The September 12, 2023, meeting of the Board of Education included presentations on the following topics:
District highlights and updates
Superintendent Robert Hunt, Ph.D., commended the entire Upper Arlington Schools staff for a positive start to the school year, which reflected the district’s focus on its value of Start With Heart. He also shared the following highlights and updates:
The Upper Arlington Education Foundation’s Golden Bear Bash over Labor Day weekend;
An exciting and engaging learning experience for students at Hastings Middle School involving Spot the robot from Boston Dynamics; and
The dedication ceremony of one of two new Peace Poles, thanks to the Upper Arlington and Tri-Village Rotary clubs, at Upper Arlington High School.
Dr. Hunt also shared about his first “UAdventure” stop at Windermere Elementary School. These visits will take Dr. Hunt to all schools in the district and will offer opportunities for student, staff and parent/guardian feedback. He shared some of the feedback he heard from staff and students at Windermere — including a common theme that Windermere feels like “a second home.”
Dr. Hunt’s UAdventure will also include opportunities for community conversation and feedback. He announced the following community conversation opportunities on October 24 from 6 to 7 p.m. and October 26 from 8:45 to 9:45 a.m. in the upstairs area of Market District Upper Arlington. He will also hold a Community Town Hall on November 29 at 6 p.m. at Upper Arlington High School.
He shared additional updates on the diversion program with the City of Upper Arlington; the Board of Education monthly meeting calendar; the International Baccalaureate accreditation process; the US News and World Report rankings and the State of Ohio Report Card; and upcoming stakeholder survey opportunities with the district’s DEI partner group, Insight Education Group, during the month of October.
Deputy Superintendent Stephanie Siddens, Ph.D., shared a semiannual update on bullying data in the district, reflecting second semester data from the 2022-2023 school year. The data is available on the district website. She also shared a reminder about the district’s Stay Safe. Speak Up! hotline for reporting an incident of bullying, harassment, or discrimination. This is available on student iPads, district and school websites, and in the Upper Arlington Schools app.
Human resources update
Chief Talent Officer Matt Jordan shared updates on three memorandums of agreement and a number of supplementals and stipends on the Board of Education agenda.
He shared a staffing update, reflecting 46 new hires in certified (teaching) staff and 11 new hires for classified staff. As a result of enrollment growth, three additional kindergarten teachers were hired across the district and 1 additional teacher was hired at Barrington (third grade contemporary program). Additionally, as a result of growth, two gifted intervention specialists and 1 English language teacher were added in the Student Services Department.
He shared a number of slides regarding districtwide enrollment growth, K-12, and projected enrollment growth — including an enrollment update by building, reflecting growth of 128 students districtwide, K-12, for the 2023-2024 school year over the previous year; a comparison of the current K-8 classes to the size of the current senior class (Class of 2024); and a comparison of projected and actual enrollment totals for 2022-2023 school year and years prior.
Listen Learn Lead update
Treasurer/CFO Andrew Geistfeld, Chief Communications Officer Karen Truett and Chief Academic Officer Keith Pomeroy shared the following updates on the recommendations from the 2022 Listen Learn Lead community engagement process.
All areas of the financial accountability recommendations have been met.
Under the communications recommendations involving the district website, the district is preparing a planned redesign to launch in the summer of 2024 and has launched a survey (available at www.uaschools.org) seeking feedback as the district prepares for a redesign.
Under the student engagement recommendations, work continues to be ongoing on strengthening the Muti-tiered Systems of Support (MTSS), building on STEM experiences, providing easier access to academic and well-being supports and reinforcing the use of learning management systems. Some of these areas will continue to be a focus on a consistent basis for years to come.
The updated implementation report is available on the Listen Learn Lead webpage.
Teaching and Learning update
Chief Academic Officer Keith Pomeroy shared an update on MTSS and the systems supporting the analysis of data for MTSS — Branching Minds (elementary) and Abre (middle and high school levels). The district is solidifying specific supports for students in English language arts and mathematics at the middle and high school level. He also shared that work at the elementary level across the district to identify possible approaches to benefit students.
He shared that all students in grades 1-3 and new students in grades 4-6 are taking a dyslexia screener this fall, as required by the State of Ohio, and screening of kindergarten students will follow in January. This will help identify students who need additional support. The district will continue to use a CTOPP screener, in addition to the state-required dyslexia screener, to make sure that students who need additional support are not missed in the identification process.
He also reminded the Board of Education of the implementation of new resources that were brought to them in the spring in middle school ELA, middle school Health, Novice French, Level IV and AP Spanish, Environmental Science and Biology.
Treasurer/CFO Andrew Geistfeld shared monthly financial statements reflecting August 2023. These statements reflect a variance from the five-year forecast, which will be reflected in the November 2023 meeting and, due to staffing updates and forecasted changes in revenue, will offer a much better comparison for current monthly financial statements.
He also presented to the Board of Education for approval changes to insurance premiums for medical, dental and vision for the 2024 calendar year.
Finally, he shared two agenda items: a contract for St. Andrews, for which the school district is a state-mandated fiscal agent, and a correction to last month’s transfer to the reserve fund.
You may visit our Upper Arlington Schools Board of Education page to access the September 12 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.