Reynoldsburg City Schools News Article

Hannah J. Ashton Middle School

The Hannah J. Ashton Middle School has been a part of Reynoldsburg’s history since 1868. 

The 154-year-old building needs repairs, with a conservative estimate to rehabilitate the building at around $18 million. Even short-term repairs would cost about $3 million. 

The Board of Education was presented with four possible scenarios for Hannah Ashton beginning in the 2023-2024 school year. The scenarios ranged from keeping the building open for at least another year to closing it. The Board voted January 17, 2023, to close Hannah J. Ashton Middle School after this school year. The decision was made after feedback from the school community, including parents and staff at Hannah Ashton, and a recommendation from the Board’s Outcomes Committee.

Planning is underway on next steps to help provide a smooth transition for all students and staff as we:

  • Implement all-day kindergarten in every elementary school;

  • Move 5th grade classes to elementary;

  • Convert Waggoner Road Middle School into an elementary school; and

  • Make all K-8 buildings neighborhood schools. 

We will provide updates as soon as they are available, including information on this page. We will also continue to seek staff and parent input as we navigate this transition together.


Frequently Asked Questions

Question: What did the Board of Education approve?
Answer: The Board of Education has approved closing Hannah Ashton Middle School after the current school year. As well as, beginning in the 2023-2024 school year:
  • Grade 5 will be added to all elementary schools. 
  • Waggoner Road Middle School will become an elementary school.
  • Hannah Ashton 6-8 grade students will be assigned to Waggoner Road Junior High School and STEM Middle at Baldwin Road. 
  • All day kindergarten will be available at every elementary school.
  • Schools of choice for K-8 will be eliminated.
    • All K-8 schools will be neighborhood schools with updated boundaries.
      • STEM/STEAM programming will continue. 
Question: How will adding 5th grade to all the elementary schools affect student-teacher ratios? Aren’t you going to overcrowd them?
Answer: Care will be taken when drawing new school boundaries to make sure there is no overcrowding and we maintain the appropriate student to teacher ratios at all grade levels and buildings. Calculations will be based on each school’s classroom capacity and the number of students currently in that grade level. Space can be more efficiently used when schools of choice are eliminated for grades K-8. 

We will be adding Waggoner Road Middle School as an elementary school, which was selected for its location near new housing developments and for its classroom capacity.
 
Question: Without schools of choice, can parents still choose to send their child to an elementary school other than their neighborhood school?
Answer: Elementary school families who want to send their child to a school other than their neighborhood school will have the opportunity to apply for intra-district transfers. We will place students once we determine how much, if any, room we have for such transfers at each school. If students are accepted for intra-district transfers, parents will be responsible for transporting their children to school. Details about the process and forms will be sent out to families in early spring. 
 
Question: Why will students at STEM Middle at Baldwin be allowed to continue to go there if they don’t live within the school’s new boundary? 
Answer: At STEM Middle at Baldwin Road, there is plenty of physical space to allow 7th and 8th graders who wish to stay there to do so even as the school becomes a neighborhood school. We do not have the physical space to guarantee the same at elementary schools.
 
Question: Will there still be open enrollment?
Answer: Parents who don’t live in the District but would like their children to attend a Reynoldsburg City School will have the opportunity to apply for open enrollment. However, open enrollment acceptance is not guaranteed. It will depend on several factors, including the availability of open slots after all intra-district students are assigned. If students are accepted for open enrollment, parents are responsible for transporting their children to school.
 
Question: What will happen to STEM and STEAM programs when schools of choice are eliminated?
Answer: STEM and STEAM programs will continue to be offered to students who live within the boundaries of those schools. Reynoldsburg City Schools will remain committed to providing quality education for all students, and it is the expectation that all students in all schools experience deeper learning, regardless of whether or not they attend school at a STEM/STEAM school. 
 
Question: What is being done at the schools that don’t have STEM or STEAM designation?
Answer: Every school in the District is engaged in deeper learning. This is done through the purposeful integration of rigorous academic content with experiences that intentionally cultivate skills, mindsets, and literacies essential for students to become lifelong learners and contributors in the 21st century.
 
Question: How does this decision affect bussing and school boundaries?
Answer: Neighborhood school boundaries will allow us to have shorter routes for elementary schools. That means buses will have a better opportunity to run on time and limit late buses due to traffic congestion and weather-related incidents.  It also means more students will have the opportunity to walk to school, lessening the overall transportation footprint in terms of the number of buses and drivers needed daily. School boundaries will be updated to maintain proper student-teacher ratios.
 
Question: What will happen to the HAMS staff?
Answer: Staffing for all buildings next year is being discussed, including what the process will be for assisting Hannah Ashton Middle School staff, and Waggoner Road Middle School staff, as needed, with new building assignments. 
 
Question: What will happen to HAMS after it’s closed?
Answer: No decision has been made about the future of the building. Any use for the building will be discussed by the Board's Buildings and Grounds Committee. At the present time, there are no plans to use the building for any curricular or extracurricular activities beyond the current school year.
 
Question: What are the advantages to having all-day kindergarten? 
Answer: We are excited to be able to offer all-day kindergarten at every elementary school beginning in August. Research shows full-day kindergarten boosts students’ academic achievement, and strengthens their social and emotional skills. There are also benefits for teachers and parents. Teachers have more instructional time with the students, and parents have access to better learning and care for their children. 

We already have full day kindergarten pilots at two elementary buildings, and the academic and social and emotional gains are tremendous. Our data from last year shows that our full-day kindergarten students made gains well above the national average. Their growth in English Language Arts was in the 68th percentile and in math it was in the 66th percentile as compared to our half-day programs that showed growth below the national average at the 42nd percentile for English Language Arts and 46th percentile for measures of academic progress. 
 
Question: Are there any plans to place a bond issue on the ballot?
Answer: There are currently no plans to place a bond issue on the ballot. However, if we continue to grow as a community and there’s a need for improved school facilities, it is a possibility.   
 
Question: Are there other buildings in the District that need major repairs? 
Answer: None to the extent or need of Hannah Ashton. We have roof, parking lot, and HVAC preventative maintenance plans in place with various service providers to ensure all other buildings are properly maintained.

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