Superintendent's Message Archives

Superintendent's Message Archives

July 2019
June 21, 2019

Dear Reynoldsburg City Schools’ Families,

Beginning with the 2019-20 school year, our District will begin a pilot program with full day Kindergarten starting at two elementary schools. Rose Hill and French Run Elementary Schools have been selected to pilot full day Kindergarten as an extension of their Title I federal funding allocations. Title I provides financial assistance to districts for schools with high percentages of children from low-income families to help ensure that all children meet challenging state academic standards. Federal funds are allocated primarily on census poverty estimates of the community. All Kindergarten students at Rose Hill and French Run will benefit from a full day learning experience beginning this fall.

Full day Kindergarten offers many benefits for our students as more time will be spent preparing them for the rest of their educational careers. They will have the extended opportunity to practice reading, math, and the other skills necessary for success in elementary school. Additionally, they will have enriched periods of study combined with an extended emphasis on literacy and numeracy. Research and practice have shown the distinct advantages of a full day Kindergarten experience. These benefits include higher long-term achievement, higher achievement for disadvantaged and low income students, higher reading scores in early grades, fewer grade retentions, and more time spent in individualized instruction. Social skills development is also a tremendous benefit.

As we focus on the social and emotional well-being of our students, full day Kindergarten allows for children to have more time to focus and reflect on activities, provides additional room for creativity, and permits teachers to have a greater focus on the whole child, not just academic readiness. We have always believed that a child is more than a test score and we look forward to the increased experiences our students will receive. Kindergartners will have access to breakfast and lunch and bus transportation will be provided for those students who reside outside of a mile of the school.

Of the districts in Central Ohio with the highest poverty indices, we are one of the few to still offer a half day Kindergarten program and our teachers have expressed a sincere need of a full day experience. They will excitedly embrace the notion of having more time to work with and to form relationships with their students.

As we continue to address building space issues, our desire to implement a full day Kindergarten experience across our entire District is foremost in our future planning. Our students deserve this opportunity and we are intent on creating it for everyone.

The arrival and dismissal times for full day Kindergarten are 8:05 a.m. and 2:35 p.m. We look forward to the success of our pilot program and hope to roll out full day Kindergarten to the rest of the elementary schools in the District in the near future.

We are excited to offer this pilot program as we continue to evolve and elevate the needs of our students and our District. As we continue to implement new programs and experience all of the exciting opportunities that are available to the District, I want to thank you for being a part of the future of Reynoldsburg City Schools.

Sincerely, 

MJB Electronic Signature 

Melvin J. Brown
Superintendent
Reynoldsburg City Schools 
An End of Year Message from Superintendent Melvin J. Brown
May 23, 2019

Dear Reynoldsburg City Schools Students, Parents, Teachers and Staff,

Congratulations on the completion of yet another successful school year! This was an incredibly busy 2018-19 and we have been able to plan for many amazing things to come for our school community! We have worked diligently to address some of the impediments to our success and 2019-20 is set to be a breakthrough year in the reimagining of our District. As you know, there were a great many things that we have sought to improve upon and this year provided us with the time and the collective will to do just that. 

To reflect and look back, we were able to share not only with the local community, but with the state and the nation, many wonderful things that exist in our schools and to showcase the talents of our students and staff. We were able to do this through news agencies, social media, our website, and a multitude of other communication vehicles. Prominent among those items are the following:
•  Our partners in the media community often reach out to us when they are interested in discussing trends and innovations in education and cover our events and activities.
•  We increased our investment in creating environments whereby students can feel challenged to reach and exceed their potential and to engage in academic experiences that pushed them. Our enrollment in College Credit Plus and in Advanced Placement coursework is far more reflective of the talent that exists in our student population. (In fact, we had two students graduate this year that received both their high school diplomas as well as their Associate’s Degree from Columbus State Community College, thanks to the CCP partnership.)
•  The graduating class of 2019 accrued 4,125 college credits and more than $7 million in scholarships. 
•  We laid the groundwork to increase our instructional effectiveness through the use of problem-based learning experiences. The further articulation of our K-12 STEM pipeline and the development of similar experiences for all kids drives this work. 
•  A greater degree of exposure and emphasis was placed on the arts and the importance of those venues on the progress of the whole child. Herbert Mills Elementary School earned its STEAM designation, as it continues to focus on the arts and humanities as they align with their global goals. A reconfiguration of art, music, and World Language offerings speaks to that progress
•  We recommitted to early literacy and the need to embrace equity in resource allocation. The adoption of elementary literacy curriculum is something that our district has not undertaken in more than 10 years. I look forward to tremendous strides in our elementary achievement scores. 
•  We created The 9X Impact to provide all of our Freshmen with a common experience that exposes them to real connections to our academy structure, a more supportive environment for social and emotional learning and a gradual release from middle school, and a purposeful preparation for what high school readiness needs to resemble. 

This is, as they say, just the beginning of some of the great work that is still to come. I am so excited for our future and I cannot wait to truly reach our full potential. We are aiming toward becoming a “go-to” District; one that is a trendsetter in education nationally and can compete with any district in the country. We have connections with educators from around the world reach out to tour our buildings and to collaborate on innovative practices with our staff and students. I do not make this statement solely on the basis of test scores as they are but one measure of progress. We seek to create an infrastructure that supports optimal learning, experiential opportunities, leadership development, and positive community and civic engagement. We have often stated that by creating the conditions necessary to support all students and to foster in them a sense of ownership of their schools and community within them, test scores will take care of themselves. Their sense of belonging and acceptance of their own responsibility to our community play tremendous roles in creating those conditions. 

Our ability to seek discomfort to continuously grow ourselves and to never accept mediocrity will spur those conditions. I constantly hope that our community recognizes the keen desire to recognize and pay homage to our past as we work to spur future enhancement. As societal needs and the demands placed upon us change, so must our actions, our programming, and our focus. We must constantly seek purposeful change that can carry us to even greater heights of success. As we have often stated, “we will not allow our kids to simply be relegated to being a test score.” They are vessels of promise and hope that will lead our world in the future and we must value them as such. I believe that we all recognize the incredible responsibility we have to our students and that pushes us each and every day. 

I hope you take the summer to relax, recharge and refresh. We will continue to work over the coming months to continue making progress and identifying new and exciting opportunities for our students and the District for the 2019-20 school year and beyond.
Together, we can accomplish anything and I always remain #reynproud.

Sincerely, 
MJB Electronic Signature
Melvin J. Brown
Superintendent
Reynoldsburg City Schools

 Click here to read a PDF of the letter.
April 2019
April 9, 2019

Dear Reynoldsburg City Schools’ Families and Community, 

The beginning of spring is upon us and, with that, comes warmer temperatures, heightened anxiousness as we head toward the end of the school year, and testing season. State testing will consume much of our instructional day through the spring. While we all have our opinions about testing, we also concede that it has its place. We have to prepare our students well and expect them to do their absolute best. It is one measure of their progress and our effectiveness.

We are very excited to embark upon the next phase of The 9X Impact. Construction and refurbishing of the Livingston Campus is in process. Lockers are being removed, as our kids do not use them, wooden benches will be added to improve the atmosphere and space usage, new paint is in the works, and collaborative work spaces are being created. The incredible thing about all of this is that there will be no disruption to our Summer School and Summer Food Programs.

I am also excited to partner with our community to explore the creation of an education foundation under the leadership of Mrs. Dunlap, Vice President of our Board of Education. This venture which will be an independent, non-profit organization, will work in tandem with our District to provide grants and scholarships to students and teachers. As you know, we are a “capped” district, which means we do not receive about $5.8M per year which is promised to us under the current funding formula. The creation of an education foundation will bring our community together to support our children in the District and serve as an advocate for public education. 

