Upper Arlington City Schools News Article

Board of Education Update — October 10, 2023 Regular Meeting

The October 10, 2023, meeting of the Board of Education included presentations on the following topics:

Superintendent’s Update

Student recognitions: Superintendent Robert Hunt, Ph.D., welcomed two groups of Upper Arlington High School students to be recognized for their academic achievements.

  • Nine seniors have been named National Merit Semifinalists, placing them in the top 1 percent of high school seniors nationwide.

  • Five Upper Arlington High School juniors have been selected as College Board National Recognition Program honorees for academic achievement and outstanding performance on the PSAT/NMSQT, PSAT 10, and/or at least two Advanced Placement exams.

Student Council update: Two members of the Upper Arlington High School Student Council, Mikey G. and Rhys Y., shared updates on freshman Student Council elections and senior officer positions. They shared that Student Council’s biggest role is to promote a positive school climate, and one big way they do that is through Homecoming. They highlighted some of the activities for Homecoming, including working with the student print shop, Paw Prints, to print posters promoting the event. Finally, after meeting with Dr. Hunt earlier this week, they shared feedback from other students about what they are enjoying and what they see as concerns at the high school.

District Highlights: 

  • Dr. Hunt shared district highlights on Start With Hello Week, involving all K-12 schools, and the dedication of a sculpture, “Kindness Takes Flight,” in memory of Emily Reardon, an Upper Arlington High School Class of 2019 graduate who died in 2020.

  • Dr. Hunt shared about four more visits on his “UAdventure” tour — to Wickliffe Progressive Elementary School, Jones Middle School, Greensview Elementary School and Hastings Middle School. The UAdventure is taking Dr. Hunt to all schools in the district and offers opportunities for student, staff and parent/guardian feedback. 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.

  • Dr. Hunt shared that Upper Arlington Schools, the City of Upper Arlington, the Upper Arlington Police Division and the Upper Arlington Fire Division will be collaborating for UA Safety Week, October 30 through November 3. Safety Week will encompass both safety at school, at home and online.


Strategic Priorities

Deputy Superintendent Stephanie Siddens, Ph.D., shared an update on the strategic priorities of the district for 2023-2025. These priorities are informed by the district’s current strategic plan and the Listen Learn Lead community engagement process.

  • Strategic Plan: Develop Upper Arlington Schools’ next 3 to 5 year strategic plan.  

  • Literacy: Implement high-quality, evidence-based literacy practices PK-12 aligned to the science of reading. 

  • Ready for What is Next: Provide innovative high-quality education and practical experiences aligned to career pathways to ensure all Upper Arlington Schools’ students have a voice in their future and will be ready for college and/or career after graduation. 

  • DEI, Well-being, and Effectiveness: Identify and implement strategies that support a culture of well-being and a sense of belonging in the district.

  • Student Voice: Provide opportunities for authentic UA student input and student voice to promote student engagement throughout the K-12 educational experience. 

  • Continuous Improvement: Engage all of district and building leaders in a data driven continuous improvement process.

Teaching & Learning update

Chief Academic Officer Keith Pomeroy shared both district-level and building-level results of the 2022-2023 Ohio State Report Card. There are six components to the state report card but only five are reflected in the 2022-2023 report card: achievement, progress, gap closing, graduation and early literacy. The sixth component — college, career, workforce and military readiness — will be added to the report card in 2025.

Director of Data & Accountability Tammy Yockey, Ed.D. shared that Upper Arlington Schools is one of just eight districts in the state to earn a five-star overall rating as well as earning five stars in each of the five separate components on the report card. The performance index increased from 99.367 to 101.1 — which she noted is a significant increase in terms of the work being done in the district. She then shared that the district met or exceeded expectations on 35 of 38 component ratings at the district and building level.

Director of Elementary Education Michelle Banks, Ed.D., and Director of Secondary Education Kristin Robbins, Ed.D., shared a closer look at the building-specific data from the state report card. Dr. Banks noted that all elementary buildings have promoted all students to fourth grade (early literacy component). Dr. Robbins celebrated an increasing performance index for all three secondary schools. Mr. Pomeroy shared the results from the Online Academy, which were heavily impacted by students not taking the tests. For any student who does not take the test, the district receives a zero, and Upper Arlington Schools tends to have a higher opt-out rate compared with other districts.

Finally, Mr. Pomeroy shared that buildings are reviewing this data and setting goals related to this and other data. Additional next steps include strengthening the Multi-Tiered System of Support process to focus on every student; focusing on the Science of Reading and dyslexia screening, intervention and progress monitoring; and continuing to focus on professional learning related to horizontal and vertical alignment related to standards and resources. The district will continue to utilize multiple screeners and identification methods to keep track of where students are throughout the school year.

Policy updates

Dr. Siddens shared a number of policies that are being taken to the Board of Education for first read. A summary chart of the policies up for review and a document with the suggested edits are available in the Board of Education meeting agenda. Several changes are due to the budget bill or changes in federal law, and four policies were updated to provide clarity. In November the policies will be brought back to the Board for review and approval.

Calendar updates

Dr. Hunt shared two planned calendar updates: 

  • Tuesday, March 19, 2024 - spring election day, no school

  • Monday, April 8, 2024 - early release for solar eclipse

  • 1 p.m. dismissal for elementary students

  • 1:30 p.m. dismissal for secondary students

An updated school year calendar will be brought to the Board of Education for approval in November.

Human Resources update

Chief Talent Officer Matt Jordan shared agenda items including certified salary education increases, a memorandum of agreement with the Upper Arlington Education Association regarding substitutes, athletics hirings and tournaments hosted at Upper Arlington High School, and open positions in the transportation department. The district is actively seeking bus drivers and a bus mechanic.

Treasurer’s Update

Treasurer/CFO Andrew Geistfeld shared monthly financial statements reflecting September 2023. These statements reflect variances from the five-year forecast, which are to be expected. The district is currently working on a new five year forecast that will reflect these variances and will be shared in the November 2023 meeting. He also noted two other agenda items regarding donations and appropriations. 

You may visit our Upper Arlington Schools Board of Education page to access the October 10 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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