TWINSBURG — Co-teaching. Chromebooks and Makerspaces. Project based learning. Blended learning.

These were some of the topics highlighted both during and even before the State of the Schools address May 9 at the Twinsburg Hilton Garden Inn. The event was hosted by the Twinsburg Chamber of Commerce.

Superintendent Kathryn Powers said she chose the theme #InnovativeTigers, and thanked the community for its recent approval of Issue 5, a 4.4-mill renewal levy.

“None of this would be possible without the support of the community,” Powers said.

Kristin Dehil and Elizabeth Kinsella, teachers at Samuel Bissell Elementary School, went over the benefits of co-teaching.

One advantage is that students have two teachers they can work with and ask questions, Kinsella said.

“Students have been far more able to take ownership of their learning,” Kinsella said. “It boosts their enthusiasm.”

Because this style of teaching works well with classroom inclusion, it also “teaches empathy and compassion,” Kinsella said.

“This has been great for both of us,” said Dehil.

Jim Ries, principal of R.B. Chamberlin Middle School, said the school rolled out its Chromebook program this past August.

“What the classroom looked like in August and what they look like now is such a difference,” Ries said.

Before the speeches, several students demonstrated what they were learning and what tools they used, including Genevieve Talentino, 13, who goes to R.B. Chamberlin Middle School. The seventh grader was showing guests at the State of the Schools how students were using TinkerCad, an online program that allows someone to design a 3D image for 3D printers.

“I love that you are exposed to this so early,” said Amy Larocca of Twinsburg to Genevieve. Amy had brought her son, Logan, who is currently in the schools’ kindergarten preparatory program and will start kindergarten this coming school year.

Fifth grader Madison Lesko, along with classmates Molly Mannion and Micha Sanford, all 11, showed guests the dry erase tables that they had access to, along with chairs that not only allowed for more flexible seating but could accommodate students using a tablet. These were used as part of the Blended Learning Concept, Micha said.

“I like being able to learn at your own pace,” Micha said.

“I think you can learn a lot more than in the traditional way,” Madison added.

Scholarship winners, teacher of the year

Rob Strachan of Strachan Novak Insurance and the chair of the scholarship committee, said the selection of the three scholarship winners this year “was difficult” because of the quality of candidates.

“When this started, we dreamed of one $1,000 for a student,” Strachan said. “Now, thanks to the generosity of our sponsors, we can give out one $1,000 and two $750 scholarships.”

Chloe Willmott, who will attend Ohio University to study middle school education with science and language arts, received the $1,000 scholarship. Julianne Shaffer and Claudia Nmai both received the $750 scholarships. Shaffer will attend Bowling Green State University to study psychology, and Nmai will attend Stanford to study psychology.

A fourth scholarship, the inaugural Crown Composites Tooling Scholarship, for $1,000, was given to Alexander Bard. Bard will attend The Ohio State University to study industrial engineering.

Rotary Club of Twinsburg members Shannon Collins and Steve Bosso, who are serving as co-presidents, presented the 2019 Rotary Club Teacher of the Year award to Lauren Wilson, the physical education teacher at Wilcox Elementary School.

Reporter April Helms can be reached at 330-541-9423, ahelms@recordpub.com, or @AprilKHelms_RPC