I hope you were able to join us for our screening of Angst, a documentary designed to raise awareness around anxiety. We invited the entire Reynoldsburg community to view this film spurred by one of our priorities—social and emotional health and well-being. The film included interviews with kids, teens, educators, experts, parents and a special message from Olympian Michael Phelps. We were also able to interview the makers of the film and that interview, along with more information and resources, is posted on our website, www.reyn.org. The screening was then followed with a Q & A panel discussion with our counselors. We plan to have more community events focusing on topics and issues our students are faced with in the future.

In the meantime, after an extremely successful Winter Sports season, we are gearing up for our Spring Sports. Our Robotics Team is in competition mode and we have art shows and theater productions at every level throughout the District. We look forward to seeing you out at the many events that take place in our schools and are excited to have you to participate. There is so much to celebrate about our District and we hope that you will take full advantage to participate. We strive every day to foster a unified sense of pride and, as always, I am #reynproud!

Sincerely,

MJB Signature 

Melvin J. Brown
Superintendent
Reynoldsburg City Schools

Click here to read a PDF of the letter. 

February 2019
Dear Reynoldsburg City Schools Families and Community Members,

I took some time during one of our snow days to compose this as Winter certainly made its presence known in Ohio! Despite missing days of school, we remain focused on the work at hand and we have much progress to show for it. The onset of Spring brings a very busy time of year. Be it athletic tournaments, testing, or preparing for the end of the school year, there is something going on at every level of our District.

On March 7, I will be making my annual State of the Schools presentation. We will make the presentation available on www.reyn.org for those who cannot attend, but you can expect to see a deeper dive into what we are working on, not only for the next few months, but for the next school year and beyond.

We held two very successful parent meetings where we provided more information about The 9X Impact, our new freshman experience that will kick off next year. We also broadcast one of the meetings on Facebook Live. The presentation is on The 9X Impact school webpage on reyn.org so you can watch the meeting or view the presentation.

We are in the process of constructing our “Portrait of a Reynoldsburg Graduate,” which will set expectations for our students, and for ourselves, starting at the elementary level, so they will graduate high school poised to be college- and career-ready and to prepared to participate as global citizens of the world.

I am so thrilled to congratulate Mary Ellen Weeks, Principal at Herbert Mills STEM Elementary School, and her team for being the only elementary school in the U.S. to receive the national STEM Excellence Award given at the Future of Education Technology Conference. I am so proud of the work the school is doing and to be recognized at a national event is truly an honor.

Finally, we have so many events coming up that showcase our amazing kids! I invite you to view our calendar on reyn.org to see if anything catches your eye. Of note, our 2nd Annual African American Celebration is tonight at our Reynoldsburg High School-Livingston Campus and we will hold our annual Health and Community Fair on March 7, also at the Livingston Campus.

Additionally, as we have a keen focus on social and emotional learning, I want to invite you to a screening of the movie Angst, a film designed to raise awareness around anxiety. This screening is free, open to the public, and will be immediately followed by a panel discussion with our school social workers. More information about Angst, including the day and time of the screening is on our website.

I want to thank you all for your support and encouragement as we continue to propel Reynoldsburg City Schools forward as a unified community and District. I am, and remain, #reynproud!

Sincerely,

MJB Signature 

Melvin J. Brown
Superintendent 
Reynoldsburg City Schools

Click here to read a PDF of the letter

January 2019
January 7, 2019

Dear Reynoldsburg City Schools’ Families, Staff and Students,

I would like to take a moment to say Happy New Year and welcome to 2019. We had a very eventful first half of the school year and we have a lot of work to do as we head into the second half. As we returned from Winter Break on January 2, I had the opportunity to talk with our staff about our mission, vision, and plans for Reynoldsburg City Schools’ future during our Winter Academy, a professional learning day for our administrators, teachers, and staff. In this, I provided an overview of what we will look to employ for the future for our District.

Earlier in the school year, we adopted the Mission Statement, Empowering leaders who impact the NOW and innovate the FUTURE. The term “leaders” is very important for us as we take the leadership development of our staff and students very seriously. We recognize that, while we as the adults, are charged to lead and propel the District forward, our students also have a responsibility for being part of that leadership. They have incredible ideas and insight that can help us to be more successful in our daily endeavors. They, too, have ideas about how they want our District to grow and improve and they also know what many of their needs are as students and community members. We have four focus areas that capture our District Vision Statements (available on reyn.org) and each of those areas is as follows: Student Learning, Student Experience, Communication, and Finance. A keen focus on each of those areas will guide our work as we look to embrace continuous improvement. We will use each of these focus areas to craft goals and action steps associated with the completion of our Strategic Plan.

We are in the process of creating what we call, a Portrait of a Reynoldsburg Graduate. This will be a comprehensive view of skills and experiences that every graduate will possess before they walk across the stage to receive their high school diplomas. We understand that this portrait is and must be impacted by the entire K-12 experience that our students receive.

We are also looking at what the high school experience looks like for incoming freshmen. While we create a Portrait of Reynoldsburg Graduate, we need to ensure that we are working to meet the needs of our rising ninth graders as they transition into high school. We want to make high school a successful experience for all four years and to provide consistent, collective support for each and every student. We will do this through The 9X Impact, an experience that will ensure our children are high school ready, future focused, inspired to making an academy choice and socially and emotionally ready for high school and beyond.

We are working to align all of our efforts for the benefit of students, including how we can better articulate our programming from Kindergarten through 12th Grade. Each grade is a building block in a student’s academic experience and they work together to foster productive and successful learning. 

The use of time is important to our academic success. We are in the process of reviewing how well we use our daily schedules to increase opportunities for students in and outside of the classroom. Examining our use of teacher collaboration time can result in more purposeful opportunities for teacher planning, varied academic experiences for students, and additional flexibility and creativity for teachers.

Finally, we know that we must be more mindful of the social and emotional needs of our students. Mental health, anti-bullying, and student support mechanisms are not measured on a report card, but we know that a failure to address these types of needs will result in the lack of success of far too many students.

As we look out three to five years into our future, we have to be considerate of our continued emphasis on financial planning as well as building space usage and allocation. The District is growing and that is a wonderful problem to have. Two major issues that we must tackle in our not too distant future are Full Day Kindergarten and expanded Preschool Opportunities. We will have much more discussion about these future initiatives as we go forward.

Change is good and we are definitely in an era of change. As we work towards the future, we cannot remain stagnant or the evolution of our District will be stunted. We will seek input and support from our community, staff, and students. As we work to address the needs of all of our students, we also intend to ensure that Reynoldsburg City Schools is an innovative place to learn and it is recognized not only in Ohio, but nationwide.

I look forward to sharing additional thoughts and working with you all in the coming months. Here is to an exciting and energetic 2019. I am, and remain always, #reynproud!

Sincerely,

MJB Electronic Signature 

Melvin J. Brown
Superintendent
Reynoldsburg City Schools

Click here to read a PDF of the letter. 

December 2018

December 21, 2018

Dear Reynoldsburg City Schools Families, Students and Staff,

The holiday season presents us with a time to reflect and to recognize that for which we should all be grateful. I am thankful for all of you and this community in which I live and work. I feel the true meaning of the season every day when I visit our schools and interact with our staff. I feel joy, wonder, amazement and awe. I hope you take time as we head into Winter Break to celebrate your friends and family. I would also ask that, as you reflect back on your own successes and experiences over the past year, that you seek to understand, appreciate, and think about those that we might not know as well. Where there is joy, there is also sadness or loss. Please open your hearts to those who are often forgotten. Every day, we must work to combat hate, ignorance, and the forces that threaten our civility and attempt to erode our sense of common decency, compassion, and love for our fellow human beings. Our similarities are far greater than our differences. 

