Tuesday was a good day for the Columbus City Schools, capped by the annual State of the District address.
Alison Holm reports.
Part pep rally and promises for the future, the district annual event had a more upbeat tone than in some years. In addition to the usual dance and musical prerformances and the lavish student-prepared buffet, staff, parents, teachers and elected officials celebrated the ribbon cutting for the 42-million dollar, 55-acre Africentric Early College campus on the east side. They congratulated Weinland Park Elementary school teacher Tiffany Tynes Curry, who had just received a $25,000 award from the Millken Family Foundation, as one of 35 outstanding educators in the nation – the only teacher in Ohio so recognized. And Superintendent Dan Good laid out what lies ahead for the district, starting with the $75 million dollars in bonds issued Tuesday, that will allow the district to keep last November’s levy pledge to tackle $200 million dollars in deferred maintanance.
“The ‘Operation Fix It’ initiative will proivide some level of repair to every single legacy building in this district. And taxpayers will be able to hold us accountable with a special section of our website devoted to tracking every repair we promised, and every project we complete.”
Good says the district will also make good on the levy promise to add not only new teachers, but also social workers, school nurses and safety personnel, to address the new and changing nature of challenges facing students.
“They are physical and cognitive, social and emotional, direct and in-direct, in our schools and in our neighborhoods. And are always, always changing. In the coming year, we’ll invest in additional safety personnel, new communication tools in our classrooms, and specialized safety training so that every staff member in any building can respond to any crisis.”
And Good announced that the district is delivering on the promise to expand pre-K opportunities in the district, one of the pillars of the levy campaign.
“We will grow where the need is greatest, including our Linden Park Neighborhood Early Childhood Education Center, and will add pre-K classrooms in several of our other buildings. But we will be smart with our investment; measuring the real results in academic outcomes in elementary coursework and beyond.”
In keeping with the levy promise for more transparency, Good also told the crowd that in upcoming weeks the district will roll out an update to existing mobile app that will allow parents to track students course, assignments and classroom performance.