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.
Strategic Plan Jumps from Ideas to Implementation
What a busy and exciting time it is here in Upper Arlington Schools! Now that our innovative new strategic planning process is complete, we are diving head-first into implementing the goals that will have a positive impact on all of our students.
We began our new hybrid approach to strategic planning in the spring of 2014. The plan is focused on what matters most and has just five measurable, results-oriented goals. But despite this business-like approach, we felt it was important to retain the widespread participation of a classic public-sector plan. Throughout the process, there were multiple opportunities for involvement as well as chances to provide input and feedback. In all, we had more than 4,000 points of contact during the planning process, and the public participation proved itself to be truly invaluable to the final product of our plan.
The five goals - performance, personalization, accountability, efficiency and ownership - directly align with the themes we hear from the Upper Arlington community over and over again. Simply stated, we want our students to excel academically while learning in a way that best suits their individual talents and needs. We want to know our schools are operating in a financially responsible and efficient manner, and we want to have a robust accounting of how our district measures up to others across the state and nation.
The Upper Arlington Board of Education officially approved the strategic plan in December. Since then our amazing team of educators has really embraced the challenges before them and dug into the work. While I don’t have the space here to detail everything, I wanted to give you an overview of some of the great things happening in our schools.
I’ll begin with the most important thing - what’s happening inside our classrooms. As part of the performance goal, our team is redefining expectations, creating a clear and consistent language and ensuring our local curriculum incorporates the critical thinking skills that are so crucial for success in today’s world. In the area of personalization, our team is preparing to implement a districtwide one-to-one technology program. Beginning around the second semester of the upcoming school year, all students in grades six through 12 will receive an 11-inch laptop to use at school and at home. This tool will allow teachers to better individualize instruction to meet the needs of each student, and we will cover the costs by reallocating existing resources and implementing a modest student fee.
As part of the accountability goal, we will be releasing the first official Upper Arlington Quality Profile this fall. This document was created by a committee of residents and educators and is meant to give our community a transparent report on our district’s strengths and areas of need.
In the area of efficiency, we have two major projects underway. The first is our commitment to the community to improve the district’s bottom line by $4.5 million by 2017. We are now 89 percent of the way toward that goal, and Treasurer Andrew Geistfeld has a summary of the efficiency measures on our website at www.uaschools.org/efficiency.
Another major project from the efficiency goal is a community-wide planning process for our facilities. This stems from a recommendation from the business leaders on our Productivity and Efficiency Task force, which identified the cost of maintaining our aging facilities as the biggest threat to the district’s financial health. This fall we will be asking all community members to get involved in the process to ensure we are spending our facility dollars wisely and providing students with the learning environments they need to be successful.
A related project is the much-needed addition to Tremont Elementary School. After many years of steady enrollment growth, we can no longer accommodate all of our students in the existing building. Phase one of the construction will begin this fall with a new cluster of classrooms and a new media center. The second phase will begin next summer and include a secure entrance and larger cafeteria space.
I’m only brushing the surface with this overview of everything happening inside our schools. This school system has a long legacy of being a leader in education, and with this plan in place, I am confident that our brightest days are still ahead. You can learn more by visiting our website, www.uaschools.org, or by contacting me at (614) 487-5030 or email@example.com.
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