2019 presents another time to start fresh, to reflect on the past year, and to strive to make the future better than ever. Let us resolve to honor each other and to be kind and forgiving every day. Let us cherish new opportunities, as well as challenges, as they will make us stronger. Let us embrace everyone as one collective family. Whether you celebrated Diwali or Hanukkah, or will celebrate Christmas or Kwanzaa, let me leave you with the same wish: May light and love be yours forever. The Happiest of Holidays to everyone! 

Sincerely, 

MJB Electronic Signature

Melvin J. Brown
Superintendent 
Reynoldsburg City Schools

Click here to read a PDF of the letter. 

 
November 2018

Dear Raider Family,

I would like to take a moment prior to the beginning of the hectic nature of the Thanksgiving Holiday to express my sincere thanks to you all and to recognize all for which we should be thankful, not only during Thanksgiving, but all year long. 

My second year as Superintendent has been an incredibly busy one. I am very proud of all the work we have accomplished, thankful for the support of our students, families, community, and RCS family, and excited about the work that we have ahead of us.

In viewing and hearing world and national news each day, it almost seems as though negativity overshadows positivity. However, I continue to be thankful. Out of dark times, light emerges and, from that, so does positivity and hope. I implore you to focus on the positive and use the negativity as an opportunity to improve any present situation. We are in the midst of what should be the most joyous season of the year. For some, this can also be a difficult time and we must work to support our fellow citizens for whom holidays symbolize loss and despair. Celebrate your families and friends and gather together to give thanks, to see the joy, to experience the wonder that is this special time of year. There is a sense of clarity; an excitement; a fresh, new beginning awaiting us and we can be thankful for that. 

I remain thankful. I am thankful for each of you. I remain constantly #reynproud. I remain optimistic and will welcome the holiday season and the New Year with a renewed sense of perspective and willingness. I hope that we can always learn from our experiences and learn to overcome whatever comes our way. As a community, as a family, I am confident that we will work together to find the joy.

I wish a Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! Thank you for all that you do every day!

Sincerely, 

 MJB Electronic Signature

Melvin J. Brown
Superintendent 
Reynoldsburg City Schools

October 2018

We are aware of a number of social media posts about suspicious individuals following other people, in particular female students, as they walk to and from school or their bus stops. The Reynoldsburg Police Department is also aware, but please be sure to reassert to your children the importance of refraining from talking to strangers and, if they see anything that makes them uncomfortable, to tell a trusted adult immediately.

The safety and security of our students is our number one priority, and that extends to before and after school hours. Thank you for your support of our community.

Sincerely,

MJB Electronic Signature 

Melvin J. Brown
Superintendent
Reynoldsburg City Schools 

September 2018

Dear Reynoldsburg City Schools Students, Staff, Parents and Community Members,

As mentioned in our email last week, in addition to the State Report Card, we created a Quality Profile to highlight achievements from our District and our students to give additional context to the Report Card results.

There is a lot of work going on behind the scenes here at Central Office and in our schools. Some of the things on which we are working, or have completed for this year include (but are not limited to):

       The completion of our Instructional Audit

       The beginnings of our Strategic Planning initiative and development of a Mission and Vision for the District

       We are in the process of developing the Freshman Experience with an expected launch next school year

       Improving access to and success in Advanced Placement courses

       Expanding and reconstructing Gifted Program across the District

       Revisiting and refreshing our Inclusion Practices for Special Education

       Adding Supervisory and Evaluative Capacity to the District and to schools

       Realigning Central Office staffing to focus on Academic Improvement

       Growing the Instructional Coaching Team via the use of Grants

       Adoption of District-wide curriculum materials for the elementary level

This annual Quality Profile will help characterize the overall educational value of Reynoldsburg City Schools in areas that are important to our community. I hope you find it informative. I take pride in the great things coming out of our District, and after reading this report, I hope you are #reynproud as well!

Sincerely, 
MJB Electronic Signature 

Melvin J. Brown
Superintendent
Reynoldsburg City Schools 

Click here to read the 2018 Quality Profile

 

 Click here to read a PDF of the letter.

September 13, 2018

Dear Reynoldsburg City Schools Families, Staff and Community Members,

Today, the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) released the Ohio School Report Cards, which are designed to give each District a picture of the progress in raising achievement and preparing our students for their futures. The information provided in the Report Card outlines areas the ODE views as most critical to successful learning.

The State Report Card results are not a surprise to us. As we receive this data, we will use it to inform our practices and guide our discussions. Through this work, we will be able to identify areas of achievement, as well as areas of opportunity.

As you know, over the summer, we created a Steering Committee to assist us in the development of a Five Year Strategic Plan. As part of that plan, we will identify District metrics to measure our own progress in attaining goals as we do not feel that the State Report Card is a comprehensive view of our District. Instead of focusing on the State Report Card, it is our hope that our stakeholders instead focus on what our District is doing to address the challenges our students face, as well as celebrate the significant accomplishments we have achieved.

There are successes that we should celebrate at each level. For example, at the elementary level, our schools are successfully serving and growing students in a variety of subgroups and diverse populations. This was a focus during my first year as Superintendent and will continue to be a focus for the District. In addition, most of our elementary schools improved on one or more measures from last year’s report card.

At the middle school and junior high school level, our buildings show that they are not only serving and growing students in a variety of subgroups and diverse populations, but Science continues to be a strong area of achievement and growth.

Finally, at the high school level, our graduation rate remains positive. The Class of 2018 consisted of 535 graduates who earned more than $8.9M in scholarships and more than 4,100 college credits. They also completed 168 internships. Our focus continues to be preparing students for life after graduation, whether that is readiness for college, for the military, or for careers. All four high school academies performed well on the Progress Measure of the report card, which shows that most students are growing at least a year, if not more, in Reading and Math.

Transforming anything does not happen overnight. It will take time, energy and intentional effort to eliminate any achievement gaps and create the conditions necessary for success. Additionally, we consider the education and the development of the whole child as priorities in our work.  We will continue to focus on the work ahead of us. We view each student individually and work to ensure they enter the world well-rounded and experienced. We refuse to have our students reduced to being defined by a test score.  We fully appreciate your support and cooperation in making our District the tremendous place that it is and, as always, we remain #REYNproud!  

Next week, we will issue our Quality Profile, where we will highlight achievements from our District and our students, including but not limited to the State Report Card.

Sincerely, 

 Superintendent Signature

Melvin J. Brown
Superintendent
Reynoldsburg City Schools 

August 13, 2018

Dear Reynoldsburg City Schools Parents, Students and Community Members,

As we start a new school year, and I reflect back on my first year as Superintendent, I am reminded of where our country was 12 months ago. Hatred was threatening to tear our society apart during the incidents in Charlottesville, VA and we had to decide who we are as a people. In a climate of angst, negative discourse, and disrespect, we will continue to condemn intolerance and violence and encourage teaching kindness, respect, acceptance, inclusiveness, and appreciation for all humankind as we welcome our kids back to school. As a District, there will always be work to do to change behavior, to establish firm guidelines and expectations, and to instill a sense of humanity and compassion in our students and we are excited to do that work.

