It appears enrollment in the Groveport Madison school district has increased this year, likely thanks to the elimination of split sessions and the introduction of all-day kindergarten.
"This is a very brave move that I make to even bring up official enrollment numbers," commented Superintendent Scott McKenzie during the Sept. 12 meeting of the Groveport Madison Local Board of Education. "We should be reporting moderate to substantial growth this school year."
He said although official numbers are not yet available from the Ohio Department of Education, the district has calculated it has 6,123 students enrolled this year, an increase of 124 students over the 2006-07 school year’s enrollment of 5,999. McKenzie noted that the district’s enrollment traditionally fluctuates from year to year.
"But in 2004-05, with the start of split sessions in our districts and other factors such as the surge of community schools, our enrollment began to decline," he said.
More than 750 students living in the Groveport Madison School District attend community schools this year. That translates into $4.1 million in district funds transferred to community schools in 2006-07, a sharp increase from the $809,000 transferred to community schools in the 2002-03 school year.
However, after eliminating split sessions and adding all-day kindergarten to Groveport Madison’s curriculum for 2007-08, McKenzie said he is optimistic the district is on an upswing enrollment-wise.
"I’m holding my breath because it seems like we can reverse that trend," he said, noting the Ohio Department of Education’s official numbers will not be available until November. "Hopefully we’ll have good news to report."
McKenzie said to help improve enrollment in the district, he has begun working with district staff on how to improve customer service. He said he has offered to purchase the book "Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach to Customer Service" by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles for any staff member willing to read the book, discuss it, and share its ideas with colleagues.
"Being good is not good enough anymore," he said. "We will try to talk about starting from the bottom up to create those raving fans."
A collaborative effort to provide after-school learning experiences through KIDSConnect will once again be offered at students at Middle School North and Middle School South, McKenzie announced.
According to Michaela Taylor, project manager for KIDSConnect, the school-based after school program for targeted students is conducted in a setting that fosters positive connections between family, school and community.
"We ask teachers, guidance counselors and principals to nominate students to participate in our program," Taylor explained. The program serves 30 students at each site from 3-6 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
"Students will be involved in program activities that include homework assistance or academic enrichment, team building, mentoring, service learning projects, nutrition and fitness projects and guest speakers," Taylor added.
Students will also have the opportunity to take fiend trips to Make a Difference Day community service events, the Prevention film premiere, Hoover YMCA Park and others.
KIDSConnect, as a program of the Educational Council, will receive the 21st Century Community Learning Center grant of $110,305, which is administered by the Ohio Department of Education. Implementation of the five-year grant began in August and is fully funded the first three years and at 75 percent the fourth year and 50 percent the fifth year.
KIDSConnect has grown from a program started in 1996 called Rickenbacker Area Partnership. Originally the program involved Hamilton Local, Canal Winchester and Groveport Madison schools, but it has grown to include Whitehall schools, other government and business partners and community organizations.
McKenzie said he is pleased the district is able to participate in the program again.
"In the past, our students have benefited from the program both academically and socially," he said. "These students were able to have opportunities that we were not able to provide in the regular school setting."
Other Groveport Madison news
In other news, the board:
•Held a one-and-a-half hour closed executive session to review applicants for the treasurer’s position.
•Appointed board member Duane Dailey as delegate and board member John Kershner as alternate to attend the business meeting of the Ohio School Boards Association capital conference on Nov. 12.
•Postponed approving the periodic maintenance contract between the district and EPS (a division of Innovative Hardware Inc.); the comprehensive contract with the Educational Service Center of Franklin County for the 2007-08 school year; and a resolution endorsing participation in year 21 of the Safe and Drug Free Schools Consortium. Board members said they needed more time to review contracts and specific details regarding the agreements.