District Notebook: Grandview Heights Schools' bustling summer offers opportunities to learn

ANDY CULP
Andy Culp

As the school year drew to a close in May, Grandview Heights Schools swiftly pivoted to summer learning and planning for the 2020-21 school year.

As we make the transition into an uncharted summer for our families, we recognize there will be a loss of many summer camps and enrichment experiences for our students. It is our hope that our students will stay involved and connected to learning during the summer months.

Students across the district have been encouraged to participate in a unique summer learning program in which they get to choose their own personalized learning experiences.

We have created and posted on our district website a "Choose Your Own Summer Adventure" to help our students engage in reading, writing, math, STEM and social sciences throughout the summer. It's a great opportunity to explore passions, as well as provide all students a chance to enhance their academic skills while out of the classroom.

Additionally, students in grades K-6 were given the opportunity to participate in a virtual week of Camp Invention. Students engaged in reverse engineering, architecture and design through online sessions.

Also, this summer, Grandview Heights High School students can take part in an online social justice and racism class facilitated by English teachers Bethany Black and Kevin McCarthy.

We continue to plan for what will be yet another unprecedented year in our schools.

In preparation for the 2020-21 school year, our professional development is focused on blended and online learning, pedagogy and practice.

Our staff has the opportunity to engage in summer learning in a personalized way to explore best practices when using WeVideo, Schoology, Project Based Learning and more. Our teachers also are continuing their collaborations with the Columbus Museum of Art, Project Zero through Harvard University and Summer Institutes with WOSU Classroom (formerly ITSCO).

The district also has embarked on a three-phase process to collaboratively engage our students, staff and parents to help design various scenarios for what learning could look like as we head into the fall.

Like all other school districts in Ohio, we will work within the framework of guidelines from the Ohio Department of Education and local health officials.

We've all seen what a fluid situation this has been; therefore, we will need to continue to be as flexible as possible in our planning.

When it comes to our facilities, the district is hard at work preparing for a back-to-school environment that will be different from years past.

Our custodians are deep-cleaning all buildings and implementing a new disinfecting process. The district is acquiring personal protective equipment, such as gloves, masks and partitions, to help keep students, staff and visitors safe in our buildings.

While the school year didn't finish the way we all thought it would, we are grateful for the learning opportunities and experiences we shared, and especially for how our school community truly pulled together.

We wish you all a healthy summer filled with new adventures. You've earned it!

Andy Culp is superintendent of Grandview Heights Schools.