Cameron M. Ryba, Superintendent, Strongville City Schools
As a district, we are driven toward providing an innovative educational experience that meets the needs of our students, parents, and community. To accomplish this goal, we not only focus on continuously evolving and enhancing the educational experience for our students in the classroom, but the classroom itself. We are redefining our district footprint through the revitalization of our district facilities.
Based on the passage of an $81 million Bond project in 2012, our district is able to provide enhanced learning facilities, new technology, and expanded educational opportunities for our students. In just two years, we will have renovated our preschool, provided critical repairs to our elementary buildings, built a new middle school, renovated our high school, and repurposed a former elementary building into new administrative office space. All of this work has been done in conjunction with the consolidation of seven elementary schools into five, two middle schools into one, and two administrative office buildings into one, which will result in the demolition of six district buildings by the end of the 2016-17 school year.
It is a challenge to make this number of changes in a district, while continuing to enhance opportunities in academics, athletics, and the arts without an effective communications plan. With roughly 5,400 students, over 700 staff members, and 44,000 Strongsville residents, this can be a daunting task. Based on the recommendations provided by a contracted communications consultant, we started the 2015-16 school year with a strategic communications plan in place.
As a district, we established consistent communications expectations for all buildings through social media, weekly communications to parents, and weekly staff updates. We modeled these expectations at the district level by sending a weekly eNewsletter to our parents and community, as well as a monthly district newsletter to our staff.
In addition to our digital newsletters, we strengthened our video presence. The district started a YouTube channel to promote video newsletters each semester. We also instituted “60-Seconds with the Superintendent”, a brief weekly video featuring one of the many outstanding programs, collaborations, or opportunities for students that are occurring in our district.
Finally, we created a SPOT Committee for the district, which is focused on implementing creative ways to increase morale, appreciation, and trust throughout the district. The efforts of this committee to highlight those staff members exhibiting Supportive, Positive, Outstanding, and Team Player behaviors are done through quarterly newsletters, staff/family social events, and staff member awards and recognitions.
Our goal at Strongsville City Schools is to build and strengthen a collaborative atmosphere to reach our shared goal of excellence for our students and community. Through the efforts of our entire district team, we are making great strides in turning this vision into a reality through our consistent and strategic communications to our district and community.