If you watch the news or are active on social media, you will see that some subscribe to the notion that if two people do not share the same opinion, then they have to be combative. We cannot be so quick to judge and, while there may a level of discord, it should not impact how we treat each other within our community.

The bottom line is, at the end of the day, we must be advocates for our children, and despite whatever ills we must confront, Reynoldsburg is and will continue to provide a supportive environment for all of our students. They deserve a positive atmosphere where they can grow and learn so they can thrive and be the positive contributors to our society that I know they can be.

We can still express ourselves respectfully, without hate or intolerance. As a community, I feel that we understand this premise and we appreciate the need to come together as a community and remain supportive of each other.

Be proud of who you are and of what you contribute to our community.

I am proud of the work we have done and we must continue to rely on our partners such as first responders, city officials, and community members to work with us to ensure that we foster an environment of openness, inclusiveness, and human kindness. A human being can learn, love, and live such qualities as honestly, equality, respect, truth, and appreciation. I look forward to welcoming our students this week and am excited to help mold them into citizens of the world, to do good, not only for themselves and their community, but for their world.

Together, we remain #reynproud!

Sincerely, 

 Superintendent Signature

Melvin J. Brown
Superintendent
Reynoldsburg City Schools 

July 2018

July 24, 2018

Dear Reynoldsburg City Schools Parents, Students and Community Members,

I hope everyone had a wonderful, relaxing summer and is ready to tackle the 2018-19 school year. I am confident that we will set a course toward new heights of success. Earlier this month, I celebrated my one-year anniversary with the District. Since the first anniversary gift is paper, I wanted to pen a letter to everyone to let them know what we have been up to during what was a very busy and productive summer and to the many things we want to accomplish this year.

This summer, we completed the first phase of our Strategic Plan. We will soon be surveying our entire school community for input to finalize our mission and vision statements and, at that point, we will begin the work to create goals and action steps associated with four key areas: Student Learning, Student Experience, Communication, and Finance. Each of those areas will have a sub-committee to create those critical pieces of our strategic plan.

We welcomed new administrators, teachers and staff to the District. We are hopeful that the additions and changes made will provide you and our students with the type of support and resources that you deserve.

Our District continues to be innovative as we earned three grants this summer that will have a tremendous impact on our District. We took a look at elementary curriculum materials and plan to adopt some pieces that will enable us to provide equity and access for our students and to provide our teachers with additional resources to support teaching and learning. This will not only have an impact upon our elementary programs, but will also improve the readiness of students for middle school once they finish fourth grade.

In an effort to address the many issues rising ninth graders experience, we are in the process of beginning the development of a “Freshman Experience”. We look forward to your participation and input in the development of this venture that will be driven to increase the “high school readiness” of our students.  Our plans are to integrate this idea during the 2019-2020 school year after we have used this upcoming school year to create it.  In conjunction with that work, the Livingston Campus of Reynoldsburg High School has seen a number of upgrades and enhancements. We are focusing not only on cosmetics, but also on course offerings and program exposure to ensure our students are college and career ready. This work, too, will continue into the 2019-2020 school year.

As you know, we selected 14 students to serve on the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council. I am so excited to begin working directly with them as they will lend a voice on behalf of our entire student body. Throughout the school year, these individuals will be a “mini cabinet” of sorts and will work with me to contribute ideas to provide feedback, and to present viable solutions on District initiatives and programs. These students, which represent all four academies, were selected for this program based on their interests and passion for being change leaders for the District. 

As I mentioned earlier, we are the recipients of three grants. The staff at Reynoldsburg High School’s Livingston Campus was recently awarded a grant from Battelle for Kids to build a greenhouse and growing center. Students will have the opportunity to develop an understanding of food and agricultural systems by designing and creating a growing program.

The District also received the Ohio Department of Education’s Striving Readers Grant, which is a $1.1 million effort to adopt comprehensive literacy strategies within the District so we have a cohesive approach to literacy that takes into account equity, access, and need. This grant will touch K-12 curriculum and we have added additional literacy coaching support to the secondary level.

Coupled with the Striving Readers Grant, and based on the outcomes of our instructional audit, we are expanding our Instructional Coaching team. We are adding additional coaches in reading and math, as well as increasing support for new teachers and teachers in testing situations. It is our intention to get coaches into classrooms with teachers on a more regular basis to provide hands-on support in addition to assist with instructional planning and curriculum development.

In an effort to provide support for the whole child and to expose our students to programs to make them better citizens of the world, we are increasing an emphasis on Physical Education programs to include health and wellness, nutrition, as well as exercise. We are also widening access to increase interest in music and arts at the elementary school level.

As we look at our instructional culture, it is our aim to increase the engagement and participation in Advanced Placement courses. These courses emphasize depth in learning and provide a more global perspective for our students, teaching them not just facts, but application. We also want to improve the preparation of our students for these classes, and that begins in middle school. AP courses provide our students with the opportunity to earn college credit anywhere in the country. For our students to meet and exceed their potential, we need to offer the tools and support for them to take advantage of these opportunities.

Finally, a third grant, Expanding Opportunities for Each Child, is designed to give greater access to advanced coursework and career pathways, and to increase enrollment for low-income students in AP opportunities. This grant will have a direct impact on our efforts to bolster AP participation.

We have had very productive conversations with our colleagues at the Eastland-Fairfield Career & Technical Center to discuss our continuing relationship and how we can improve accessibility to and connectedness of CTE programs for the upcoming school year. It is a goal of mine that each career offering fits into the structure of our academies so our students have a “home” when they are in our District. This will also give them improved access to administrators, counselors and peers within their academy, further enhancing their high school experience.

I am thankful to you for continuing to work every day on behalf of the students of Reynoldsburg and we must always affirm our commitment to that purpose. Change is necessary for growth and I welcome the challenges that come along with that. We have an opportunity to create something quite special here and it is important that we remain patient with and connected to the process. We are given an incredible responsibility to support our students as they become positive global citizens and contributors to society. I know that none of us take that responsibility lightly and we work tirelessly to make those endeavors successful. Thank you for all that you do and for being #reynproud!

Sincerely,
MJB Signature

Melvin J. Brown
Superintendent
Reynoldsburg City Schools 

June 2018
Dear Reynoldsburg City Schools Families, Staff and Community Members,


Each year, the Superintendent of Reynoldsburg City Schools recognizes teachers who make a substantial impact in the school community, resulting in positive outcomes for children with the Raider Fellowship Award. These successes result from educators who voluntarily and passionately serve students in non-traditional, expanded, and/or hard-to-fill roles that greatly contribute to positive outcomes for both the students on their rosters, students beyond their classroom walls, and/or their peers. 

