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New Quaker Valley high school one of superintendent’s priorities

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Quaker Valley Superintendent Tammy Andreyko identified her priorities to move the district forward during the Jan. 23 program, “Blueprint: Designing for Success” at Quaker Valley Middle School.

Roughly 100 days into the job, Quaker Valley School District Superintendent Tammy Andreyko has identified her priorities to move the district forward.

On Jan. 23, in front of a crowd of about 100 parents, students and community leaders gathered at Quaker Valley Middle School, Andreyko shared how she spent her first few months on the job and how that helped her formulate her five focuses for the district.

The “Blueprint: Designing for Success” outlined by Andreyko includes creating a student-centered environment, focusing on innovation, completing a comprehensive plan for the district, increasing student achievement and building a new Quaker Valley High School.

“It’s a lot of teamwork,” Andreyko said as to how this all gets accomplished.

Andreyko talked about her first 24 hours on the job at Quaker Valley back in August.

She was stopped in the parking lot with the question: “What was my vision for Quaker Valley? What were my priorities? What changes should we expect?”

Andreyko realized she needed time with the students, staff and community to answer those questions, she said.

“Hey, even the president gets 100 days,” she said, adding that she spent her first 100 days listening and learning.

She met with administrators — to whom she credits previous successes in the district — students and community leaders, and visited ballfields, police stations and even hair salons to find out just what people love about Quaker Valley.

There were also accomplishments.

“My first 100 days has been marked by progress towards finalizing our teachers contract, as well as our transportation contract. We’re updating our website and finding new ways to communicate with you through social media,” she said.

But, as Andreyko said, time’s up. She said she’s ready to share her priorities and how they will all come together.

The top priority is to be student-centered — meeting all students where they are, Andreyko said.

“It starts in the classroom,” she said. “The teachers make the difference in the classroom, so choosing and hiring the best people who care deeply about children, and taking and personalizing education for them is critical.”

The district also will look at student safety measures over the next several months and how they can be enhanced.

“We always know that we can do a better job,” she said. “We always know that we can learn from other districts. We know that we can learn from research. That’s where we have to focus our energy.”

With innovation, Andreyko said a refresh of hardware for the district’s one-to-one initiative, which provides a device for every student, is needed for grades 6 to 12. District leaders also need to determine what is needed at the elementary level in terms of technology, she said.

Decisions will be made by springtime on this, she said.

Andreyko wants Quaker Valley to become a destination for innovation.

In terms of academic achievement, which Andreyko said is “the cornerstone of everything that we do,” the district is evaluating its curriculum, performance and the way students are engaged.

Curriculum reviews are currently being done for English language arts, math and science.

It’s also important to make sure students who need extra support have it, she said.

Many of the priorities will come together with the district’s comprehensive plan that is due to the state Department of Education in November.

A team of about 30 people will work on the plan, looking at the district’s mission and vision and “making sure that it drives the work that we do and really sets the stage for what is important in our school community,” Andreyko said.

The goal is to have the plan complete by summer. An administrator plan also will be crafted to help the goals come to fruition.

The high school project is the final priority — one that district leaders are committed to, Andreyko said.

Board President Sarah Heres said the board was focused in 2018 on the “ongoing need for a new high school,” and had to shift its focus to hiring a superintendent.

The project is still a focus of the board, she said.

“We’ve committed ourselves to solving this high school problem,” said Heres.

Andreyko, who showed a video of students, staff and board members expressing their desire for a new high school, said the project will take “a lot of long-term planning and designing and engineering.”

The district has purchased about 134 acres of land off of Camp Meeting Road to house a new school and is still working to finalize the purchase of a remaining parcel.

“It is what this community has been waiting to talk about for years,” Andreyko said. “We have the right people, the right conversations, the right interest. Now it’s, how do we bring it all together?”

The district needs to look at what the school should look like and how to properly fund it, Andreyko said.

The topic will regularly be addressed at board meetings after February, she said.

Stephanie Hacke is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.