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Gahanna Forum

Supporting Our Youth


Below are the answers to many of the questions that were asked in person at the Gahanna Forum at Middle School West on March 23. The questions are grouped by general category and we will continue to add questions and answers as well. 

Interventions and Support
Q. What is the District implementing to improve the youth experience?
To learn more about the current supports in Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools and our community, check out the above video at the 42:41-55:59 segment. To learn more about the future supports that we are working to implement, check out the above video at the 56:00-1:05:41 segment.

Q. What does MTSS look like at each level?
MTSS (Multi-Tiered Systems of Support) is a proactive and preventative tiered framework that integrates data and instruction to maximize student achievement and support students’ social, emotional, and behavior needs from a strengths-based perspective. You are encouraged to reach out to your child’s school counselor or principal to learn more about the specific MTSS implementation at your school.

Q. When will positive recognition become equal and encouraged?
Part of a comprehensive Positive Behavior Intervention System (PBIS) is a component that provides consistent positive recognition of behaviors. This does not necessarily have to be through tangible rewards, though this is one example. It could also be through labeled and specific verbal praise, unique experiences such as special lunches with staff members or field trips, or classroom rewards such as time to do a special class activity. While all of our buildings have elements of PBIS, we will be working next year to streamline our systems and provide consistency in our implementation district wide. Part of the training around PBIS will involve positive recognition systems and the best ways to implement them at each building.

Q. Have you considered bringing -
        Operation Street Smart
        Jesse Weinberger
        Set up a (mock) bedroom and show how drugs are hidden

Yes, we will work to incorporate these or similar topics into our Community University which will be re-launched for the 2023-24 school year.

Student Behavior
Q. What is in place to hold those involved in fights accountable? What is in place to hold those involved in vaping/drug activity accountable?
We have several levels of discipline and support for our students, in accordance with our student handbook including: in-school suspension, out of school suspension, expulsion, community service, mental health support, daily or weekly check-ins with an identified mentor. Expulsions do not remove students from school permanently. Ohio Revised Code has stipulations to limit the number of days a student can be expelled to 80 or (at most) a calendar year (based on the severity of the offense). The District can hold some or all of the expulsion days in abeyance, and put in place several conditions of student behavior as well as participation in social, emotional, or mental health services.

Q. Is GJPS looking at a district-wide phone policy?
We are looking to have common expectations for the use of phones, Districtwide and based on levels (elementary, middle, high). While we do not intend to ban cell phones being in the building, we do wish for their use to be kept to non-instructional time.

Q. If we don’t want to punish students with suspensions or expulsions, could we look into community service for some infractions?
Community service is an alternative to discipline that is allowed in our student handbook and we hope to utilize this option.

Q. What is being done to protect students in minority groups such as race, religion and sexual orientation?
You can learn more about all that the District is doing in our Equity and Access for All plan.

Safety & Security
Q. Will the District implement metal detectors in our buildings?
At this time, there has been no discussion to install metal detectors in our buildings.   

Q. What does the SRO program look like in the District? Can we put an SRO in each middle school?
We have three SROs available to GJPS from the Gahanna Division of Police. Two are posted in Lincoln HS and the third supports our other schools and the private schools in our District. A full time SRO in each middle school is not in the plans for next year’s contract with GPD.

Q. How will we see relationships and trust grow for our children in staff and administration?
Some ways we could continue to strengthen our relationship with our students and school staff is through open communication between families and our staff. Communication that conveys honest feedback between home and school as well as modeling positive interactions is important.

Q. Where is the diversity in the Gahanna Division of Police and within the mental health leadership for GJPS?
The Gahanna Division of Police has made and continues to make a concerted effort in recruiting the best, brightest and most diverse applicants to serve the community. That noted, it is a difficult time to recruit officers, and the application pool is small. Those interested in pursuing a career in law enforcement have dwindled over the years, especially since 2020. Minority and female applicants are limited as many agencies compete for an ever-shrinking qualified applicant pool. GPD is continually looking for recruiting help from our community.

From the mental health team perspective, part of our Equity Action Plan for the District is to increase diversity in our entire staff. We are working hard to increase that diversity on our team, but similarly to GPD, there is a shortage of people who want to work in education. We are continually sending the message that we want you to work here and we want you to be a part of our team.