Please join me in congratulating the 2018 Raider Fellows:

Carmen Adkins, Reynoldsburg High School, all Academies
Elizabeth Birie, STEM Middle at Baldwin Road Junior High School
Shelly Bloom, Waggoner Road Junior High School
Andrew Boan, Waggoner Road Middle School
Melanie Boss, Herbert Mills Elementary School
Andrea Callicoat, Reynoldsburg High School, eSTEM Academy
Renee Coley, Hannah Ashton Middle School
James Coley, Reynoldsburg High School, eSTEM Academy
Christopher Cracraft, Herbert Mills Elementary School
Jessica Cully, Reynoldsburg High School, HS2 STEM Academy
Adam Dornbirer, Reynoldsburg High School, eSTEM Academy
Ryder Ferguson, French Run Elementary School
Matthew Fetrow, Waggoner Road Junior High School
Nicole Ford, Hannah Ashton Middle School
Kellie Gedert, Reynoldsburg High School, HS2 STEM Academy
Aubrey Gibson, Taylor Road Elementary School
Amy Gochenour, French Run, Herbert Mills, Rose Hill, Taylor Road Elementary Schools
Sandra Guinto, STEM Middle at Baldwin Road Junior High School
Heather Keane, Hannah Ashton Middle School
Jenifer King, Slate Ridge and Taylor Road Elementary Schools
Taylor Lang, Summit Road Elementary School
Katherine Lock, Reynoldsburg High School, BELL Academy
Mindy Martin, Taylor Road Elementary School
Christopher Menhorn, Central Office
James Olivola, Reynoldsburg High School, Encore Academy
Melisa Ray, Central Office
Alicia Rogers, Hannah Ashton Middle School
Schyvonne Ross, Reynoldsburg High School, HS2 STEM Academy
Christine Schafrath, Reynoldsburg High School, HS2 STEM Academy 
Kirstyn Smith, Slate Ridge Elementary School
Joseph Sorenson, Reynoldsburg High School, HS2 STEM Academy  
Jacquelyn Thompson, STEM Middle at Baldwin Road Junior High School, Waggoner Road Campus and Hannah Ashton Middle School
Christina Watts, Reynoldsburg High School, all Academies
Stephen Whitley, Reynoldsburg High School, eSTEM Academy
Laura Wills, Taylor Road Elementary School

The Fellowship Awards recipients are awarded based on a rubric created by a committee and then each application is assessed by the Education Service Center using that rubric. Those who are being awarded Raider Fellows are those whose application was scored to be in or greater than the 75th percentile.

On Tuesday, June 19, 2018, I made recipient recommendations to the Board of Education. After their approval, the teachers listed above received an award in the amount of $3900.00, District and community-wide recognition, and the distinguished honor of being a Reynoldsburg Raider Fellow. Please join me in celebrating this honor, and the teachers of our District.

Sincerely, 

 Superintendent Signature

Melvin J. Brown
Superintendent
Reynoldsburg City Schools 

Click here to read a PDF of the letter. 

May 2018
May 23, 2018

Dear Reynoldsburg City Schools Families,

Change is difficult. It makes us vulnerable. It compels us to concede that we do not have all the answers. It requires us to accept that we are not perfect and consider that the ideals we hold have room to evolve and grow. It also forces us to trust others and the conditions we face. That being said, during this school year, we have taken time to celebrate the wonderful accomplishments of our District and to appreciate the greatness that happens in our schools and classrooms each day. Our students, our teachers and our staff work tirelessly to create venues whereby a growth mindset is embraced and innovation is encouraged. I am so appreciative of all of the efforts of our district and the commitment to excellence that exists. Through it all, we have also identified obstacles which we need to work together to overcome. While the identification of problems is a fairly easy task, the hard work begins when solutions to those problems must be created. 

Finding solutions sometimes demands that we disrupt some current practices to improve in the overall scheme of things. In schools, many of the tenets of operations bleed into each other and when one thing changes, it impacts other pieces of the organization. For example, when new curricula are adopted and implemented, we must devise new instructional strategies, raise levels of expectation, and adopt different types of planning. Much like a machine, when one component fails, it often disturbs the function of another component rendering that device less efficient and less effective. A strategic approach to toward problem solving must drive our decision making and our work efforts. 

As we go forward into the next school year, we know that we have a number of very important items with which to grapple. We are looking at the evolution of our academy structure so that students are provided with the best possible opportunities for success. When students and families make choices, it is vital that they are given the tools and experiences that allow for those choices to be made for all of the right reasons. Enhancing our career pathways is a necessity across our high school. Additionally, articulating those experiences and opportunities down to our K-8 structure will only serve to provide more context and substance to our students’ educational experiences and thus, create better opportunities for success for all students. 

In serving our students with exceptional abilities, we must continue to evolve to meet their needs on an everyday basis. We never seek to take opportunities away from kids, but to open doors so that more students have their unique needs fulfilled. In looking at our models for special education, gifted services and educating English Language Learners, we will continue to evaluate how we can increase our levels of service in the next school year. We have created two important committees to ensure that we are fulfilling the needs of all of our students, while seeking input from not only our staff, but our community as well. The Strategic Planning Steering Committee will assist with developing our District Mission and Vision which will be cornerstones of the Reynoldsburg City Schools District and keep us aligned with making the best decisions in the interest of our most precious commodity, our children. The Curriculum and Resource Team is a new team of elementary level teachers who will aid in the process of adopting common resources and materials across schools. We will begin with the process for adoption of elementary literacy resources in the 18-19 school year. Eighteen teachers, representing every building and grade and representing all diverse student populations applied and were chosen. Over the next school year, the team will be meeting to determine which resources might benefit our students most. It is our hope that we will be able to expand the team to middle school and high school tiers in the near future.

We intend to evaluate and create a “Freshman Experience” that will allow for increased 9th Grade readiness for high school. As the standards and the expectations for students continue to change, we must also be nimble in how we address whatever shortfalls that we may have as a result of those changes. If our students are to be truly prepared to be college AND career ready, it is perhaps more important that we ensure that they are “high school ready.” This demands a K-12 approach to instruction and that we see progression from one grade level to another as a growth model for every individual student. 

Education is, arguably, the largest “political football” that exists and we are constantly led to react to the whims of legislators and politicians. Test scores and numbers are valued by those who critique education. However, it is we, the educators, who must take our chosen field seriously and work to do what we know is right for all kids despite the passage of legislation and the narrow views of some. No, I am not suggesting that we ignore those facts. We must, however, be courageous, creative, and agile while using them within the structures of our schools to create success and to display reasonable approaches to school improvement. As I have always stated, I refuse to let our kids to be relegated to simply being a test score. They are so much more than that and it is our duty to ensure that they are never confronted with obstacles based on perceptions of limitation and a deficit manner of thinking. While others may say that we “can’t” do something, it is our responsibility to foster a “can do” attitude and refute the notion of being victims of low societal expectation. Our kids deserve our best work, our best thinking, and our best effort. We must always keep the mantra of agreeing to disagree and disagreeing without being disagreeable foremost in our minds. Teamwork and collaboration are key facets of our success. Accountability must also be a driving force as we accept our mistakes and learn to grow from them. Finally, respect for and consideration of others, which seem to be lost in today’s society, must also be a major element of our work. Decisions are never personal and therefore, attacks on the person of others are not appropriate. 

As we close the 2017-18 school year, I reflect upon my first year in Reynoldsburg with great pride, joy, and anticipation of the future. I love our community and I am honored to work with individuals who have the hearts and minds of students as the drivers of their work. In looking ahead, we have a great deal to look forward to in the 2018-19 school year. Let’s build upon our success and take Reynoldsburg to new heights!  I am very proud to be a part of this community and I hope that you will join me in always being #REYNproud!  
April 2018
Reynoldsburg City Schools  
 
April 4, 2018

Dear Reynoldsburg City Families and Community,

I must say that it is hard to believe that it has only been about nine months since I officially started as Superintendent for our District!  We have had many revelations and discussions about how best to move forward as a District to create the best possible student experience that we can and the time has come to begin putting some of those thoughts into action. As we have now returned from spring break and reached the final stretch of the school year, our teachers and students have had some time to recharge their batteries to gear up to complete the school year on the most positive note possible and to look toward the next school year and beyond. We have had a very eventful and intellectually challenging year that has compelled us to rethink our priorities and increase our alignment of efforts. We will soon have the results of our recently completed Instructional Audit that will provide some firm indications of our strengths and our opportunities for growth along with some recommendations as to how best to work toward continuous improvement. In the coming weeks, we will also embark upon a collective strategic planning effort with a primary objective of constructing a strategic plan composed of goals and action steps that will steer us into the future. Recently, we also revealed plans to build a “Freshman Experience”, which will allow us to address concerns about student preparedness for high school success leading to productive college and career experiences following graduation. 

