Gahanna Lincoln High School's new principal, Jessica N. Slocum, will welcome more than 2,400 students back to class on Wednesday, Aug. 15.

Slocum, who served as an academic officer at Lincoln last year, succeeds Bobby Dodd, who resigned to become principal of William Mason High School near Cincinnati.

"We have over 150 course offerings available to students, and we are looking forward to the addition of American Sign Language and the Global Scholars Diploma program for the 2018-19 school year," Slocum said.

She said Lincoln High School's staff is made up of 218 dedicated educators.

"Over the summer, we added seven new staff members to our current team, who will serve in the areas of math, English, family and consumer sciences, American Sign Language, school counseling, curriculum and intervention," she said.

The district's middle school families will begin a slow redistricting process to address an imbalanced middle school enrollment.

Superintendent Steve Barrett and Assistant Superintendent Jill Elliott have pledged to make the transition as smooth as possible for students and families.

The district is implementing a gradual roll-in of sixth-grade classes that allows older, already established students to finish in the middle school they currently attend, thereby affecting the smallest number of students and providing gradual relief in enrollment over time.

Middle School East will welcome students from neighborhoods north of Havens Corners Road and east of Hamilton Road (previously Middle School South) and Rocky Creek Apartments (previously Middle School West).

Middle School South will welcome students from the Rocky Fork Heights neighborhood (previously Middle School West).

Students with older siblings currently in a middle school will be permitted to attend that same school with their sibling, and bus transportation will be available for two years during the roll-in process so families aren't split apart.

"We understand a redistricting situation may be very emotional for some students and families and we are committed to making the transition smooth for everyone involved," Barrett and Elliott said in a joint statement. "We look to ensure our building populations are balanced and educationally sound. We have implemented a plan to address our imbalanced middle school enrollment to meet the educational needs of all students in the district."

Barrett said the district continues to be grateful for the community support shown with passage of a 1.22-mill, 30-year bond issue and a 4.28-mill continuous operating levy in May.

The new elementary school will be built on district-owned property on Helmbright Drive, replacing Lincoln Elementary School.

The bond issue will cover the cost of renovating restrooms, media centers and classrooms in kindergarten-to- eighth-grade buildings.

"We look forward to engaging the community further, as plans develop for building our new elementary school," Barrett said. "A traffic study is being completed, and we will be meeting with residents in the neighborhood where our new elementary school will be built, to gather their input as we begin the building design phase."

He said the master facilities-planning committee will meet this month to discuss aspects of the construction process.

"We look forward to an exciting year of planning for this new learning space, which will keep our fiscal principles and our vision, mission and beliefs in mind," Barrett said.