Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to present the State of the Schools address, an overview of highlights and data from the past school year as well as strategies we will employ for the future, to the Reynoldsburg Area Chamber of Commerce.

It is amazing how quickly time flies. My first official day as superintendent was Aug. 1, 2017. Our team rallied to get ready for the new school year and to begin to identify areas that needed our immediate attention. Our goal was to be ready to welcome our staff and students back and to be more than ready for our new beginning together.

This year has been one of many successes, including several academic achievements I am proud to share. We introduced a common instructional framework and a districtwide study of Dave Burgess' book, "Teach Like A Pirate," which is fitting for our Raiders! We are also working on social media initiatives, virtual professional development for our staff and expanding robotics in the classrooms.

An issue that has attracted substantial attention throughout the state is testing and assessment.

While there is certainly a need for assessment within our instructional program, we recognize that excess can detract from our efforts to meet and exceed our academic goals. We worked to respond to state legislation to reduce the amount of testing and allow additional time for our teachers to focus on teaching and learning. I have always said a student should not be reduced to a test score. That is one form of measurement at one day in time, but not reflective of the whole child.

From a fiscal standpoint, we have a very positive outlook, based on projections, that positions us to avoid pursuing a levy until 2021. We intend to be responsible with funds while creating conditions whereby all of our students have the resources at their disposal to be successful. That is our commitment and our obligation. I am incredibly proud of what we have been able to accomplish, including increased involvement in our community, transformative instructional work, the increased positive media coverage for the district and the tremendous number of student accolades. I am excited that this is just the beginning and we have amazing things planned for 2018 and beyond to showcase our students and staff.

Our robust portfolio of partnerships that support initiatives aimed at preparing students for colleges and career readiness is another area of which I am proud.

We continue to look for other out-of-the-box methods to engage our students in authentic learning opportunities that prepare them for the world after graduation.

It is my hope that when a child graduates from Reynoldsburg City Schools, he or she will be well-equipped for the world -- whether that is advancing to a two-year or four-year institution, earning a certification, securing real-world experiences as an apprentice or intern, or thriving in an employment opportunity.

We are definitely looking toward the future by seeking to improve our connection to the community. Engaging our students in learning opportunities in and outside of the classroom is part of our forward-thinking strategy.

We want to recruit and retain the best talent possible. We look to be a district that is a destination for individuals who are seeking new and innovative opportunities to thrive and excel in their careers. We intend to make sure Reynoldsburg City Schools stay ahead of the educational curve, not only as a district to watch in Ohio, but nationwide.

I look forward to sharing additional thoughts in the coming months. If you would like to view my presentation from the State of the Schools address, you can do so on our website, www.reyn.org.

Melvin Brown is superintendent of Reynoldsburg schools. This column is provided to ThisWeek Reynoldsburg News by his office.