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About Us » Superintendent's Message

Superintendent's Message

Greetings all, happy summer!

This month, I’d like to tell you about our newest alumni and how your children can continue learning during the summer. I’ve also provided an update about our facilities planning:


  • Congratulations to the Class of 2017! Williams Henry Harrison High School granted diplomas to 223 seniors at our 137th Commencement on May 26. We’re super proud of how much they’ve accomplished during the last 13 years and admire their passion, persistence and dedication to excellence. More than 75 percent will head to college, 20 percent plan to enter the workforce and 5 percent will serve in the military.
  • ‘Summer slide’ is real: During the summer, students lose some of what they’ve learned during the school year. That’s why the district has partnered with local organizations to provide fun, exciting learning activities as well as healthy meals:
    • Harrison Elementary -- Grow to Know for incoming 1st to 5th graders. We’re collaborating with Legacy Christian Church and Lifespring Christian Church to focus on reading skills, character education and more.July 24-28.
    • Miamitown Elementary -- Meet up, Eat up and Read Up at Whitewater Crossing Church offers a summer reading and tutoring program. July 18-20. Miamitown also will provide a full day Summer Enrichment Program with United Methodist Church in Elizabethtown, providing activities, games and other fun plus enrichment tutoring for reading and math. June 26–July 26.
    • Crosby and Whitewater Valley Elementaries have summer accelerated reader programs. Teachers also have sent home a list of websites to help students practice reading and math skills as well as summer activity packets for the students.  Crosby also has a “summer stretch” program with intervention instruction for at-risk students.
    • Whitewater Valley will keep its library staffed this summer so students can take out books. Representatives from the Public Library also spent time in each classroom to talk about the library’s summer reading program, which uses prizes as incentives to read.
    • Harrison Junior School and Harrison High School are working together on a summer school program for credit recovery and skills deficiencies as well as enrichment and first-time credits. June 12--30


  • Moving ahead with the master plan: At its June 15 meeting, the Board of Education is slated to consider additional details of the facilities master plan. The plan calls for construction of four schools and extensive renovations to the high school. After hearing from more than 1,000 community representatives, the board preliminarily approved the proposal in April as a long-term plan to deal with overcrowded, deteriorating schools. The board authorized a bond issue be placed on the November 2017 ballot to fund the construction. The new buildings would replace the district’s junior school and all four elementary schools. A new junior school would be built near the existing Harrison Junior. Three elementary schools would be built, including at the Crosby Elementary site and another behind Harrison Elementary. A major detail that needs to be decided in the coming months includes where to place the third elementary. One viable option for the third elementary is near the high school and junior school, where the district owns 110 acres and there are no flood-plain concerns. The funding projections have changed slightly in the last month or so. The plan would require $71.7 million in local funds, equal to 7.09 mills. Homeowners would pay an extra $244 per year for each $100,000 in assessed value. More information is available at
  • More about the modulars: With students out of school, the modular classrooms project is kicking into a higher gear.  As usual, we’re being frugal with taxpayers’ money. Because Fairfield School District is replacing two schools, it put used furniture up for auction. We bought several classrooms worth of desks and other furniture for a fraction of what they would cost new. Had we not bid on the Fairfield furniture, we would have been on the hook for more than $50,000 for desks and chairs and other equipment and supplies for the 10 modular classrooms. Installation of the modulars will start in the next month or so at the Junior School and Crosby Elementary. The goal is to have the modulars ready before students arrive in August. The district decided to acquire the modulars as a temporary solution to overcrowding after enrollment at the two schools began soaring beyond projections.
  • Southwest Podcast -- Continuing to drive student growth: This month, we’re featuring interviews with me as well as Assistant Superintendent Corinne Hayes about fun, summer learning opportunities as well as curriculum and student technology upgrades. You can listen to the podcast here:


As always, please let me know if you have comments or questions.


John C. Hamstra


Southwest Local Schools