Upper Arlington City Schools News Article

Board of Education Update — January 9, 2024 Regular Meeting

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

Auditor of State Award Recognition

Scott Brown, the central Ohio liaison for the State of Ohio Auditor’s Office, recognized Upper Arlington Schools for earning a clean audit opinion and the Auditor of State Award for the fiscal year ending 2022. Only 10 percent of the organizations audited meet these high criteria. He acknowledged that this award represents the hard work of all of the district’s employees. Upper Arlington Schools is proud to consistently earn a clean audit opinion and the Auditor of State Award - recognizing our commitment to effective and accountable financial practices for our community.

Superintendent’s Update 

  • OMEA student honors: Upper Arlington High School Principal Andrew Theado and Vocal Music Director Dr. Brandon Moss recognized five Upper Arlington High School students who have been selected among the best of the best in the state in vocal music for the 2024 Ohio All-State Choir. 

  • District highlights: Dr. Hunt shared the following highlights involving recent examples of community service and service learning as well as engaging learning opportunities for students prior to winter break. 

    • Recent service opportunities include: the Heart to Heart annual holiday gift drive at Wickliffe Progressive Elementary School, the Rockathon at Greensview Elementary School, the annual toy drive by Jones Middle School staff benefitting Franklin County Children’s Services, and both Hastings Middle School choir and the UAHS hockey teams making a difference for the children and families at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. 

    • Recent engaging learning opportunities include: IB Sports, Exercise & Health Science students dissecting sheep brains to better understand the neurological system, Tremont Elementary School engaging in a whole school math problem on the day before winter break, and the return of Project BioEYES, an innovative science education program offered in partnership with Ohio State University's Department of Molecular Genetics.

  • UAdventure and strategic planning update: Dr. Hunt shared that this week he has launched a second round of UAdventure, which will take him to all school buildings to observe classrooms and meet with staff. An extension of that work is the upcoming strategic planning process. He recommended to the Board of Education the approval of a contract with Coach to Lead to support the next phase of strategic planning — the discovery phase, which will lead to the launch of inquiry teams and the development of strategic recommendations for the next five years for the school district. The goal would be to adopt a new strategic plan in January 2024.

  • UAHS Program of Studies: Principal Andrew Theado and Assistant Principal Matthew J. Jordan shared the 2024-2025 Upper Arlington High School Program of Studies for Board of Education approval. This is an annual process that involves feedback from students and staff about new opportunities to explore and current courses to consider archiving. Course fees are available in the Program of Studies document. In addition to these changes, there are some new student programs proposed for the upcoming school year, outlined below.

  • New student programs: Deputy Superintendent Stephanie Siddens, Ph.D., and Chief Academic Officer Keith Pomeroy shared new pathway opportunities for high school students for the 2024-2025 school year under the umbrella of what is being called the “UA Hub.” These pathway opportunities are a series of courses that allow a student to pursue a passion or interest and will provide innovative, high-quality learning experiences tied to college and/or career. The district is seeking grant funding from the state to support these opportunities and the establishment of a learning space at the old district office at 1950 North Mallway Drive. The five opportunities are: 

  • A partnership with The Past Foundation and the University of Cincinnati known as the UC IT Pathway to earn high school and college credit with a computer science focus; 

  • A partnership with Columbus State Community College known as College Jumpstart to earn high school and college credit within Upper Arlington High School;

  • A Semiconductor / Engineering Pathway to prepare students for future career opportunities with companies like Intel or Amazon and provide them with opportunities to earn professional credentials; 

  • The continuation of the existing UA Online Academy program with the addition of a local graduation requirement of one online course; and 

  • The Bridge, bringing programs in-house for students who have not found success in a traditional school setting and need credit recovery to get back on track. 

  • Semi-annual bullying update: Deputy Superintendent Stephanie Siddens, Ph.D., shared the semi-annual update on reports of bullying, harassment or intimidation. That information can be found on the district’s website. She also shared a reminder about the Stay Safe. Speak Up! Hotline for reporting any potential incidents of bullying, harassment or discrimination.

  • Enrollment projections report: Chief Talent Officer Matt Jordan shared an update on the district’s most recent enrollment projection report, conducted by Cooperative Strategies. Overall, districtwide enrollment has increased over the past decade and is projected to continue to grow over the next several years. Going forward, the district will continue to monitor new trends based on the implementation of all-day kindergarten and the COVID-19 pandemic. He also shared how enrollment  increased from the end of the 2022-2023 school year to the start of the 2023-2024 school year (an increase of 129, K-12) and from the start of the 2023-2024 school year to the start of the second semester on January 4, 2024 (an increase of 93, preK-12).

Treasurer’s Update

Treasurer/CFO Andrew Geistfeld shared monthly financial statements reflecting December 2023, six months into the fiscal year. These statements represent very little variance - less than 1% in both revenue and expenditures -  from the projections in the five year forecast. 

You may visit our Upper Arlington Schools Board of Education page to access the January 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 https://www.uaschools.org/BoardofEducation.aspx.

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