Upper Arlington News

Upper Arlington school district

Teams will report on strategic planning process


The school district's work team leaders will present "briefing papers" on information gathered during the first phase of a strategic planning process at a special Upper Arlington Board of Education meeting July 16.

The meeting is scheduled at 8 a.m. at the Central Office downstairs boardroom, 1950 Malllway Drive.

"The three work teams have been extremely dedicated to their work and have continued meeting throughout June and early July," Superintendent Paul Imhoff said. "During the first phase of this process, each team has been asked to collect feedback from the community, students, parents and staff members in order to prepare briefing papers."

Imhoff said the briefing papers are in response to these questions:

• What must we do to ensure our curriculum, instruction, assessment, technology and facilities engage all of our students in relevant and rich learning experiences that result in future and post secondary success?

• What are necessary and essential ways to improve school district operating efficiencies and effectiveness?

• What is the best way for Upper Arlington to define, measure and communicate the educational quality and performance of the district?

Residents William Shkurti, Wade Steen and Lori Trent head teams focused on the district's quality profile, productivity and efficiency plan and learning experience, respectively, to answer those questions, Imhoff said.

He said the strategic planning process has now encompassed the district's efficiency project, an effort begun before voters approved a 4-mill operating levy in November 2013. The goal of that project is to reduce district operating costs by a cumulative amount of $4.5 million by the end of the 2016-17 school year.

"As we developed our new approach to strategic planning, we knew that making wise financial decisions would play a critical role in supporting the academic needs of students," Imhoff said. "Since that is the focus of the efficiency project, it seemed like a natural fit to roll the two efforts together."

Steen said the productivity and efficiency work team is researching ways to reduce expenditures and meet the $4.5 million goal.

He said the team reviewed results of the efficiency project community survey, completed by residents during October and November 2013.

Next, the team reviewed the district's five-year financial forecast and studied expenditures related to purchased services, supplies and capital equipment, then toured all the buildings to evaluate utility expenditures.

The district is also collaborating with Battelle for Kids' representatives Brad Mitchell and Greg Browning in the planning process.

Mitchell said Battelle for Kids has been studying some of the best educational systems in the world, in places such as Singapore, Hungary, Finland, Canada and the United States.

Fifteen community members, Battelle for Kids representatives and school district leaders are all working on the new strategic plan, Imhoff said.

In phase two, scheduled for July through September, the committee will create the actual strategic plan. Members hope to have it written by Nov. 1, Imhoff said.

"We won't know what our individual building action plans will be until we develop the plan in phase two, which will include even more community and staff members," he said.

More information on the planning process is available online at the district website, uaschools.org.