On March 18, 2013, New Albany – Plain Local Schools and Board President Laura Kohler, recognized and celebrated the extraordinary partnerships that are the foundation of a strong community that prioritizes ensuring strong and successful schools.
Few communities have the strong collaboration and synergy that exists here in New Albany and we are grateful that these partnerships continually result in strengthening our schools through supporting quality educational experiences for our students in and out of the classroom, and planning responsibly for our community’s future.
The following groups were recognized for their significant contributions to the district:
- The City of New Albany
- Plain Township
- The New Albany Company
- The New Albany Community Foundation
- The Joint Parks and Recreation District
- Healthy New Albany
From the beginning of our district growth almost 20 years ago, a public – private partnership has fueled the passion that this community has to focus on our schools. From the beginning, thanks to the New Albany Company land was donated to grow the campus, develop the Nature Preserve, create an arts center and then our City and Township partnered with the Schools and the New Albany Community Foundation to make the Jeanne B. McCoy Center for the Arts a reality. It is a significant asset to our entire community and one that our students use almost every day. Our Township and City partner with us again to support the Joint Parks and Recreation District and members of these important partner groups. We thank you for your partnership to provide extensive youth recreational opportunities to thousands of students every year. We know that recreation activities are an important part of a well-rounded experience for our students and you make that possible all year round.
Recently our partners at the New Albany Company once again took action to ensure smart development on behalf of our schools by purchasing the former Casto property at the corner of Dublin-Granville and Hamilton Roads. This significant investment means that this land will now be developed by a strong school-focused partner who will develop the land without extraordinary increases in density talked about by the former developer that would have gone far beyond our current projections and threatened our single campus model. It is rare to have a community developer partner with such dedication to the smart and careful planning for schools and for building a community with partnership and understanding about the critical importance of strong high quality public schools. We are grateful to have such a proactive partner that is willing to act on behalf of our schools and the planning of our entire community.
Another proactive partner that we wish to recognize this evening is the City of New Albany for their creative and school centered commercial development strategies to bring data centers to the Business Park and to purchase land to expand the land set aside to create a Metro Park. What is not widely understood is that the City’s initiative to focus on bringing data centers to the business park was specifically a school benefit strategy. Data centers do not have many employees that generate large amounts of income tax for the City but they do have three times the value of Class A office and therefore raise significant property tax for schools. Rarely, does economic development from a City or a Developer have the direct intention of benefiting schools but both of these examples do just that. Further, the City’s effort to purchase land for expanding a Metro Park continues to take land that could be residential and generate students out of the district while simultaneously creating a great community asset.
Our partnership with the New Albany Community Foundation ensuring donor supported programs that enhance the quality of instruction for students in and out of the classroom is another prime example of collaboration at work. The district benefits from this partnership in a variety of ways including; the author-in residence program, to the support and sustainability of many of the environmental programs around the campus, to the guest lecture opportunities that bring world caliber speakers to campus to interact with and inspire our students. The partnership is so strong and valued it was instrumental in helping the district win the prestigious International Education Project of the Year from the Columbus Council on World Affairs in 2013. The Foundation also helped to build the partnership between Healthy New Albany and the School District and our many thanks go to Healthy New Albany for involving our students in many opportunities such as Community Gardens and the Walking Classic as well as working with us to sponsor speakers that address the mental health and well-being of youth in our community.
As you can tell, this depth of our partnerships is extraordinary!! We have had the opportunity to observe several communities and their support of education but we have never seen the level of collaboration, partnership and support that we do in New Albany.
Focus on improving a community together. It is important to remember that as a school community we all make a difference in the education of our students and their ultimate success and these partners embody this every single day. We are incredibly thankful for the support of these entities for their contributions to ensure quality education and the commitment to our vision to reinvent education for our students.
Laura Kohler, Board President
April Domine, Superintendent