Upper Arlington City Schools News Article

Board of Education Update — February 13, 2024 Regular Meeting

The February 13, 2024, meeting of the Board of Education included presentations on the following topics:

Board of Education Appreciation Month

Every year, Upper Arlington Schools identifies a month to recognize Board of Education members for their service. Superintendent Robert Hunt, Ph.D., and Treasurer/CFO Andrew Geistfeld recognized the five members of the Upper Arlington Board of Education for stepping forward to serve their community and work on behalf of students. Each elementary school prepared cards, posters and other materials to recognize each Board member.

District highlights

Superintendent Robert Hunt, Ph.D., shared the following district highlights:

  • Upper Arlington High School celebrated the 2024 inductees into the Athletic Hall of Fame in January. The high school Athletic Hall of Fame recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions as student-athletes, coaches, administrators and friends of the tradition of Golden Bear athletics. This was the seventh induction class and increased the number of inductees to 69.

  • Upper Arlington High School Symphony Strings and Chamber Orchestra proudly represented UA at the recent OMEA Professional Development Conference. Our students were selected to perform for strings teachers from across the state and received a standing ovation. Three students also had an outstanding performance as part of the All-State Orchestra at the conference.

  • Upper Arlington Schools will welcome the Golden Bears Class of 2037 this fall. Kindergarten registration for the 2024-2025 school year opens on February 20. For more information, please visit www.uaschools.org/kindergarten.aspx.

  • Upper Arlington Schools is proud to host the 2024 Summer Academy. Course offerings will be available on March 8, and registration will open on April 2. For more information, please visit www.uaschools.org/summeracademy.aspx

  • Upper Arlington Schools invites you to be part of the 2024 hUmAn Connection Festival, a two-day event celebrating the diverse experiences and perspectives that make our community unique. Started last year at Upper Arlington High School, the hUmAn Connection Festival celebrates culture, inclusion and understanding and supports new connections within and beyond our community. Please join us on the evening of March 6 at Upper Arlington High School, 1625 Zollinger Road, for a community-wide event. The festivities will continue the following day for students at the high school.

The Board of Education also welcomed Chris Thiel, who will be the new director/principal of Burbank Early Childhood School beginning in the 2024-2025 school year. Mr. Thiel has 16 years of experience in education and comes to Upper Arlington from Dublin City Schools.

Finally, Dr. Hunt shared an update on the Wickliffe Woods playground project at Wickliffe Progressive Elementary School. With the castle playground reaching the end of its lifespan, a new playground will begin taking shape this spring and summer, thanks to initial fundraising efforts by the Wickliffe Woods team in partnership with the school district. New swings and spinners will be installed, and following the end of the school year, the wooden castle structure will be decommissioned and removed. Prior to that, there will be a community celebration for the castle playground and its place in the history of Wickliffe and the Upper Arlington community. This summer, a new play structure will be installed, thanks to funding from the Upper Arlington Schools, that will help bring the Wickliffe Woods vision closer to reality. With the investment from the district in a new play structure, the Wickliffe Woods Project will continue fundraising for the final phase — which will include Earthscape play structures and help bring the unique personality of the Wickliffe community to the playground. 

Strategic planning update

Dr. Hunt shared that the strategic planning process has officially launched, with the first strategic planning core group meeting last week. Teams focused on each priority area — engaged learning, well-being and belonging, and communication and connection — will begin meeting soon and include representatives from all stakeholder groups - students, staff, parents and community members.

This spring, Dr. Hunt will host two Coffee & Conversation events on March 13 from 6 to 7 p.m. and March 14 from 10 to 11 a.m. at the Kingsdale Market District — as well as a Listen Learn Lead community engagement event on May 9 to share updates on the process.

Program of Studies (Middle School and Online Academy)

Dr. Hunt shared that the district has delayed bringing the Programs of Studies for the middle schools and the Online Academy to the Board of Education for approval. This is in part due to the memorandum of agreement with the Upper Arlington Education Association (teachers union) regarding the Online Academy. Additionally, one theme that has emerged from his UAdventure is a need to take another look at the middle school electives. He will share an update with the Board at the March meeting. 

Safety update

Chief Operating Officer Greg Thompson shared an annual update on safety and security in the district. He emphasized the importance of safety being everyone’s responsibility — “see something, say something.” He shared a reminder that safety information and plans are protected under Ohio law from any public records request, so this update was a high-level overview of safety. 

The safety update included an overview of the process for submitting and certifying safety plans with the state of Ohio, the requirements surrounding safety drills for schools, school threat assessment training, the district’s Traumatic Event Crisis Intervention Plan, the School Resource Officer program in partnership with the City of Upper Arlington, the 2023 safety grant and resulting safety updates, and school safety measures.

Summer projects

This summer, the district is planning for window replacement on the renovated areas at Barrington Elementary School and renovations for the 1950 North Mallway building to convert the space for use by Upper Arlington High School students engaging in new academic pathways.

Treasurer’s Update

Treasurer/CFO Andrew Geistfeld shared monthly financial statements reflecting January 2024. These statements represent minimal variances from the projections in the five year forecast.

He also shared a resolution on the agenda to transfer construction fund interest earnings to the permanent improvement fund. The construction fund would then be closed out, as all projects are fully paid for. 

You may visit our Upper Arlington Schools Board of Education page to access the February 13 meeting agenda and video recording. To view the meeting presentation, please click here. For meeting dates and more information about the Board of Education, please visit www.uaschools.org/board.

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