AP® District Honor Roll

untitledOn behalf of the College Board and our wonderful community, I am pleased to congratulate Worthington Schools as one of 547 school districts in the nation recognized by the College Board with a place on its Fifth Annual AP® District Honor Roll for opening AP classroom doors to a significantly broader pool of students, while maintaining or improving the percentage of students earning scores of 3 or higher.

All schools that have earned the honor of being placed on the Fifth Annual AP® District Honor Roll the can be seen Here: 5th Annual AP® District Honor Roll – (http://professionals.collegeboard.com/k-12/awards/ap-district-honor-roll)

This is an inspirational benchmark for Worthington Schools.

Kudos to our  teachers, administrators and classified  staff for supporting the  continued growth and achievement in our students.

- Dr. Thomas Tucker, Superintendent

Standard

Bring Your Own Device

FullSizeRender (4)Hopefully you’ve read about Worthington’s three year technology plan and better yet, you’ve begun to see that plan being implemented in each of our schools.  Earlier this school year we wrote a series of blog posts designed to explain this plan in depth.  (You can read part 1, 2, 3, 4, & 5 here.)

The Worthington Schools Technology Plan calls for all Worthington students to have access to a personal mobile device by 2017. Worthington Schools will be providing mobile devices in schools at a ratio of one device for every 2.5 students. All elementary schools in Worthington currently meet these ratios.  We’ve begun our secondary school roll-out and this will continue into next school year.

In addition, Worthington Schools will be creating mobile device lending libraries at each school so that students who do not have their own device, or access to a device in their home, can check out a device from school and continue their learning at home.  Worthingway Middle School will be the first school to pilot a lending library beginning this month!

With the mobile device roll-out combined with lending libraries at each school, roughly 4,400 mobile devices will be available throughout our school district.  This is an outstanding start towards mobile learning for all students.  Our technology plan calls for the gap between 9,600 students and 4,400 devices to be filled with students bringing their own technology to schools.

Many students today are comfortable completing their schoolwork on a variety of devices.  Our students use smartphones, tablets, laptops and chromebooks successfully.  The technology plan should allow for any of these devices to be used at school.

As a school district the majority of the devices we are purchasing right now are chromebooks.  We find that the chromebook is fast, reliable and cost effective.  Because we are now a Google Apps for Education school district this is a very effective device for education.  Many parents have asked about purchasing a chromebook for their child to use at home and at school.  With that in mind we have created a chromebook purchasing flyer that should help families make purchasing decisions.

As a district we looked at partnering with a vendor to make purchasing simpler for our families.  In the end we determined that it is best if parents make their own purchasing decisions and use the vendor of their choice.

Not all families will decide that purchasing a device is right for their child and many of our families cannot afford to make this investment.  However, many in Worthington should consider purchasing a device which will help personalize their child’s education and provide them access to a wealth of digital learning materials.

This chromebook flyer is our first attempt at communicating good BYOD options for families to consider.  If you’re thinking about making a purchase for your child or your family, check it out here.

-Trent Bowers, Assistant Superintendent

Bring Your Own Device Flyer

 

Standard

A Day of Learning

IMG_5676Yesterday was election day across the United States.  In Worthington because many of our schools are used as polling locations our students were not in school.  While students were home, our teachers and many of our support staff were at work.  We had a very productive day!

Long before our current academic standards were adopted, Margaret Mead wrote, “Children must be taught how to think, not what to think.”  In that spirit, 700+ Worthington teachers gathered on the Granby-McCord-WKHS campus and  engaged in our November 4th Fall Institute:  a district-wide “Day of Learning.”

The morning consisted of two learning blocks:  one with building colleagues and one choice session with colleagues from across the district.  Over 35 choice sessions offered opportunities for teachers to increase their skill in the use of resources such as Fundations, Stepping Stones, Pasco Sparks, and Google Apps for Education; to build their understanding of instructional approaches such as Universal Design for Learning; or to collaborate with colleagues around topics such as Literature for the K-3 Kodály (that’s music) Classroom and the development of integrated performance assessments in our world language courses.

