I hope all Withrow High School alumni and your families are doing well. What a year! Our 2021-2022 academic year was very eventful, to say the least. And, our 2022-2023 school year is off to an eventful and great start, as well—with some sense of pre-pandemic normalcy.
As we embark upon another exciting new school year, under the new district leadership of Superintendent Iranetta Wright and her administrative team, we are Getting Back to the Basics—our ABCs. We, as one school and district, will focus on Academics, Behavior, and establishing a Culture of Academic Excellence to ensure our students have equitable access to a world-class education, unleashing the potential of every student.
I am very excited for this new school year, especially leading such a strong and dedicated group of administrators, educators, counselors and support staff! I truly believe that we have assembled the best administrators, faculty, counselors and support staff in the district! WE ARE ONE! We began last year with relaxed masking as an option for our faculty, staff, and students. With COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters bringing the global COVID-19 pandemic near to a close, we still managed to get hit with the spike in Hamilton County COVID-19 omicron variant case— causing numerous Withrow and districtwide teacher absences and a districtwide return to a two week at-home remote learning plan mid-year — January— that occurred after the winter break.
Unfortunately, with the spike in omicron cases, we also saw a spike in student mental health referrals, which we aggressively addressed with our new mental health care partner. Without really recognizing the impact of two-and-a-half years of isolation and on-again-off-again blended learning, students really had a tough time re-acclimating themselves to the academic standards, rigor, and socialization of pre-pandemic times. It was a true reality check and a process that we had to monitor closely and take seriously as a staff. However, our faculty and staff navigated these obstacles and adapted to change to provide the best instruction possible for our Withrow students, as well as provide the supports that students need to be successful. They are to be truly commended for all the hard work, creativity, patience, and grace they extended to their students throughout the year.
Our students adapted to the academic instructional expectations and challenges that the global COVID-19 pandemic presented, and were poised last year for breakthrough and greatness. Last spring, our class of 2022 saw 209 Withrow Tigers walk across the stage at the University of Cincinnati’s Fifth Third Arena to receive their high school diploma — a true vision fulfilled. What a tremendous accomplishment!
As we look toward this 2022-2023 academic year and beyond, we are growing and thriving with well over 1,350 students enrolled that include: four Multiple Disability Units, three Autism Units, two STRIDES Units, one Project Life Work/Study Program Unit, and more than 350 English Second Language (ESL) and SLIFE/Newcomer students in our ESL Department. We will continue to set high expectations and develop our Withrow students into life-long learners who are change-agent global leaders—drawing strength from this pandemic to relentlessly pursue their goals and dreams and putting the world on notice that they are coming. Coming with skill, talent, and the innovative solutions that the world needs and has not seen—representing Withrow University High School with distinction and honor.
It is my hope that each of you and your families will continue to be healthy, safe, and strong and continue to support our Withrow Tigers in any way you can. We thank you so very much in advance.
Always remember: Once a Tiger… Always a Tiger!
All the Best,
Jerron T. Gray