Though we are quickly approaching the end of the school year, the efforts to increase school/community capacity remain the same. You should expect to see involvement in the Reynoldsburg community from our administration, teachers, and students all summer. We are excited to partner with ADAMH (The Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Board of Franklin County) for a community mural project and we are thrilled to partner with the YMCA and our students for summer day camps for our kids. While the Tomato Festival is taking a year off, we will host and attend the Taste of Reynoldsburg and much more. I look forward to unveiling more summer activities in future communications.

This is also the time of year for moving forward. Fourth graders have the opportunity to visit our middle schools to see what opportunities await them in fifth grade and beyond. Eighth graders are selecting their Academies to begin high school and finally, our seniors are preparing to head into the “real world” and experience life beyond 12th grade.

While we have many tasks ahead of us and structures to create, I also want to take a moment to reiterate how impressed I continue to be with our students, our parents, our staff, and our community. It is so refreshing to experience so many individuals who take the future of education in our District so seriously and want to be part of the solutions to buoying us to even greater heights. I sincerely thank all of you for your advocacy and I very much look forward to sharing our progress on this road while working with our community to prepare all of our students for a future that is much different than that for which we were preparing when we were in high school. Being a community that works together in a positive manner on behalf of our students is clearly indicative of a community of people who care about each other and the future of its city. Reynoldsburg is that community. We have an opportunity to do incredible, groundbreaking work that can build on the visionary achievements of our past. I am thankful to be able to be a part of that journey. Together…we can accomplish anything. As always, I remain #reynproud!
 
Sincerely, 
Superintendent Signature 
 
Melvin J. Brown
Superintendent 
Reynoldsburg City Schools 

April 20, 2018

Dear Reynoldsburg City Families and Community,

As we approach the end of the school year, I often reflect back on the months that have passed and the work that we have done to embrace the concept of continuous improvement in our District. We have made significant progress in fostering a community that works together toward finding solutions to obstacles which we confront while understanding the need to agree to disagree and to disagree without being disagreeable. I sincerely hope every day that we can be a community that assumes noble intentions by actions that are taken and decisions and changes are never personal. I greatly appreciate the knowledge, passion, and conviction in our community and I feel that each of those tenets will play major roles as we continue to move forward. For everyone to be successful, we need to rely on each other for support. Sometimes, there is a need to change things so we can improve upon them. That change is never easy and if we allow it, it can consume much of our positive energy. We cannot let the negativity of the day rule our thoughts while attacking those with whom we disagree. We all have a perspective to add and our job, every day, is create the best possible experience for all of our 7,825 students. 

Reynoldsburg has an incredible amount of potential to become a District that is viewed as a trendsetter in education nationwide. I’m not strictly talking about test scores. My goal is to seek recognition based on an infrastructure that supports optimal learning, experiential opportunities, leadership development, and positive community and civic engagement. If we can create the conditions necessary to support all students and to foster a sense of ownership of their schools and community within them, test scores will take care of themselves. Their sense of belonging and acceptance of their own responsibility to our community play tremendous roles in creating those conditions.

Our ability to seek discomfort while continuing to grow ourselves and to never accept mediocrity will spur those conditions. I constantly hope that our community recognizes the keen desire to honor and pay homage to our past while using that past as a buoying point to spur future enhancement. Changing simply for change sake is not a motivator. We must seek purposeful change that can carry us to even greater heights of success. As we have often 
stated, “we will not allow our kids to simply be relegated to being a test score.”  They are vessels of promise and hope that will lead our world in the future and we must value them as such…all of them.

I do not take my role as Superintendent lightly. I recognize that I have an enormous responsibility to our students and I refuse to shirk that with which I have been charged. Upon beginning this journey late last summer, many of the obstacles that we had to overcome were quite obvious and apparent and we confronted those. In doing so, other obstacles revealed themselves and they require our steadfast commitment and collective thought. Problem identification is the easy work. Anyone can do that. Problem solution is another story. It requires sacrifice, ingenuity, strategy, risk taking, and the internal fortitude to confront barriers and complacency.

Our community deserves our best, and in navigating concerns, mistakes will be made. We must all know that those mistakes are never intentional and are simply indications of effort being put forth to chase greatness. To quote Jim Collins from his book, Good to Great, “good is the enemy of great.”  We must avoid the tendency to look at our current station in life and to be satisfied with status quo. Constantly probing, questioning, and examining our progress is the key to becoming all that we can be. I am grateful for an opportunity to work in and be a part of the community. Together, we can address the issues that to forge an incredible galvanizing alliance designed to build our school district, our community, and most importantly, our kids. Together, we can accomplish anything and I always remain #reynproud.

Sincerely, 

 Superintendent Signature

Melvin J. Brown
Superintendent

Dear Reynoldsburg City Schools Families,

If we took all the poems and songs that had been written about spring, we could go on reciting and singing them for an eternity. It’s as if, after the cold grayness of winter, the entire world is bursting with song and with life. We look at trees and see the buds which are the promise of the leaves and flowers that will come. We look at the earth and see the ground thawed and lying rich with the promise of the life that is to come. We see these things, and, after the winter, they fill our hearts with hope and our throats with the songs of life. 

It is time to turn our thoughts from the darkness of winter to the brightness of spring. It is time for all of us to contemplate the newness of life.

A life lies before each and every one of us. It is a life of promise; a life rich with rewards. We know that there will be struggles, hardship and pain, but we also know that there will be laughter, love and growth, and those qualities well worth working for.

What our lives will be depends almost entirely upon us, for they will be what we make of them. Each of us has the opportunity to make our lives something special, for each of us is something special.

In this season of life; in this season of renewal; in this season of growth; let us resolve to be the best that we are capable of becoming; to strive for the best in everything we do; to live our lives in a positive manner that, like spring, will lead to growth, happiness, and improve the quality of life for everyone. Let us live for life. We will all be the better for that.


Have an incredibly fulfilling and relaxing spring break and come back charged and ready to tackle the home stretch of the final months of school! Please be safe. #reynproud

Sincerely,

Superintendent Signature

Melvin J. Brown
Superintendent
Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to present the “State of the Schools” address, an overview of highlights and data from the past school year as well as the strategies we will employ for the future, to the Reynoldsburg City Chamber of Commerce. We are always so fortunate to have a community that supports our efforts and want to be a part of our endeavors. We sincerely welcome and need those interactions for the benefit of our students.  

It is amazing how quickly time flies. My first official day as Superintendent of Reynoldsburg City Schools was August 1, 2017 and we worked to have a complete administrative team in place before teachers and students returned for the new school year. Our team rallied to get ready for the new school year and to begin to identify areas that needed our immediate attention. Our goal was to be ready to welcome our staff and students back and to be more than ready for our new beginning together. 

This year has been one of many successes, including several academic achievements I am proud to share with you. We introduced a Common Instructional Framework and a District-wide study of Dave Burgess’ book entitled Teach Like A Pirate, which is fitting for our Raiders! We are also working on social media initiatives, virtual professional development for our staff, and expanding robotics in the classrooms.

