Upper Arlington City Schools News Article

Superintendent's Notes: District building on tradition of academic excellence

It’s been an amazing start to the school year as we welcomed students into six new or renovated school buildings.  While we are extremely proud of these beautiful facilities, they have never been our focus.  Throughout all of the work, we have remained steadfast in our focus on students and academic achievement. 


I’ll start with something that will impact all students in our schools, and that is the new multi-tiered system of support (MTSS) framework. Upper Arlington Schools is taking the lead in education nationwide by implementing MTSS so that every student is able to maximize their growth through differentiated and individualized instruction with a focus on the whole child. MTSS truly brings to life our mission to challenge and support every student, every step of the way.


In addition to MTSS, new to Upper Arlington Schools this year is our all-day kindergarten program. The Board of Education has been committed to launching an all-day kindergarten program in order to better meet the needs of our developing learners, and the new and renovated elementary schools give us the space to make that vision possible. By transitioning from a part-day to a full-day program, we now have double the time in the classroom each day with our youngest learners to develop their skills in the core academic areas such as literacy and math. 


Finally, I want to talk about the success of our high school students and graduates, who year after year exemplify our long-standing tradition of academic excellence. We are at the top of the state rankings - sending the highest percentage of students to college or university within two years of high school graduation, and we know our students are ready to excel when they get to college.


Upper Arlington students continue to set a high bar on the ACT and SAT, performing significantly above the state and national averages.  Digging a little deeper, our students’ have the highest percentage of “remediation-free” scores on the ACT in central Ohio and among the top 5 in the state.  This means their performance on the ACT shows they are ready for college-level coursework while still in high school.  


Our students’ success is further illustrated by a significant drop in our remediation rates over the past decade.  This remediation measure from the Board of Regents looks at how many college students have to take remedial courses.  Ten years ago, approximately 20 percent of our graduates needed to take some type of remedial course in college.  Our most recent data shows that just four percent of our graduates are in that position.  Districts similar to ours had remediation rates of twice that amount, and the state average is four times that amount. That means our students are graduating better prepared than ever to succeed in college.  


The Ohio Department of Education also recognizes that our students are set up for success in their next step in life. We are first in central Ohio, and seventh in the state in a measure called “Prepared for Success” - which looks at how well prepared students are for future opportunities, whether it’s training in a technical field or preparing for work or college. 


Throughout everything we do in our schools, we are committed to continuous improvement, and we are seeing that — through the MTSS framework, all-day kindergarten and the success of our students and graduates. 


We will continue to share the most updated data and information about what’s happening in our schools in our Quality Profile, which will arrive in mailboxes early next year. There will also be a presentation at the November meeting of the Board of Education about the Ohio School Report Cards for the 2020-2021 school year.


Paul Imhoff, Ed.D., is superintendent of Upper Arlington Schools. You can follow him on Twitter @imhoffpaul.

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