The Olentangy Local School District's 2017-18 academic year is in full swing as we welcomed more than 20,500 students back to school Aug. 16.
The year began smoothly despite significant road construction throughout the district and a solar eclipse. All of us here were ready and excited for everything a new year brings -- from new classes and teachers to new friends and experiences.
If these first few weeks of school are any indication, we are set to have another great year across the Olentangy Local School District.
As always, we are working hard to continue to live our mission and facilitate maximum learning for every student through all we do. To that end, our District Leadership Team spent the summer months developing a strategic plan that will guide our work and efforts during the next five to seven years.
The plan includes four initiatives, all equally important and crucial to the success of the Olentangy Local School District.
Students and Stakeholder, Resource Stewardship, Internal Processes and Learning and Organizational Development are four areas where we see the need to direct our work.
Under these four strategic priorities, we have 12 goals and countless objectives, strategies and tactics to meet these goals. The plan will provide us with measurable outcomes and four quarterly opportunities for reporting to our stakeholders.
We look forward to sharing our progress toward these goals in the coming months and years.
The district continues to implement a digital conversion, which is reflected in our strategic plan. Part of that digital conversion included moving all back-to-school forms online this year.
Based on the feedback we have received, parents and guardians found the online forms saved time and were easy to fill out and submit. We continue to look at all of our processes to find ways to streamline and digitize information to make our operations more efficient. Additionally, we continue to examine ways to best use technology as a tool for student learning.
Last week, the Ohio Department of Education released our state report card results. We continue to be pleased with our performance and recognize opportunities for improvement. Ultimately, we believe we have adjustments that we will continue to make, but we are proud of the fact that Olentangy ranked 27th out of 608 school districts in the state on Performance Index and second in Delaware and Franklin counties.
The construction of Olentangy Berlin High School is progressing as planned. For those who might have missed it, a school mascot -- the Bears -- has been announced, as have the school colors: Olentangy Blue and light blue. Currently, a logo contest is open to all students who will attend Berlin High School.
We will begin making staffing decisions for the new building next month in preparation for the school's August 2018 opening.
We also are hard at work addressing the transition of students from one building to another, as all redistricting decisions made in March will go into effect for the 2018-19 school year.
Despite our many successes, we always have challenge areas we need to address. These include managing our continued extensive enrollment growth and addressing the lack of equitable funding from the state.
Strategic planning and closely utilizing our enrollment projections, as well as talking to state representatives to ask for our fair share of funding, are strategies we continue to employ as we look toward the future.
As always, I am humbled to lead a district where we come together to work hard and truly live our mission in all that we do.
Mark Raiff is superintendent of the Olentangy Local School District.