OPINION

Superintendent aims high for district students

Doug Powers
Doug Powers

Moving to the Basehor-Linwood school district last spring, I’ve already discovered a lot about what makes Leavenworth County a great place to live and work. The people are kind, there is a small town feel and although I’ve only lived here for a total of five months, it is clear to me that education is the cornerstone of our communities of Basehor and Linwood. After several meetings with the USD 458 Board of Education, school district administration and community and business leaders, it was clear to me that most everyone has a passion for keeping the district's reputation of excellence in our classrooms.

In March and May, we held community and student meetings to gather input on our next five-year strategic plan, in addition to a community survey in June. Since the administrative team returned in late July, we have been working diligently to incorporate common themes from the community and student feedback into this strategic plan. Next, the Board of Education will review the plan and possibly approve it in September. Once approved, this plan will focus the district’s efforts and energy on the beliefs and priorities of the community and our students. Ultimately, the elements in this plan will affirm our intent for the success of all students and illustrate our guiding principles for the Basehor-Linwood school district over the next five years.

The city of Basehor has accepted me with open arms as we work together to determine if a shared city hall/district office building might be a viable solution to the 155th Street improvements beginning in 2022, displacing both our district office and Basehor City Hall. We are still working through actual costs and looking at possible savings, but it is an innovative idea that may allow both entities to capitalize on partnerships, cost savings and resource sharing. We look forward to this exciting opportunity to partner with the city of Basehor.

Basehor-Linwood students began school Aug. 17 (pre-kindergarten and sixth- and ninth-graders) and Aug. 18 (seventh- and eighth-graders and 10-12th graders), but I cannot say we are going to be completely back to normal just yet. Due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19 and maintaining in-person learning, the Basehor-Linwood Board of Education voted 6-1 at their August meeting to require masking for pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade students indoors and on buses. Our Return to Schools plan has been updated and is now available on our website.

During my first 100 days, I plan to meet 100 key people relevant to my new position as superintendent. Thus far, I’m at 49 introductions. It has been quite the experience, and it’s maybe a lofty goal. (I do preface most conversations with the disclaimer that although we’re meeting now, I may have to meet you again soon.) I truly believe that a school community working together is what’s best for our students, so I look forward to meeting many, many more of you soon. 

I have already been introduced to many of our outstanding staff, and despite the challenges another year during a pandemic might bring, we will continue to provide an education that leads to tremendous opportunities for each student. I am honored to be a member of the Basehor-Linwood school district, and I look forward to many successes this school year.

Doug Powers is the superintendent of the Basehor-Linwood school district.