OTTAWA HILLS, Ohio — As children across northwest Ohio get ready for a new school year, students in Ottawa Hills are heading back Tuesday.
Ottawa Hills Local School District has its highest-ever enrollment this year. Superintendent Adam Fineske said the district has hired more teachers to accommodate the influx of students it has.
According to Fineske, enrollment is up 12% over the past 5 years from 917 students in 2017 to over 1050 students as of Aug. 15, with more still enrolling.
In 2021, 1,033 students were enrolled in the district.
The elementary school alone ended the 2021-22 school year with 520 students enrolled and now stands at 558; up 7% just over the summer, Fineske said.
"We’re very thankful for what we’ve done the past couple years to survive some challenging years, and entering into a school year that feels pretty normal," Fineske said. "I’m so excited to celebrate and be thankful for what we have and then start dreaming about the future."
There are two new classrooms at the elementary school to accommodate the additional students. Additionally, a new student learning center in the junior-senior high school will be open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. every day. Students can use that space for tutoring help and various ACT and SAT prep courses.
As far as school safety, Fineske said they have implemented changes for the upcoming school year. There will only be one entrance and exit for everyone to go through at all school buildings.
"We focus on school safety a lot, probably more than maybe we expected to have to this summer. But with the unfortunate events in the spring, I think all districts are doing the same thing," Fineske said. "So we have tightened up our building quite a bit."
Fineske said they would also continue running background checks on all visitors that come through the building, as they have done in the past.