I hope everyone had a wonderful, relaxing summer and is ready to tackle the 2018-19 school year. I am confident that we will set a course toward new heights of success.

Earlier this month, I celebrated my one-year anniversary with the district. I want to highlight what we have been up to during what was a very busy and productive summer and to the many things we want to accomplish this year.

We completed the first phase of our strategic plan. We will begin the work to create goals and action steps associated with four key areas: student learning, student experience, communication and finance.

We welcomed new administrators, teachers and staff to the district.

We received grants this summer that will have a tremendous impact on our district: Striving Readers, a Battelle for Kids grant, and an Expanding Opportunities for Each Child grant.

Each will focus on different areas of curriculum, support and equity for our students.

We are in the process of beginning the development of a "Freshman Experience." It is our hope in the development of this venture that we increase the high-school readiness of our students. Our plans are to integrate this idea during the 2019-2020 school year, so be on the lookout for more information and ways to provide input.

As you know, we selected 14 students to serve on the Superintendent's Student Advisory Council. I am so excited to begin working directly with them as they will lend a voice on behalf of our entire student body.

In an effort to provide support for the whole child and to expose our students to programs to make them better citizens of the world, we are increasing an emphasis on physical education programs to include health and wellness and nutrition, as well as exercise. We are also widening access to increase interest in music and arts at the elementary school level.

It is our aim to increase the engagement and participation in advanced placement courses. We also want to improve the preparation of our students for these classes, and that begins in middle school. For our students to meet and exceed their potential, we need to offer the tools and support for them to take advantage of these opportunities.

We have had very productive conversations with our colleagues at the Eastland-Fairfield Career & Technical Schools to discuss our continuing relationship and how we can improve accessibility to and connectedness of CTE programs for the upcoming school year.

I am thankful to you for continuing to work every day on behalf of the students of Reynoldsburg. We must always affirm our commitment to that purpose. Change is necessary for growth and I welcome the challenges that come along with that.

We are given an incredible responsibility to support our students as they become positive global citizens and contributors to society. I know that none of us takes that responsibility lightly.

More details about the projects mentioned in this column is available on the district website at www.reyn.org.

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