Upper Arlington News

With levy approved

Survey will be basis of district's new strategic plan

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

It's full speed ahead for Upper Arlington City Schools after residents approved a 4-mill operating levy Nov. 5.

Superintendent Paul Imhoff said district leaders will begin to analyze the results of an online survey to fuel creation of a quality profile and a new strategic plan.

He said the community's support will allow the district to focus on continued excellence.

"We are focused on results," he said. "We want to work with our staff and our community and we want to focus on continued excellence with greater efficiency."

He said the first step in that vision is the Upper Arlington efficiency project, which is designed to find $4.5 million in savings by the summer of 2017.

Taking a "good, hard look" at goals and streamlining instructional practices will increase the focus on students and instructional needs, Imhoff said.

"The efficiencies we find will not impact students' educational experience," he said. "The savings will be realized through the use of technology, creative thinking, partnerships and shared services."

An online survey on the district website, uaschools.org, asked residents such questions as, "Would you favor increased class sizes in order to reduce spending?" It also asked if they would be interested in an online app for smart phones that would share district news and information.

The survey also asked residents to put in priority order things such as maintaining class sizes, use of technology, sports clubs and extracurriculars, performing arts, college-level courses and more courses for gifted students.

Imhoff said he has not seen the results of the survey yet, but now that it has ended, the results will be reviewed by school administrators, the board of education and an advisory team.

"Our treasurer, Andy Geistfield, has formed an advisory team of Upper Arlington residents and the PTO Presidents Council, which is made up of parents," he said. "They will review all the information so that we can begin the work of identifying efficiencies that we can put in place to save us money without impacting students."

Imhoff said the creation of a quality profile will begin in January.

"We are still putting that together, but the end result will be to issue a yearly quality profile as a companion document to the state report card," he said. "The report card provides an important but narrow view of quality, based on math and reading tests given on a single day. We want to give residents a broader picture of quality."

He said residents will be asked what they consider quality to be in a school district and how it can be measured in all areas.

"Right now, we are looking at what process we will use to begin strategic planning, but expect to begin in March and April," he said.

Imhoff said the quality profile and strategic plan developed from the survey results will give Upper Arlington residents the chance to set the standards that measure the school district's success.

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