Licking County News

Licking Heights' goals will include improvement of school curriculum

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Licking Heights school board members discussed goals for the district during a special workshop Aug. 5, and for the first time in a while, it didn't involve approval of a levy.

"This was the first time we as a board had a workshop," said board member Nicole Roth. "We have been so focused on the financials with the levy, that this was the first time we could discuss ... the overall picture for the district."

She said board members brainstormed a list of topics they wished to address, and then tried to narrow them.

While they didn't define specifics during the meeting, board members agreed on key topics they would like to focus upon in the months and years to come.

"While we haven't yet finalized the exact wording of the goals for the district, we did decide on the main focus of our goals," Roth said. "We as a district will be focusing on curriculum, facilities, staff and communication."

Roth said curriculum will be reviewed to see exactly what Licking Heights has and what it needs, both immediately and in the next several years.

Facilities will be reviewed to determine how growth and the district's vision impacts the size and type of buildings that might be needed in the future.

Also, Roth said, the board will consider staffing necessary to implement programs.

"We will look at ways to retain the outstanding staff and administrators that we have, and as always, a better way to communicate with staff, parents and the community so that we are transparent to the district," she said.

Superintendent Philip Wagner said Licking Heights has experienced a high staff turnover rate and the cause needs to be determined.

"That's part of what the board wants to study," he said.

Wagner said the board is looking to improve curriculum, facilities, staff and communication, not necessarily overhaul them.

"It's not to say these are glaring deficiencies," he said. "If you're standing still, you're also stagnating."

Wagner said the district intends to make better use of social media to communicate with students and parents and even intends to launch a Licking Heights smartphone app.

Wagner said the board will look for ways to offer more academic programs and continue to decrease class sizes.

"I really applaud the board for making this a focus," he said.

Wagner said the past year was more about trying to keep the district solvent and meet payroll following the failure of an 8.9-mill levy in November 2012.

The levy failure led to many layoffs and the elimination of high school bus transportation. However, the same levy request was approved by voters in May.

"Now that the levy's passed, the district can focus on providing the best education for the students," Wagner said.

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