With the ambiguity of the upcoming PARCC and AIR assessments looming large for our students and for our teachers, members of the Academic Achievement and Professional Development department partnered with building principals to deliver an interactive building session presentation.  The focus?  Regardless of grade level or subject taught, how are we ALL applying our knowledge of the rigor expected in the new standards to our daily instructional and assessment practices?  Conversation swirled around Bloom’s Cognitive Dimensions and Webb’s Depth of Knowledge Levels, but the essence of the morning was stated clearly by a Worthington teacher:  “My main take away this morning is that we, as teachers, need to support our students by getting them to think about their thinking more critically and by giving them opportunities to share their thinking.”

If you happened to be driving on Hard Road around noon yesterday, you probably noticed teachers lined up to select from among the delicious options available from four different food trucks and then enjoying lunch and conversation with colleagues.  The afternoon was reserved for the ongoing work of Professional Learning Communities, many of which are focused on aligning curriculum and implementing best practices such as formative assessment, data analysis and application, literacy across content areas, and the building of background knowledge and vocabulary acquisition.

As educators, we are thankful for opportunities to learn together so that we can be better for our students.  Please look for evidence of us promoting deeper levels of thinking and working to make that student thinking visible.  And, if you happen to be on Twitter, check out #FI14 for some visible examples of yesterday’s work in Worthington Schools.

- Kelly Wegley, Coordinator of Academic Achievement and Professional Development

Standard

#ForWorthington

TWHSIn the spring of 1982 I was living in Concord, California with my parents and younger sister.  My dad was transferred from the Bay Area to Columbus, Ohio and after doing extensive research my parents decided to locate our family in Worthington.  790 Ashler Court would be our family home for the next 16 years.  It was from that home that I would attend Worthington Hills Elementary, Perry Middle School, McCord Middle School, The Kilbourne Freshman Building and Worthington High School.

Today I look back on my parents’ decision to choose Worthington with great appreciation.  Like many high school and college students I was set on making my mark on this world outside of Worthington and as such I took my first teaching job in King George, Virginia.  I taught 5th grade at Potomac Elementary School and my first classroom was in the school’s old kitchen.  Teaching in Virginia was a great experience.  Immediately it created an appreciation for my home of Worthington and in the fall of 1997 Dr. Ann Heffernan hired me to teach 5th grade at Evening Street Elementary.  I was home and I was planning to be a teacher and a coach for my career.  (I was coaching football at McCord Middle School and lacrosse at Worthington Kilbourne High School.)

As often happens, my plans for life shifted.  Two things happened.  For one, Dr. Heffernan pulled me aside one day and encouraged me to consider becoming a principal.  I had never considered this before, but I was intrigued.  Secondly, Dr. Gerald Prince appeared at my classroom door with some bad news.  Because of budget constraints my position was being eliminated and I was being RIF’d (Reduced in Force.)  My plans changed in a hurry.  Luckily for me Dan Girard had left his position as Dean of Students at McCord Middle School and they had an opening.  I was hired for the dean’s position and learned that I really liked the administration role.

After a few years at McCord I decided I needed to move outside of Worthington again.  I became first an assistant principal, then a principal, and eventually the principal of two schools at the same time in Marysville Schools.  These were great years for me personally and I will be forever grateful to my mentor Larry Zimmerman for his faith in me.  But, as has happened consistently in my life, I came home.

In 2008 I was given the opportunity to work in Worthington’s central office (The WEC), first in Human Resources and three years later in my current assignment as Assistant Superintendent.  Today I learned that the Board of Education has the faith in me to become the next Superintendent of Worthington Schools.  I didn’t set out for this job.  Even seven years ago when I joined Worthington I would have never imagined this was possible.

As a student in Worthington I was labeled with a learning disability.  School was always very hard for me.  Throughout my academic career in Worthington I was supported by amazing, caring and talented educators.  Teachers and coaches such as Connie Ball, Bill Wolford, Mark Ellwood, Jan Fish, Chris Gallagher, Scott Gordon, Tim Cave, Janet Lanka, Tim Dove and Jane Baxter scaffolded my learning and helped me progress.  Even with their incredible support I graduated in the bottom half of my high school class.

