Garrettsville – Over the next nine months the James A. Garfield Community will take three giant leaps into the future because of the $5 Million Straight A Grant.  The construction of an addition on the elementary school will create a “Campus of Excellence”.  Partnerships hope to bring exciting services to the school on Park Avenue. Finally, technology improvements for staff and students will be among the first purchases made with the grant dollars.  Below are updates on how the district is moving carefully forward in each of these areas.

Campus of Excellence

Work is already underway with the construction of an addition to the current elementary school.  A request for qualifications was posted for architects.  An architect will likely be hired this week and we will begin the formal construction process shortly thereafter.

Our principals have been working to create schedules for common spaces like the gymnasium, art room, music spaces, cafeteria, band room and media center.  Meetings have been scheduled with our teachers and staff to gather input on how we can expand programming for next year.

The three components of the construction will consist of an additional classroom wing, an updated secure main entrance and the creation of dual serving lines in the cafeteria.  As soon as drawings are available they will be posted on the district website.

Park Avenue Partnerships

Discussions continue to take place between the school district, the Cleveland Area YMCA and the Portage County Educational Service Center (ESC).  It is the hope of the district to partner with the ESC to bring public preschool and before/afterschool care to the Park Avenue building.  The YMCA will be bringing summer day camps to our community as well as managing many of our youth sports programs.  The district is working diligently to ensure that the Park Avenue school does not sit idle.  We will work tirelessly to bring quality services to the community through the Park Avenue site.

Technology Tools

Years ago every teacher was provided a set of tools to do their job.  These tools may have consisted of chart paper, pencils and paper. These tools have evolved slowly over time to include calculators and overhead projectors.  Today teachers need much more powerful tools.  This spring every teacher in our district will be issued a laptop through the grant as one of their teaching tools.

Next month students in grades 7-12 will have the opportunity to provide input on which technological devices they prefer to use next year.  The grant will allow all students in grades 7-12 tol be issued a device, which will make access to online resource a reality for all middle and high school students.  All existing technology at the middle and high school will be moved to the K-6 classrooms, more than doubling their access to technology..

Three great leaps for our district means a great deal of work lies ahead of us.  To make sure we are making the most informed decisions, an oversight committee of parents, community members, staff and students will be established.  This committee will meet monthly, beginning in February, and be provided updates on the current status of these aforementioned projects.  The committee will also provide input on the direction of each project.

It is undoubtedly an exciting time to be taking giant leaps forward in the James A. Garfield Community!

As always, if you have any questions please feel free to contact me directly at the office (330.527.4336) or on my cell (216.534.7413).