Upper Arlington City Schools News Article

Board of Education Update — April 9, 2024 Regular Meeting

The April 9, 2024, meeting of the Board of Education included presentations on the following topics:

District highlights

The Board of Education recognized Upper Arlington High School divers Mira W. and Madi V., who qualified to compete in the state diving championships in February. It was a great showing for the Golden Bears - freshman Mira placed 21st and sophomore Madi placed fifth in the state in the diving championships.

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

  • Upper Arlington High School had a successful four-show run of “Mean Girls: High School Version.” Approximately 120 students were involved in the production, led by producer Dr. Brandon Moss, director Tim Browning and music director Amy Leacock.

  • More than 140 students were part of the production of “High School Musical Jr.” at Hastings Middle School, led by director Jodi Stechschulte and producer, music director and choreographer David Monseur.

  • In March, Erase the Space sponsored an exchange for Upper Arlington High School and Columbus Alternative High School IB Language/Literature and Social/Cultural Anthropology students. With their teachers, the students worked together to create a school day for one another - with CAHS students visiting UAHS in March and UAHS students visiting CAHS earlier this school year.  The students spent the day with their partners, learning about the history of the school, touring, attending classes and conducting oral history partner interviews.

  • Approximately 100 juniors and seniors were honored last week as new inductees into the Cum Laude Society, joining 44 classmates from the Class of 2024 who are current members. This is the highest academic recognition a high school student can achieve on a national level. These students represent the top 10 percent of the junior class and top 20 percent of the senior class, with higher than a 4.15 GPA. The Upper Arlington chapter of the Cum Laude Society is supported by the Dr. Charles Wade Moulton Fund of the Upper Arlington Education Foundation.

  • Summer Academy registration opened last Wednesday. There are more than 1,100 registrations already for Summer Academy. In addition to Summer Academy, Upper Arlington Schools offers Summer Reading and Extended School Year. These programs are offered to students in need of additional support for their success.

Strategic planning update

Dr. Hunt shared an update on the strategic planning process. More than 75 volunteers — students, staff, parents/guardians and community members, many of whom have not previously been involved in a district strategic planning process — have been working together since February on strategic planning teams. The three primary data sets that are driving their work are the Listen Learn Lead community engagement process, the UAdventure and the district-wide equity audit.

Dr. Hunt shared an overview of the tentative timeline, which targets a January 2025 adoption of a new strategic plan by the Board of Education. The process is currently in the stakeholder feedback opportunities phase — with opportunities for feedback through two Coffee & Conversation events in March, a Teaching & Learning Team meeting of staff members from across the district in April and the Listen Learn Lead community engagement session scheduled for May 9 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Upper Arlington High School.

Deputy Superintendent Stephanie Siddens, Ph.D., then shared the questions that the strategic planning teams are working through for each of the three draft priority areas: engaged learning, well-being and belonging, and connections and communications. The more than 60 members of the Teaching & Learning Team spent their meeting in April providing feedback on these questions through focus groups. The feedback will go back to the full strategic inquiry teams to inform the development of recommendations on the draft priority areas.

Insight Education report

Chief Excellence and Engagement Officer Denise Lutz, Ed.D., shared the second of three Board updates on the Insight Education equity audit report. At last month’s meeting, she shared an overview of Domain 1: Systems, Structures and Resources. She followed that with an overview on Domain 2: Culture and Community and Domain 3: Equity in the Educator Work Force. Insight Education identified the following recommendations:

Domain 2:

  • Expand the equity audit and build capacity;

  • Leverage existing strengths: community;

  • Challenge exclusive practices and power dynamics; and

  • Address communication gaps.

Domain 3: 

  • Develop a comprehensive recruitment and retention plan;

  • Data collection and analysis;

  • Develop the Office of Excellence and Engagement; and

  • Enhance workforce development and support for student success.

The two remaining sections of the report will be presented at the May Board of Education meeting. 

Student Wellness & Success Funds and Disadvantaged Pupil Impact Aid Update

Dr. Lutz shared a state-required update on the use of nearly $169,000 in state Student Wellness & Success Funds and Disadvantaged Pupil Impact Aid. All of the funds for the 2022-2023 school year were used for mental health services provided by the partnership with Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.  OSU clinicians have provided prevention and intervention needs of students based on the multi-tiered system of support for student well-being.  The district will have the need to continue to provide and increase school-based prevention and intervention resources for the 2023-2024 school year. The Student Success and Wellness Funds, in addition to the ADAMH funding providing the partnership with Syntero, will support the expansion of mental health services for students in grades K-12.


Dr. Siddens presented five policies for Board approval and 11 policies for first read. For the policies presented for first read, most reflect updates due to the budget bill, legislative changes and technical corrections. The Board of Education will have a second read and will be asked to approve those 11 policies in May.

Action item

Dr. Hunt recommended that the Board approve the conceptual agreements reached with the Upper Arlington Education Association for a new contractual agreement effective July 1, 2024 to June 30, 2027.

Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Review

Treasurer/CFO Andrew Geistfeld shared an overview on tax increment financing, commonly known as a TIF. This public financing method is utilized by cities to help subsidize redevelopment, infrastructure and other community improvement projects by redirecting property tax revenue increases.

Within the Upper Arlington school district boundaries, there are 8 non-school TIFs and 7 TIFs involving the school district. In the case of the latter, the city and district work together. The district shares property taxes with the city, and the district and the city have a sharing agreement for additional revenue. In the case of all of the TIFs that the district is involved with, the district receives more revenue than previously received from the parcel of land before it was redeveloped.

Treasurer’s Update

Treasurer/CFO Andrew Geistfeld shared monthly financial statements reflecting March 2024. He noted two other items on the agenda for Board approval: contracts for META and St. Andrews and a resolution of urgent necessity with the 1950 North Mallway building for renovations for new academic programs for high school students. 

You may visit our Upper Arlington Schools Board of Education page to access the April 9 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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