Struggling academically shaped how I see education today.  My personal experiences are melded now with almost 20 years of professional experience in education.  Those experiences will continue to influence me as Superintendent of Schools.  They’ve taught me the importance of connecting with others, communicating expectations clearly, providing effective feedback, listening first, and setting high expectations for student success.

Worthington Schools is a great school district!  We are a school district that offers an incredible pre-school experience at Sutter Park.  Sutter Park is an example statewide for early childhood excellence.  Worthington is a district that creates stability and builds deep and meaningful relationships with families at our elementary schools that serve students in grades K-6.  My three children will spend 13 cumulative years at one elementary school.  The staff there is like our second family and this stability and personal relationship is a unique treasure in 2014.

When our students move to middle school they have incredible options.  Within our traditional middle school programs we offer many more choice options for students than do our neighboring school districts.  We also offer an alternative lottery-based middle school in Phoenix.  Our high schools provide an array of choices.  We pride ourselves in offering an incredible breadth of curricular and co-curricular options for our high school students.  Likewise our Linworth Alternative program has been a benchmark in alternative education for almost 40 years.

Under Dr. Tucker’s leadership Worthington’s academic performance as measured by standardized tests has never been stronger.  But we’re about so much more.  We still value recess time for our elementary students and we take time out of each day for the arts and physical education. We’re a “both/and” school district.  We won’t sacrifice what we believe is good for students in order to score a few points more on tests (that’s the “either/or” approach.)

As we move forward my commitment is that Worthington will continue to get better in every aspect of schooling.  In a competitive marketplace people will choose Worthington Schools for their children not only because our offerings are second to none, and the quality and rigor of our offerings is outstanding, but they’ll choose Worthington because every member of our staff is committed to building a personal relationship with our families and is therefore committed to do whatever is necessary for our students to succeed.

In the near future I will meet with Dr. Tucker and the board of education and we will begin to map out the future.  I anticipate the need to study our enrollment trends and our facilities.  I’d like for us to engage our community in strategic planning to guide the next several years of our work.  We’ll continue to be good stewards of the taxpayer’s money and we’ll work to make certain every dollar spent has a positive impact on students and the community.

Today I am totally and completely humbled.  I stand upon the shoulders of the great educators who have made Worthington a special place.  In particular my life has been touched by Anne Heffernan, Jeanne Paliotto, Paul Cynkar, Jim McElligott, Mark Glasbrenner, Melissa Conrath and Thomas Tucker.  There are many others who have come before us and there will be many more in the future.  I stand surrounded by a group of talented, caring, and committed administrators, teachers, and education support professionals.  I love Worthington Schools!  My goal everyday will be to give back to this community that has given me so much and to give forward to the next generation.

As we make daily strides we will do so For Worthington!  Not for ourselves, but For Worthington.  For the kids of Worthington!  For the community of Worthington Schools.  For those who have come before us in Worthington.  For my neighbors whose kids have come and gone.  I look forward to partnering with you to make Worthington the best school district in Ohio.  FOR WORTHINGTON!

Respectfully,

Trent H. Bowers, Ed.D.

If you’re on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook please tag your Worthington related posts with #ForWorthington as we work together to make Worthington the best school district/community in Ohio.

Standard

Significant Progress Award

images (1)Good News! On behalf of Battelle for Kids and the Worthington Community, I am pleased to inform you Worthington Schools has been awarded not one but two SOAR Awards for High Progress:  Significant Progress District ( A district must be among the top districts of all participating SOAR districts, based on the 2014 annual district composite index. Grades 4-8 math and reading data are included in this analysis.) and High Progress School (Grades 4-8) for McCord Middle School (A school must be among the top schools of all participating SOAR schools, based on the 2014 annual school composite index. Grades 4-8 math and reading data are included in this analysis.).

To help celebrate our accomplishments, Battelle for Kids will recognize Worthington Schools, along with other distinguished recipients, at the Greater Columbus Convention Center on November 10, 2014.

As always, thanks for your dedication and commitment to our students and community.

