, he said, adding that as educators and leaders and as parents and community members, it’s imperative that those with a vested interest in the district’s children best prepare them for their futures.
“It’s difficult to identify what their futures may look like,” Bowen said. “But by creating a well-rounded student, we likely increase the odds of their success in whatever path they choose to pursue.”