Westerville City School District Superintendent John Kellogg said the district is looking forward to opening doors to students for the new year beginning Tuesday, Aug. 13.

Classes resume for students in grades 1-6 and 9-12 on Aug. 13 and for seventh- and eighth-graders Thursday, Aug. 14.

Kindergarten starts Friday, Aug. 16, with morning kindergarten operating from 9:05 to 11:45 a.m.

Afternoon kindergarten sessions will be held from 12:50 to 3:30 p.m.

Kellogg said the projected enrollment for this school year is 15,423, and increasing enrollment continues to be a pressure point for the district.

"We have had to assign some new students to buildings other than their home school because of class sizes," he said. "At the kindergarten level, we have already exceeded the projected enrollment numbers and we are still registering kindergarten students."

He said kindergarten enrollment is projected to be 1,022, which is 22 more than last year's actual enrollment of 1,000.

"To date (July 30), we are about 30 over the projected, but the dust has not settled yet," he said.

Kellogg said one of the exciting changes within the district will be at the middle school level where the first set of recommendations will be implemented from the redesign committee.

"All sixth-grade students will be on 'teams' as a means of making their transition to middle school more personable," he said. "Each team will consist of four core teachers and an assigned group of students in the model of a 'school within a school.' "

Kellogg said students in grades 6-8 will have some new elective courses, including World Cultures in Music, Medical Detectives, Health 7 and Extreme Engineering.

Kellogg said the district is rolling out some new technologies that support the goal of providing safe environments for students and staff. He said the improvement includes upgraded visitor-entry systems.

"The system involves scanning a government issued ID into our database and printing an ID badge with the person's image," Kellogg said.

Overall, he said, students and families should expect to see continued efforts to address students' social and emotional needs and a focus on high-level instruction that results in improved student performance.

Greg Viebranz, the district's director of communications and technology, said the system has had some turnover and restructuring of its administrative team heading into this school year, so he's excited about the quality of the professionals in leadership positions.

"At the school level, we have a team of very talented principals and assistant principals, some of whom are new to the district and others who have been with us, but in other roles," he said. "At the district level, we've had a slight restructuring that provides more academic support to the schools. I'm really looking forward to seeing what our district can do with this team in place."

Kellogg said the district's summer school program was very successful.

"As a result of great work from summer school teachers, we had more students meet the Third-Grade Reading Guarantee standard and our passage rate looks to exceed 98%," he said. "In addition, our first ever combined high school summer musical performance played to packed houses and was a great success."

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla