Grandview Heights Schools will open the new school year Wednesday, Aug. 14, looking ahead to construction of a new school building.

"We are on schedule to break ground in December or January on our new building for grades 4-8," Superintendent Andy Culp said. "We don't expect the project to cause any real disruptions, although obviously, there will be a construction project going on. Student and staff safety will be job one."

The new building will be constructed in the space between the Edison Intermediate/Larson Middle School building on Oakland Avenue and the high school building on West Third Avenue.

"The one disruption we anticipate is that the youth soccer practices that are held in that grassy area between the two existing schools will need to be moved to another location," Culp said.

The $55.2 million bond issue voters approved in November 2018 will fund the new 4-8 building, along with major renovations to the high school and Americans with Disabilities Act and security upgrades to Stevenson Elementary School.

The new 4-8 building is expected to be completed by fall 2021. At that time, high school students will move temporarily into the new building while their school is renovated. The Edison/Larson building will continue to be occupied by intermediate and middle school students.

The facilities project is planned for completion in winter 2023. High school students will move back into the renovated high school building, and Edison/Larson students will move into the new school. The Edison/Larson building then will be demolished.

The district will provide an update on the details of the project design at its next community meeting, Culp said.

Residents can attend sessions set for 7 p.m. Aug. 21 and 9 a.m. Aug. 22. Both meetings will be held in the commons at the middle school, 1240 Oakland Ave., and the content of each meeting will be the same.

As the new school year opens, Grandview is expecting to earn excellent marks on the upcoming state report card.

"The results are not final yet, but all indications are we will be earning an overall grade of A on the report card," Culp said. "Our Performance Index score will continue to be very high as well."

The Performance Index is based on students' test scores.

In the latest U.S. News & World Report high school rankings, Grandview Heights High School moved up 285 places to 446th nationwide and ranked 18th in Ohio, Culp said.

"We will continue this year, as we do each and every year, to focus on our core mission of maximizing and personalizing each and every student's learning," he said. "Everything we do is focused on meeting the social, emotional, behavioral and academic needs of each one of our students."

The district is working to strengthen its academic offerings for students, Chief Academic Officer Jamie Lusher said.

After a successful start at the high school, Grandview will extend its participation in the Ohio Model United Nations program this school year to the middle school, she said.

More than 30 students participated in the program last year at the high school, Lusher said.

The program is offered by the Ohio Leadership Institute.

"We want to provide more opportunities for students to extend their learning outside of the school day," she said. "The Model U.N. gives our students who are interested in world issues, culture and government an opportunity to explore problem solving and diplomacy by participating in a simulation of the real U.N."

The high school will offer 17 Advanced Placement courses this school year, including a new course called Advanced Science Computer Principles, Lusher said.

The new AP class will give students more opportunities to learn coding and programming, she said.

More than 70% of Grandview High School students took at least one AP class last school year and about 76% earned a score of 3 or better on at least one AP exam, Culp said.

"Our students are really embracing the opportunity to take AP courses, he said.

The district is moving into the second year of a three-year process that ultimately will result in the bundling of science courses for middle school students, Lusher said.

"Starting next school year, students will be able to complete all of their middle school science classes in sixth and seventh grade and will be able to begin taking and earning credits for high school science classes in eighth grade," she said.

As students complete high school science courses in eighth grade, they will later be able to take science classes built around their specific areas of interest, such as astronomy or microbiology, Lusher said.

Culp couldn't say exactly what enrollment will be for 2019-20, but said it is expected to be slightly higher than last year. That's because this year's kindergarten class is expected to be about 10 to 12 students larger than the 72-member class of 2019 that graduated in May, he said.