By Chad Hilliker, Loveland City School District superintendent
[dropcap]In[/dropcap] January 2016 the Loveland City School District started a future-planning process for our schools: Destination Loveland. The purpose is to consider what needs to be done to keep Loveland a premier district: How do we improve the quality of education for our students? How do we make sure families have the best experience possible in Loveland? What can we do to make sure our students are prepared to be competitive in a global economy? What can we do to make sure our infrastructure and facilities support our vision? Since January we have actively engaged you – our Tiger Family – to determine the goals and vision to accomplish these things for the district. Part of that engagement involved a community survey conducted in April, when a total of 435 people responded to questions online the district administered. Parents made up 68.4 percent of respondents followed by staff at 22.8 percent.
What were the recurring themes? Four areas (listed in order of frequency of mention): integrate/improve technology, low student/teacher ratios, pursuing excellence in STEM/college-level courses, adding more STEM classes and update buildings/renovate. The survey went on to identify that 86.4 percent of respondents felt expanding kindergarten and pre-school is important, which we plan to tackle fall of 2017; 96.3 percent believed that offering advanced coursework and a wider variety of programs would make our students more competitive for college and/or careers. It was also shared that 83.9 percent believed the current academic program to be adequate to somewhat adequate. It should be noted that 8.9 percent felt that it was not adequate and 7.2 percent were unsure.
When looking at facilities, a majority – 62.2 percent – believed that work needs to be done to modernize our learning spaces, with 51.3 percent of respondents stating the elementary building was in the greatest need, followed by the primary school (21.1 percent).
Respondents told us the most important things that need to be done over the next few years to ensure that the school facilities, learning spaces and classrooms can continue to provide a modern, high-value education to students (again, listed in order of frequency of mention): integrate/improve technology, update buildings/renovate, low student/teacher ratios, and pursuing excellence in STEM/college-level courses/add more STEM classes.
The fact that concern over our class size was so frequently mentioned comes as no surprise. During the past 25 years the district has grown from approximately 1,800 students to more than 4,700 students. During this time there were two new campuses built (Loveland High School and Loveland Intermediate/Middle School), and additional classroom and gym spaces were added at the Loveland Elementary School and Loveland Primary School. Yet, we know looking to the future there is more that needs to be done to support our school community. This is where Destination Loveland continues; current small-group meetings will develop into future plans that we will share in 2017. Preparing Our Students for Tomorrow, Today – it is our mission; thank you for helping us form the vision that will ensure our continued success.
Dedicated to the future of our students,
Loveland City School District