Knauer runs for Board position
March 16, 2012
Tania Knauer said she’s been involved in the Park City school system for about 10 years. Knauer said if elected, she would focus on four areas of improvement during her four-year term, including fiscal responsibility, improving the science and math curriculum, identifying areas for teacher assessments and keeping open communication lines with the Legislature.
Retiring School Board member Lisa Kirchenheiter was the School District’s point person for interacting with the Legislature, according to Knauer, who said it’s important to continue that communication with the state since Kirchenheiter didn’t run again this year.
"I think it’s important that we continue speaking with our Legislature. Instead of being a financial target, we could be a model of excellence making sure we keep the lines of communication open with our Legislature," Knauer said. "We have to follow the guidelines for our School District based on what comes through the state."
Developing the math and science programs within the School District is one goal Knauer is passionate about. She said the best way for students to learn science is to role up their sleeves and get their hands dirty.
"One area of importance for me personally is science and math. More and more districts are having to evaluate their science and math curriculum," she said. "I believe that the true way to learn about science is to do labs, experiment with things and blow things up. I just want to make sure that the district continues to head in this direction."
Knauer is concerned about balancing the budget and said offering an early retirement plan for the School District’s senior teachers might not be the way to go, adding that the cost savings might not be as much as expected.
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"Those are the decisions people don’t want to make, but it’s going to improve the overall effect of education if we make those decisions," she said. "I think it’s dangerous to lose our senior teachers. I would prefer that they (the School District) put together the teachers that need to go anyway. I think the retirement plan is the chicken way out. It’s a way to not make decisions."
This year, Knauer served on the Park City School District teacher assessment committee and said the group spent most of the year in a standstill waiting for decisions to be made at the legislative level. She said there will be more assessment requirements the School District will have to meet in the future.
"It has been good and eye opening, and I’ve learned more about what we do. There is no doubt that the legislature has realized that we need better assessment tools and more frequently," she said, adding that teacher assessments in the future will incorporate input from administrators, parents and students.
"Surveys and feedback will help teachers be better educators in their craft," she said. "I think everyone wants that no matter what profession you are in. It’s instructive input."
Collecting student achievement data and storing it in an easily accessible way is something Knauer said could benefit the School District in its decision-making process.
"I really think there are ways to make all of things a little more efficient," she said. "We need to collect more data, which gives us the ability to make these connections and ask questions. We need to take data and make it so it’s useful and start using it as a part of the process."
Summit County School Board Candidates:
Park City School Board
District 1:Moe Hickey
District 2: Ron Huggins, Nancy Garrison, Eric Oberg
District 3: Tania Knauer, Anne Bransford, Paul F. Marsh, Kristen Brown
North Summit School Board
District 1: Susan F. Richins
District 2: Mark Marsh
District 3: Heather L. Staley
South Summit School Board
District 1: Matthew G. Leavit, Suni Woolstenhulme
District 2: Craig Hicken, Tony Gortat
District 3: Kim Simpson, Jim Snyder