Although January 1 marks the start of a new calendar year, for the South-Western City School District, the new year truly marks the middle of its school year.
Projects and initiatives typically begin with the start of the school year in August, said Superintendent Bill Wise.
the second phase of the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission district project will continue this year and stay “on time and on budget,” he said.
South-Western plans to open its four replacement colleges in Brookpark, Finland, Norton and Pleasant View when the school year begins in fall 2022, Wise said.
The district’s fifth college – Jackson – is receiving improvements including additional classrooms, a multi-purpose hall and an increase in gymnasium seating, which will bring it in line with the quality of the college’s new buildings, a he declared.
“This is a really exciting time for the district,” said school board president Cathy Johnson.
The first phase of the OFCC project included the construction of new elementary school buildings and a new Franklin Heights high school.
Some enrollment adjustments will likely be needed at colleges next fall, but attendance limits for high school won’t change, Wise said.
“No one is going to change high school – which we want to be clear,” he said. “Even if the college you attend changes, your high school won’t change.”
Along with the OFCC project, the district has a number of facility improvement projects planned for the spring and summer, said Treasurer Hugh Garside.
These projects include resurfacing the tennis courts at Westland and Central Crossing High Schools; improvements to the HVAC and roofs of recreation centers; renovating lighting and sound systems in high school auditoriums and replacing the cooler / freezer at Hayes Middle School, he said.
Whether the buildings are new, improved or the same, South-Western offers extensive learning opportunities throughout the district, Wise said.
“In November, we launched the paper-based tutoring for all students in grades 7 to 12,” he said. “This is an online service that gives our students 24/7 access to tutoring help in multiple languages.
The district has also developed a partnership with the YMCA of Central Ohio to add staff to support social development at each elementary and middle school, Wise said. Ten of the 21 necessary staff had been hired in early December.
Central Crossing and Grove City High Schools have added a student success manager to serve first-year and sophomore students, he said.
Each of the district’s four high schools now has a student success manager and a college success advisor to help students prepare for college and for careers, Wise said.
The district is also implementing a newly designed graduation consultative process that is aligned with the new graduation requirements of the Ohio Department of Education, he said.
The Advisory Graduation Process is designed to ensure that students have up-to-date credit, have the opportunity to explore their professional interests, set post-secondary goals, and align their high school experiences with those goals, Wise said.
Southwest will also move next year from ACT to SAT for its state exam day requirement, he said.
During the current school year, Sud-Ouest has “restarted” its college career technical electives that had been in place before the COVID-19 pandemic, Wise said.
As of December 1, a total of 4,081 middle school students were enrolled in the seven courses, he said. The Southwest has a total of 3,334 high school students, which means that some students take more than one CTE class of their choice.
“We are focused on programming for 2022-2023 with the goal of enrolling even more students in elective courses,” said Wise.
“I am really proud of the work our staff, students and parents have done to deal with everything” they faced during the pandemic, Johnson said.
“We have all had to adapt to changing situations,” she said.
“As an organization, we like to say that we ‘plan the work and work to plan,’ and this approach helps us deal with the adjustments we have had to make,” said Wise.