Superintendent, Paul Imhoff
My family and I became part of the Upper Arlington family in 2013, and we quickly learned what has drawn people to this special place for so many years. It's more than the tree-lined streets and beautiful parks - it's a deep sense of community pride and cooperation.
While I am proud to be a member of this great community and a parent in this fantastic school district, I am humbled to serve as its superintendent. It is an honor to work with this fine group of educators as they make a positive impact in the lives of our students. I am invigorated by the thoughts of what is yet to come. Over the next few years, we will be laying the groundwork to build upon the district's tradition of excellence and reach even greater levels of achievement and opportunity for all students.
If you have any ideas or questions about our schools, please feel free to contact me by phone or email.
Personalized learning = expanded technology
Each morning about 5,900 students come through the doors of our schools, and with those students come approximately 5,900 unique sets of learning needs. To fulfill our mission of challenging and supporting every student every step of the way, we must continue to find ways to meet all of our students where they are and help them reach their highest potential.
Personalizing learning isn’t a new concept, but it is constantly evolving. Thanks to a growing body of research, we know that the well-planned use of technology can help teachers pace their instruction to the specific needs of their students as well as tailor the delivery of that instruction to students’ preferences and interests. Students who are more engaged in school fare better academically and emotionally, which is what all educators and parents want for their children.
Next school year we will continue our efforts to personalize learning by expanding our one-to-one technology program to our younger learners. After a year of research, a team of elementary teachers and principals recommended using iPads with students in kindergarten through second grade, iPads with keyboards with students in third grade and laptops with students in fourth and fifth grades.
As I share this news with residents, a common reaction is, “that sounds wonderful, but how will you pay for it?” There are three parts to the answer. First, we are selling back desktops and other devices currently being used in computer labs. Second, we are reallocating resources that were earmarked for maintaining those labs and for purchasing paper textbooks. Paper textbooks are extremely expensive and go out of date quickly. One-to-one technology allows our teachers to move more toward online resources, which tend to be much less expensive or even free. Finally, we are also charging students an annual fee for the use of the devices.
Our secondary grades have been using one-to-one technology for about six months, and we are already beginning to see changes in instruction and student engagement. We are excited to watch this trend continue with our older students and see it spread to the elementary level.
Another change at the elementary level next year will be the use of a trimester calendar instead of the four-quarter grading system we have traditionally used. A committee of teachers researched this idea and found it to be a more natural fit for the needs of our elementary learners because it allows more time for quality instruction and social/emotional growth between reporting periods.
The families of elementary students won’t notice a tremendous amount of change. Students in all grade levels will continue to have the same days off. Parents will continue to have the same number of conference opportunities with teachers and receive the same number of written reports, although the timing of those reports will change slightly.
For more information on one-to-one technology or the move to trimesters at the elementary, please visit our website, www.uaschools.org. And, as always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at (614) 487-5030 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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