An issue that has attracted substantial attention throughout the state is testing and assessment. While there is certainly a need for assessment within our instructional program, we recognize that excess can detract from our efforts to meet and exceed our academic goals. We worked to respond to state legislation to reduce the amount of testing and allow additional time for our teachers to focus on teaching and learning. I will say, and have always said, that a student should not be reduced to a test score. That is one form of measurement at one day in time, but not reflective of the “whole” child.

From a fiscal standpoint, we have a very positive outlook, based on projections, that positions us to avoid pursuing a levy until the year 2021. In this manner, we intend to be responsible with funds while creating conditions whereby all of our students have the resources at their disposal to be successful. That is our commitment and our obligation. I am incredibly proud of  what we have been able to accomplish in this short period of time including our increased involvement in our community, our transformative instructional work, the increased positive media coverage for the District, and the tremendous number of student accolades. I am excited that this is just the beginning and we have amazing things planned for 2018 and beyond to showcase our students and staff.
Our robust portfolio of partnerships that support our initiatives aimed at preparing students for colleges and career readiness is another area of which I am proud and we continue to look for other out-of-the-box methods to engage our students in authentic learning opportunities that prepare them for the world after graduation. No matter what, it is my hope that when a child graduates from Reynoldsburg City Schools, he or she will be well-equipped for the world- whether that is advancing on to a two-year or four-year institution, earning a certification, securing real-world experiences as an apprentice or intern, or thriving in an employment opportunity.

We are definitely looking toward the future by seeking to improve our connection to the community. Engaging our students in authentic learning opportunities in and outside of the classroom is part of our forward-thinking strategy. As for who we are, we want to recruit and retain the best talent possible. We do not want to be a training ground for other districts to recruit our talent. Instead, we look to be a district that is a destination for individuals who are seeking new and innovative opportunities to thrive and excel in their careers. We intend to make sure that Reynoldsburg City Schools stays ahead of the educational curve, not only as a District to watch in Ohio, but nationwide.

I look forward to sharing additional thoughts in the coming months. If you would like to view my presentation from the State of the Schools address, you can do so on our website, www.reyn.org. I want to thank the community and Chamber for allowing me to share the great things happening in our District. I am, and remain always, #reynproud!
 
Sincerely, 
Superintendent Signature
 
Melvin J. Brown
December 2017
Dear Raider Family,

As we all approach the winter break and the holiday season, I want to share a few thoughts with you so that we can aim to further appreciate the holidays, each other, and work to make 2018 even better than 2017. We are at a very special time of the year. In schools all over the country, kids grow excited at the prospect of what is to come. Stores are jammed with shoppers, streets explode with light, and messages of good will abound. Even when people say hello to each other, there is a special feeling in it, a bright, and warm feeling that pervades our days. This is truly a magical time of year.

For some of us, it is Christmas, and for some of us, it is Hanukkah. For others, it may be Kwanzaa or perhaps you celebrated Diwali. Whatever the holiday, the feeling it creates transcends any boundaries of religion and unites us all in a common feeling of affection for each other. 

This is as it should be. The Jewish holiday of Hanukkah is called the Festival of Lights. A candle is lit each night for eight nights to commemorate a miracle of light. The Christian holiday of Christmas has been called the Feast of Love. It commemorates the birth of Jesus, who has been called the Prince of Peace. Kwanzaa, is based on seven principles in the celebration of family, community, and culture with a new candle being lit each day for the seven days after Christmas. In 2017, Diwali, the five-day Hindu festival began on October 19 and is an official holiday in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar, among others. The festival is also referred to as the “festival of lights” and celebrates both the attainment of nirvana by Mahavira (an Indian Sage), as well as a Death Anniversary of Swami Dayanand (Hindu religious leader).

In a world that is filled with corners of darkness, ignorance, hate, and prejudice we can make it a better place with the qualities represented in these diverse holidays. If only we could reach every crevice with the light of caring, what a wonderful place this world would become for all of us. 

If, for this one season of the year, and build on it in the coming year, our lives can be filled with happiness and warmth and the spirit of giving—a spirit of light and love—then surely we can work at making that feeling last. Yes, it would take work, cooperation, and compassion, but wouldn’t it be worth it if the warmth that came from within lasted the whole year through?

This brings me to 2018, and the New Year. A time to start fresh and the reflection of the past year to make the following one better than ever. Let us resolve to honor these special holidays in our lives by being kind and forgiving every day. Let us cherish them and hold them dear, and then let us spread those sentiments to all we meet.

Whether you celebrated Diwali, or will celebrate Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or Christmas, let me leave you with the same wish: May light and love be yours forever. The Happiest of Holidays to everyone!

Sincerely,
Superintendent Signature
 
Melvin J. Brown 
November 2017
Dear Raider Family,

It is only right, at this special time of the year, that we pause for a moment and ask ourselves just what is it for which we have to be thankful.  If there is a special day for giving thanks, then we should know what it is and for what we give that thanks.

The answer is not always at our fingertips and it is not always clear.  We see the news headlines; we listen to the talking heads on television, we read random tweets and Facebook posts, and what do we see?  We see a lack of humanity that cripples our ability to have empathy for our fellow citizens.  We see the results of war and pestilence mirrored in the horror-stricken faces of its victims.  We see a political landscape that is more concerned with party instead of people.  We see people treat others with disrespect and disdain that I have not experienced in my years on earth.  We see tragedy upon tragedy: hunger, poverty, degradation.  This is what we see, and certainly, the doubt must come that we have little to be thankful for in this far-from-perfect world. 

Yes, I can fully understand how this feeling can arise, for certainly there is much in this life which causes us pain and frustration; there is much which we regret and condemn.

Perhaps, however, our problem is that of perspective.  We tend to focus on the negative and lose sight of the positive even when that positive greatly outweighs the negative.  We can choose to concentrate on what is wrong, or we can choose to appreciate what is right.  Make no mistake, there is much that is good and worthwhile in this world.  If we look for it, we will find individuals who give of themselves in every way, every day.  We find people who risk their own lives to save others who are the victims of unexpected tragedy.  We find people who, when tragedy strikes, are there to provide relief and comfort to those who suffer.  We find people who, time and time again, have been there when needed and have asked for nothing in return except the chance to serve again.  This we can find, everywhere, if we choose to look.

If we look for it, we will find love conquering hate every day.  For every insult and disparagement, we will find encouragement and inspiration.  For every robbery or act of terrorism, we will find an act of kindness, an act of giving, and act of love.  It is there if we look for it.

Let us ask ourselves what it is for which we may be thankful.  We can be thankful for each other.  We can be thankful that, in this world filled with tragedy, we have people whose lives are a triumph, a triumph of love.  We can be thankful that, for every individual who takes from society in terms of crime and terror, we have ten, twenty, a hundred, a thousand who give each and every day of their lives in terms of love, care, selflessness, and concern for others.  

Therefore, let us all relish in these wonderful things and be thankful at this very special day and throughout the entire year.  We are here to appreciate those things and each other.

I wish a Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!  Thank you for all that you do every day!!! As always, I remain #reynproud!

Sincerely,
Superintendent Signature
 
Melvin J. Brown 
October 2017
Dear Reynoldsburg City Schools Families, Staff and Community Members,

October is Anti-Bullying Month, which is not only a community focus, but a personal focus for me and the District. I wanted to update you on all that we have put into place to combat bullying, not only in our schools, but throughout our community.

