Dan Good sees 2017 as a year of building, both in terms of education and facilities construction.

Dan Good sees 2017 as a year of building, both in terms of education and facilities construction.

The superintendent of Columbus City Schools said voter approval of a 6.92-mill levy in November means the district can spend a portion of the money -- $125 million -- on "Operation Fix It," which is deferred maintenance projects.

The first sale of bonds, $75 million, will be in January. Because these projects are the result of deferred maintenance, there is definitely some urgency to getting as many of these projects underway as quickly as possible, Good said.

He said he's looking forward to the opening of the new Africentric Early College, which will serve 900 students from prekindergarten through 12th grade.

District officials say they hope to make a seamless transition when closing the current Africentric school, 300 E. Livingston Ave. on the edge of downtown, and opening the new one at 3223 Allegheny Ave. on the East Side.

Good will give his state-of-the-schools address from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Jan. 24 at the school.

The $42 million project features flexible shared learning environments, new desks, furniture and classroom technology -- all spanning more than 175,000 square feet across two stories in the academic building and a district-first sports complex and fieldhouse.

"It's more than a school; it's a community center," Good said.

CCS will continue to build on its reading successes, Good said. Prior to winter break, the district launched a new #CCSreads initiative aimed at encouraging students to keep their learning going beyond school hours. The initiative gives parents and families free tools and tips to help their children. Officials post daily reading activities on social media using hashtag #CCSreads.

Good said the intense focus has worked. Three years ago, CCS started with only 42 percent of third-graders meeting the standards of the state's Third-Grade Reading Guarantee. Last summer, the district's rate climbed to 91 percent -- something that was accomplished two years in a row.

The state has since changed the scoring on the reading test, which means district officials will be working even harder to meet those benchmarks, he said.

The district has additional ways through technology to connect with parents and students. In the next month, CCS will expand tools offered through the new Columbus City Schools mobile app.

Parents who download the free app will be able to securely access information such as their child's grades, attendance and class assignments, and then set personalized alerts to be sent directly to their smartphones.

For example, parents can get an alert on their phone if their child's grade slips below a B or if they miss class. It's also the first place the district alerts families to a snow day. To download the free app, parents can search "Columbus City Schools" in the app store on their mobile device.

"It's sort of virtual access to your child's progress in real time," Good said.

Gary L. Baker II, school board president, said he's pleased with the board's relationship with Good and the internal auditor.

"There is so much going on right now and it's all positive," Baker said. "We couldn't be more excited."

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary