As we start this historic school year, there is no better time to be a Golden Bear.

In 2018, we will be celebrating the centennial of our community and our school district -- our cherished past and our golden future.

Upper Arlington's founders felt very strongly that our community's children receive the highest quality education possible, and nearly 100 years later, that remains true. Upper Arlington is a lighthouse district, and our innovative strategic plan is the beacon that guides our work.

In this third year of the plan, we continue our work toward the goals that will positively affect student performance, personalize education for each child, increase our district's efficiency and support our commitment to open and transparent service to our community.

Just a year ago, we became one of the first school districts in Ohio to launch a one-to-one technology program districtwide, with all students in kindergarten through grade 12 receiving a device to serve as a tool for their learning.

Many of our teachers describe one-to-one technology as a game-changer in their classrooms, allowing students to learn in the way and at the pace that best suits their needs. And as we enter the second full year of this program, we will ensure the technology continues to support our mission to challenge and support every student, every step of the way.

During the 2017-18 school year, we will also have a districtwide focus on literacy. This may sound like a basic concept, but the importance of literacy skills cannot be overstated. Literacy is the key to students excelling, not only in reading and writing but truly in every subject area. Our amazing teachers already do great work in this area and we are excited to push even further for the benefit of our students.

You'll be able to learn more about student academic performance and progress toward other goals in the strategic plan in our third annual Quality Profile report, which will come out this fall.

This document was created by a committee of residents and educators and fits into the accountability goal in the strategic plan. It is meant to give our community a transparent report on our district's strengths and areas on need. You can learn more and look for the report in the fall at

It's likely that you or one of your friends or neighbors took part in the facilities master planning process, which is part of our efficiency goal. This effort was launched nearly three years ago at the urging of a group of community volunteers that was looking into the district's operations.

Since then, thousands of residents have shared their thoughts on our facilities through volunteer building teams, meetings and surveys. In all, we had more than 8,000 points of contact as community members came together to plan for the future of our schools.

On Nov. 7, Upper Arlington voters will consider a combined operating levy and bond issue that would maintain the high-quality educational programming offered in our schools and fund the first phase of the community's master plan.

To read our strategic plan or to learn more about the master planning process, please visit our website at Also feel free to reach out to me by emailing or calling 614-487-5030.

This is truly an exciting time to be in Upper Arlington, and I couldn't be more proud to be a Golden Bear!

Paul Imhoff is superintendent of Upper Arlington schools. This column is provided to ThisWeek Upper Arlington News by his office.