The start of a new school year is one of the most exciting times of the year. There's nothing better than hearing students' voices in the hallways and seeing the enthusiasm in all of our classrooms.

The start of a new school year is one of the most exciting times of the year. There's nothing better than hearing students' voices in the hallways and seeing the enthusiasm in all of our classrooms.

Here are some of the things we are working on this school year.

New technology

Before school started, we redistributed laptops to students in grades six through 12, and, in the coming weeks, students in kindergarten through fifth grade will receive devices - either iPads or laptops, depending on grade level.

By ensuring that every student has one-to-one access to a technological device, we will offer students the opportunity to have a more personalized learning experience in our classrooms. While nothing will ever replace the importance of the student-teacher relationship, these tools will help our talented teachers to meet the needs of every student at their own level, supporting our mission of challenging and supporting every student, every step of the way.

When we discuss the one-to-one program, I think it's important to share that we have launched this learning initiative by reallocating resources. For example, in the past, our teachers had to rely heavily on printed textbooks and educational materials. As you can imagine, these are extremely expensive and become outdated very quickly. We have also had to maintain multiple computer labs in each school.

We are now reallocating the funds we used to spend on hardcopy materials and labs to cover a portion of the costs of this program. To learn more about the program and its funding, visit www.uaschools.org/personalizedlearning.

Master planning

Throughout the summer, we have asked community members to share their thoughts about the future of our aging schools through an online survey. About 1,400 residents have weighed in on whether we should repair, renovate or rebuild our facilities.

Our nine school buildings are, on average, more than 60 years old and, according to comprehensive third-party physical assessments, will need approximately $188 million in repairs over the next 15 years. As I've shared before, there simply is no "zero-cost" or "do nothing" option for our facility needs.

Community feedback is one of the main data points we will use to formulate our master plan recommendation to the board of education. We want to hear from as many community members as possible, which is why we have been collecting feedback for three months.

We also want to give residents as much notice as possible before we close the survey so you will have the opportunity to share your thoughts, if you haven't already. With the need to formulate our recommendation on the horizon, we plan to close the survey on Aug. 31.

We will share the results of survey, discuss the next steps in the process and offer updates on some new suggestions from community members for Jones Middle School and Upper Arlington High School at a Building Team Summit at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 14, at the high school, 1650 Ridgeview Rd. All building team members and community members are invited to the summit.

We'll make our master plan recommendation to the board of education later this fall. The recommendation will outline which option is the best long-term plan for each building, but it will not include how the master plan will be funded or how the plan could be implemented over time in phases.

These important decisions can only be made after additional community input is gathered during the final phase, the decisions phase, of our master planning process this winter.

We keep saying that your voice matters, and we really do mean it. If you haven't yet, please share your thoughts in our online survey at www.uaschools.org/facilities through Aug. 31.

If you have any questions or ideas, don't hesitate to contact me at superintendent@uaschools.org or call 614-487-5030.

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