Early in my role as Superintendent, I posted a letter on our website condemning intolerance and violence and teaching kindness, respect, acceptance, inclusiveness and appreciation for all humankind. As a District, we are working to change behavior, establish firm guidelines and expectations, and instill a sense of humanity and compassion in our students. We have several programs in place including anti-bullying and harassment policies, with reporting, investigative and disciplinary or intervention strategy guidelines (JFCF and JFCF-R).  The District implements staff bullying training.  There are outlets available to our students to anonymously report bullying, which is built into the policies, emergency plans and code of conduct.  We place fliers and signs in the schools as well. Our Director of Safety and Security partners with the Ohio Department of Education to conduct training each year. We also conduct student presentations, and many schools bring in their own programs or presenters.  We also have school psychologists, social workers, counselors and Response to Intervention Processes (RTI) to take referrals and intervene with students that may have or display development, academic, emotional, social or behavioral problems or concerns. 

At the Elementary School level, teachers have assemblies or meetings with students to discuss the various forms of bullying (exclusion, collusion, etc.). Slate Ridge Elementary is hosting a “Stomp Out Bullying” campaign with stations and activities aligned with three mottos: Play With Pride, Stomp Out Bullying and Rock Out to Responsibility. Modules and curriculum are also being introduced with activities to help elementary aged students recognize the signs of bullying.

The Middle and Junior High Schools are implementing programs like DARE and Olweus. Rachel’s Challenge is in its second year at the Waggoner Campus. Jim Bisenius from Bullyproofing Youth came in to conduct staff training and student and parent workshops about recognizing and preventing bullying.  We are partnering with the Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office to speak to our student body about the side effects of sexting and cyberbullying. October 25 is Unity Day and middle school students will wear orange to raise awareness.

High School students have been charged with acting as “Anti-Bullying Ambassadors.” Each week in October has a different theme and students are encouraged to wear certain colors to raise awareness or identify moments of inclusion, perhaps someone sitting on the bus or eating lunch by themselves. The high school is also hosting lunch and learn opportunities.

These are just a few examples of the great work that is happening in our District to create an environment of tolerance, kindness and unity within Reynoldsburg City Schools. It is our hope that we can count on the support from parents and community members to continue to spread awareness and set an example for our children.


Sincerely,
Superintendent Signature
Melvin J. Brown 
 
 
Dear Reynoldsburg City Schools Families, Staff and Community Members,

I wanted to update you about the situation with our HVAC system that is impacting most of the District. Our HVAC system is requiring more maintenance at a faster pace than is cost effective. Our Board of Education approved a plan whereby we will be able to address this on a District-wide basis with an HVAC upgrade and replacement. While there will be an up-front cost to replace and/or upgrade outdated equipment, the cost savings long term will make up for the initial spend.

We are not able to maintain the system at the level needed and it is wearing down much faster than anticipated. We have done our due diligence and reviewed several low-risk financing options that are available to school districts like ours. We have opted to use a company called Dynamix Energy Services to take on this project. Dynamix comes highly recommended by school districts who have taken on energy projects and we are very impressed by their level of service, professionalism, and capacity.

The upgrade will accomplish several things: HVAC equipment will be replaced or repaired. All preventative maintenance will be included in the cost of the upgrade. In essence, we will be spending less than we are currently to maintain a failing system. Finally, the upgrade will see immediate cost savings in three areas: energy and maintenance savings and pure efficiency. We have received assurances that there will be no concern about the inability to heat our buildings in the coming weeks and we anticipate being fully prepared to receive our students each day. As always, we appreciate your support of our efforts to provide the best possible situation for our students and our community. We remain #reynproud!


Sincerely,
 Superintendent Signature
Melvin J. Brown
 
 
Dear Reynoldsburg City Schools Families, Staff and Community Members,

We are quickly approaching the end of the first quarter of the school year, and it has been satisfying and fulfilling for me to visit schools and watch our students learn and grow. In the short time I have been Superintendent of Reynoldsburg City Schools, I have watched our community grow as well. Families are recognizing our District as an area where their children can receive an excellent education.

Due to this growth, new neighborhoods were planned and developed, causing an overwhelming influx in enrollment that is not consistent with past trends. It is a great problem to have! People are seeing the value of living and working in our wonderful community. However, as a result of this new growth and to accommodate for future growth this school year, some grade levels in some of our schools will be closed to new students including new residents.

Please know that we have plenty of space and plenty of schools for the children of Reynoldsburg to receive an innovative and first-rate education. We will continue to provide transportation to students and are working proactively on solutions for next year as growth continues.

I am excited to watch our community continue to evolve and look forward to welcoming new students into our District. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Sincerely,
Superintendent Signature 
 
Melvin J. Brown 
 
September 2017
As we start a new school year, over the weekend, our country was reminded of many of our past ills and the destructive nature of divisiveness in our humanity. We stand in solidarity with the citizens of Charlottesville, Virginia as they continue to deal with the aftermath of the abhorrent events of the weekend. While this country was founded on the ideals of free speech and assembly, we should express ourselves respectfully and without hate. We must not tolerate racism, threats, intimidation, or violence of any sort and reject those who purvey such beliefs.  As a community, we will always fight to eliminate bigotry and racism, not only within our schools and our city, but within our state and country. We will always condemn any intolerance or violence. We must rely on our partners such as first responders, city officials and community members to work together to ensure tolerance and safety are a first priority within our District. We teach our children kindness, respect, acceptance, inclusiveness and appreciation for all humankind. We must set an example for them, as we are their leaders today, and they will be the leaders of tomorrow.
 
Sincerely,
Superintendent Signature 
 
Melvin J. Brown 
August 2017
August 11, 2017

We are so thrilled to welcome you to the new school year! While many things may be a bit different, we are still committed to the mission of fulfilling the dreams of our students and our community. Those things will never fade. My transition into the role of Superintendent here has been amazing and, every day I am so impressed by the passion and dedication of our staff and our community to this great city. Over the past couple of weeks, we have been gearing up for our students to begin coming through the doors of our schools starting on Wednesday and we are working overtime to make that as seamless an experience as possible. Our administrative staff collaborated earlier this week to create the synergy necessary to be reflective in our work, to enhance our strengths, and to identify and strategize taking on our challenges. The community is abuzz with so many wonderful activities, including the National Night Out, our upcoming Reynoldsburg Tomato Festival, and, of course, the beginning of the athletic seasons for all of our Fall sports. We look forward to seeing you at all of these events. Our Raider Check In’s at our schools were well attended and our students appear ready to take on this next year of learning and growing.

As we approach the official start of the school year next week, we want to reemphasize a few things about the importance of being present in the moment and taking full advantage of the incredible opportunities that our District offers. We are asking for your help to ensure your child is in class and ready for instruction everyday this school year. In RCS, we have students—especially at the high school level—who miss one day every two weeks. That adds up to one month of missed instruction every year. Over five years, it adds up to about half a school year of missed instruction. If students miss school, they can’t learn and they will not be ready for the academic challenges and the brilliant future that await them.

As we have stated before, we have much to do to fulfill our vision of “Learners Today, Leaders Tomorrow.” We also subscribe to the notion that our students are also “Leaders” today. They have capacity to accomplish anything and they too, will play a large part in the leadership of our community.

As we embark on this journey together, we are working diligently to foster a transparent and collaborative environment for our families. To that end, I want to encourage you to get involved this year. Whether by volunteering at your child’s school, participating in committee and study group work, or inviting our students into your places of business to give them incredible, real-world experiences, I hope you will get engaged! I believe I can speak for our Board of Education by stating that we have a bright future ahead of us and we are all excited about the prospects of growth and unity.

I am so excited to be your partner in helping to fulfill the hopes and dreams of our children. Welcome back and have a great school year!
Sincerely,
 Superintendent Signature
Melvin J. Brown 
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