The March 7, 2023, meeting of the Board of Education included presentations on the following topics:
Upper Arlington Orchestras Recognition
The Board of Education recognized the Upper Arlington Orchestra Program, which is celebrating its 100th year anniversary, and presented a proclamation from Secretary of State Frank LaRose.
Student update — Upper Arlington High School Student Council
Upper Arlington High School students shared an update on an annual fundraiser, Change to Make a Change, that has traditionally supported local nonprofit organizations. This year, the fundraiser has expanded to benefit two organizations: Freedom a La Cart locally and the Syrian American Medical Society, to support earthquake victims in Syria and Turkey. In addition to collecting change from students to benefit these organizations, two additional students had reached out to a local business that donated bracelets and necklaces to sell to further support earthquake relief efforts. So far, more than $1,000 has been raised for Freedom a La Cart and nearly $3,000 for the Syrian American Medical Society. In the fourth quarter, UAHS students will be partnering with other schools in the district for a service learning project in connection with these fundraisers.
Interim Superintendent Kathy Jenney, Ed.D., shared highlights from the past month in the Upper Arlington Schools, including the recent productions of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast at Upper Arlington High School and The SpongeBob Musical at Hastings Middle School; UAHS athletics winter highlights involving the boys and girls swimming team and wrestling; UAHS student-led Hour of Code activities for K-8 students; Scholastic Art & Writing Competition awards; and the Nic Stone author visit.
Teaching & Learning Update
Chief Academic Officer Keith Pomeroy shared the Middle School Program of Studies for approval by the Board of Education. The primary change to the program of studies for the 2023-2024 school year is the updated state graduation requirements for the Class of 2026 and beyond.
Additionally, the work on the new Upper Arlington Schools Profile of an Engaged Learner continues to progress, with K-12 focus groups conducted to gather feedback on what the characteristics look like in action in the Upper Arlington Schools. A work group of teachers and administrators from across the district, known as the Teaching and Learning Team, has begun to process the student feedback to build “to do this we will …” statements, looking at how the district can bring these characteristics and traits to life in the experiences of students.
Human Resources and Operations Update
Dr. Kathy Jenney shared an update about transition plans for the next superintendent, Dr. Robert Hunt, who will be joining the district during the summer. With Dr. Jenney’s retirement, and fellow Associate Superintendent Dr. Andy Hatton moving on to become the superintendent of Findlay City Schools this summer, Dr. Hunt was presented with an opportunity to take a fresh look at the district’s administrative structure and make adjustments. This is consistent with the district’s practice to evaluate any position that becomes open.
The Board of Education considered and eventually approved at the March 7 meeting three new job descriptions that are a reallocation of existing current positions. Under the new administrative structure, there will be one deputy superintendent, which will take the place of both associate superintendent roles. This will allow Dr. Hunt to create additional support in the Teaching and Learning Department by taking the existing curriculum director position and splitting it into two roles: a director of elementary education (PreK-5) and a director of secondary education (6-12).
In addition, Director of Human Resources Matt Jordan also shared updates on the following topics: $800,000 in safety grants for all the K-12 buildings; an addendum to the Ohio State University Behavioral Health contract; and the 2023-2024 Student Life Handbook and Online Academy Handbook.
Chief Technology Officer Denise Lutz, Ed.D., shared an update on the well-being structures in the district. The three-tiered structure offers students wellness education for all students on academic, social-emotional and career-based learning (tier 1); targeted instruction or intervention through small groups or individual services, provided through school counselors, Syntero and the Ohio State University well-being partnership (tier 2); and individualized education plans / services by mental health providers through the OSU partnership (tier 3). None of these additional supports would be provided without parent knowledge, as parents/guardians are required to register their students for small groups or individualized supports. While these structures afford a wide range of services for students and families, the school counselor is always the best place to start for families interested in additional support for their students.
Listen Learn Lead Update
Members of the district administrative team provided a quarterly update on the implementation of the recommendations identified through the Listen Learn Lead community engagement process last spring. Those recommendations fall into three areas: student engagement; financial accountability; and enhancing communications.
Student Engagement — The district has taken steps to elevate student voice through K-12 focus groups on the Profile of an Engaged Learner. Work is ongoing on building the Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) structures and processes at the secondary level and building on the STEM experience for students; an update on these areas will be provided to the Board of Education later this spring or summer. Additional academic supports for students in math have been put in place at the middle school and high school level. Finally, parents will soon see enhancements to the learning management systems and their overall ability to navigate their students’ experience — including the creation of a Parent ClassLink Portal, providing families one location to access all systems, sites and resources for their students.
Financial Accountability — The district is in the process of finalizing the Treasurer’s Finance Advisory Committee, which will begin meeting in the spring. The Annual Financial Update is currently in production and will be shared with the community soon, as will a new webpage on efficiency efforts.
Enhance Communications — The district will be continuing the work to improve the website by looking next at the middle school websites and continued enhancements to the district website this summer. Community signups for the email newsletter continue to grow via the link on the district website and promotion in the print UAiNSIGHT newsletter. Coming up in May, the district will host its next series of Listen Learn Lead community engagement sessions, which will involve incoming Superintendent Dr. Robert Hunt. The sessions will be held on:
Wednesday, May 3 — 10 a.m. at Mountview Church; 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. at Upper Arlington High School
Thursday, May 4 — 10 a.m. at Mountview Church; 5 p.m. at Upper Arlington High School
Diversity, equity and inclusion focus
Dr. Kathy Jenney shared an update on the diversity, equity and inclusion focus for the district — which connects directly to the well-being priority in the strategic plan and the district’s Profile of an Engaged Learner. She shared that the district will continue to honor the community’s feedback on the importance of this work. The district is seeking proposals for a diversity, equity and inclusion partnership with a research institution or organization doing work in this area with a long history of success. This partnership will enable the district to benchmark current progress and integrate further diversity, equity and inclusion research-based strategies that have a meaningful and lasting impact.
Communications from the Board
Members of the Board of Education shared brief updates on the committees they serve on. President Lori Trent shared updates on upcoming events and activities for The Stand Project. Member Lou Sauter shared an update on the work of the Finance Committee and the Upper Arlington Education Foundation. Member Nidhi Satiani shared updates on the PTO Presidents’ Council, the Equity Advisory Board, the Finance Committee, the Teaching & Learning Committee, the Well-Being Committee and the DEI Committee.
Treasurer/CFO Andrew Geisfteld shared monthly financial statements reflecting February 2023, as well as an update on project expenditures and remaining contracts for the master plan construction projects. He also shared an update about the annual approval of the resolution accepting the amounts and tax rates based on calculations by the Franklin County Auditor’s Office as well as an agreement with the City of Upper Arlington regarding a utility easement on the Upper Arlington High School site.
Additional updates were shared on legislature activity involving two House bills - House Bill 33, involving the biennium budget, and House Bill 1.
You may visit our Upper Arlington Schools Board of Education page to access the March 7 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.