Superintendent Message for May 23, 2019

Dear Olentangy Families,

Today marks the conclusion of the 2018-19 school year and I am proud of what we have accomplished as a district family. With the support of our dedicated staff, generous volunteers, Olentangy Schools Board of Education and so many other individuals who give of their time and talents to help students flourish, we are accomplishing great things.

Here are just a few highlights from this school year:

· All of our eligible high schools were ranked among the nation’s best by U.S. News and World Report. This is the result of all of the work done by our students and staff beginning in the elementary grades, through middle school, and culminating with their high school work.

· Freedom Trail Elementary was nominated as a National Blue Ribbon School, which is an honor bestowed by the U.S. Department of Education. It’s been previously awarded to three other schools in our district.

· We now have 14 Purple Star schools in our district with the recent addition of Olentangy Berlin High School, Cheshire Elementary School, Heritage Elementary School and Oak Creek Elementary School. The Ohio Department of Education's Purple Star recognizes schools that show a commitment to serving students and families connected to our nation’s armed forces.

In addition, Olentangy Schools gives students many opportunities to discover and follow their passions. Numerous academic, artistic, extra-curricular and athletic teams and individuals excelled throughout the year, reaching high achievement at the local, state and even national level.

Last Sunday, the class of 2019 was recognized at three commencement ceremonies. In 2006, this class began kindergarten with 1,146 students. This week, I had the privilege to shake the hands of more than 1,500 accomplished seniors- our largest graduating class yet. These students have accepted millions in scholarships and awards and I have every confidence that they are prepared for a bright future.

I am also proud of our efforts throughout the district to achieve our strategic goal of inclusive excellence. In every school across our district, we have increased efforts to create a more kind and accepting school community. While many efforts are spearheaded by administrators and teachers, countless numbers of students have taken it upon themselves to perform random acts of kindness.

But, I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that we’ve experienced incidents that have challenged us. Recent headlines are disappointing, and while the actions of a few don’t represent the many, they’re challenging nonetheless. As we work to do our part to continuously improve, please don’t lose sight of the many significant accomplishments that all of our students have achieved throughout this year.

We all work hard together to live the district’s mission to facilitate maximum learning for every student. Let’s take today to celebrate the many successes and outstanding achievements of our students, staff and families. You are what makes our Olentangy community great.

Proud to serve as your Superintendent,

Mark T. Raiff

Superintendent, Olentangy Schools