Tri-Village News

New faces, new benchmarks as school year opens

Grandview Heights students begin class next week

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Darren Grundey, son of gifted-intervention specialist Joan Grundey, who will teach at Edison Intermediate/Middle School this year, works on a bulletin board for his mother's room Monday, Aug. 5. Classes begin Wednesday, Aug. 14.
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By ThisWeek Community News  • 

The school year opens Wednesday, Aug. 14, in Grandview Heights with new leadership and a renewed focus on academic achievement.

"It's been a busy summer," Superintendent Ed O'Reilly said.

The district has new principals at both Stevenson Elementary School and at the high school.

"When two-thirds of your building administrators change over, that can have a significant impact on the school district," O'Reilly said.

In Angela Ullum at Stevenson and Ken Chaffin at the high school, "we believe we've selected two excellent administrators who understand the needs of students in Grandview Heights and are already working with students and parents," he said.

A number of teaching positions also have been filled over the summer, including art at Stevenson, math at Edison Intermediate/Middle School, social studies at the high school and a new director of bands.

About 150 students have signed up to participate in the high school band this year, O'Reilly said.

"It's an incredible number when you consider we have about 330 students at the high school," he said. "That means almost half our students will be in the band.

"We will have to address that issue this year because we're beginning to outgrow our bandroom space," O'Reilly said.

The district also has added gifted-education staff at Stevenson and Edison to "offer more services to more students," he said.

At the high school, an agreement with Columbus State Community College will offer dual-enrollment courses in psychology and sociology, O'Reilly said.

Students enrolled in the courses will be instructed by both Columbus State professors and Grandview teachers and will earn both college and high school credit.

The high school also will offer a new AP statistics class.

"We want our students to leave us with a significant amount of college credits, so we are offering more of these type of classes," O'Reilly said.

A new teacher evaluation process will be rolled out this year and includes a student growth measurement, he said.

The district also is in the final stages of implementing Common Core standards for math and English and new state standards for science and social studies, O'Reilly said.

The state-mandated third-grade reading guarantee also goes into effect this year.

If a third-grade student does not earn a passing grade on the state reading achievement test, they will not be allowed to proceed to fourth grade.

"The staff at Stevenson did an excellent job reviewing our literacy program and making sure we provide the necessary services to our students," O'Reilly said.

Stevenson has "been a leader in the state" in the percentage of its third-graders who pass the reading test, he said.

Finances will continue to be a concern this school year, O'Reilly said.

Over the past two years, the state cut $2.4 million in the funding Grandview receives, "and that money did not come back in the new budget," he said.

This year was scheduled to be a levy year, but the district has been able to cut its costs, especially in the areas of health insurance and gas and electric bills, and avoided having to go to the ballot this fall, O'Reilly said.

"We feel very good about that," he said.

Later this fall, the district will unveil its new website, which will be more informative and up to date, O'Reilly said.

"Parents will be able to pay many fees online, which they haven't been able to before," he said.

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