- Dr. Thomas Tucker, Superintendent

 

Standard

Education Support Professionals

FullSizeRenderToday, Friday October 17th was a day off for students in Worthington.  Likewise it was a day off for teachers in Worthington.  Conversely for our education support professionals (administrative assistants, bus drivers, custodians, food service workers, etc…) today was a day of professional development all scheduled at Worthington Kilbourne High School.

Beginning at 7:00 A.M. this morning our support professionals gathered for a full day.  To kick-off the day former Worthington teacher Scott DiMauro spoke with the support staff in a general session about what it means to be a team.  He taught about the six characteristics of effective teams (clarity of purpose, unity, diversity, loyalty, responsibility and results.)  Scott’s message was both personal and inspirational.  Following Scott, retired Worthington teacher Dr. Gary Moore expanded on his vision around teamwork.  Dr. Moore who is the founder of SuperGames set the stage for training around communication, collaboration and problem solving.  By 9:00 A.M. it had already been an amazing day of learning and we were just getting started.

Today our support professionals spent time training in multiple areas.  They received specific and functional training in how to support a safe culture in Worthington Schools.  They learned strategies to help de-escalate student behavior and they learned more about helping students in poverty.  Many support staff deepened their knowledge of Google Apps and thus they’ll be better able to support our three-year technology plan.  And…some staff even worked with the fire department on fire safety and the emergency usage of our fire extinguishers (I wanted to use the fire extinguisher but they were rightly concerned about my ability to aim…)

In school districts we often see the face of the Superintendent or Principal on publications.  We’re likely to think about the teacher of our children.  Sometimes, we forget who really makes schools happen everyday.  We don’t readily think about the people who begin work before the sun comes up, who do the jobs that often others don’t want to, and who live in the shadows happily without the recognition or public accolades.  In Worthington we have over 400 such education support professionals who go above and beyond to serve the community and allow schools to open each day.

Today our support professionals invested their time in learning.  On a beautiful fall day they spent their day inside learning and getting better together.  As a Worthington employee I’m proud to work with this team.  As a Worthington parent I’m blessed that my kids are taken care with the aid of this team.  Today was a good day of learning and it reminds me that all of us need to take a minute and thank our support professionals for the work they do to allow Worthington Schools to educate all children.

-Trent Bowers, Assistant Superintendent

Standard

The Proposed 2015-2016 School Calendar

CalendarAt the regularly scheduled Worthington Board of Education Meeting on Monday, October 13th the board will be asked to review the proposed 2015-2016 school calendar.  This will only be a first reading of the calendar.  Over the month of October community feedback will be solicited and the Board of Education will be asked to vote for the final calendar at the November 12th meeting.  The calendar that is being proposed is “Option B” of the three options that were created for staff and community input.

Creating the school year calendar is a difficult process that attempts to serve many different masters.  How much time in school will students have before state mandated testing?  Are the first and second semesters as close to even as possible so that semester classes at the high school receive equal instructional time?  Can we create a calendar that allows high school final exams to be held before winter break so that students don’t have to study and stress over the holidays?  Can we schedule to same spring break as Ohio State and still end a quarter with spring break?  How can we minimize disruptions for families and create blocks of time for families to be together?  These are only some of the questions that we attempt to answer.

Our community has strong feelings about when school starts and ends.  Many parents of elementary students would like to see school begin later in August and go into June.  The challenge with this is creating enough instructional time before state assessments.  Many high school parents are more concerned with even semesters and finals occurring before winter break.  In order for this to happen school must begin earlier.

In the three calendar options that were presented “Option C” began school on August 12th.  Elementary parents have almost a visceral negative reaction to this.  But this is the start date some of our surrounding districts have gone to because it creates even semesters and ends those even semesters at the winter holiday break.  Our recommendation of “Option B” is a compromise position.  It begins school a week later but does offset the semester days.  Finals will still occur before the holiday break but it does create an additional challenge for high school students learning the semester material in a condensed period of time. (The difference between Option A  and Option B were how finals would be structured for high school students second semester.  There was some thought that taking a few finals on Friday would be an advantage because a student could study for two, and then have the weekend to focus on the next two or three finals.  In the end, Option B has a straight three day finals period.)

There is no calendar that works for everyone.  We believe this calendar is a good instructional calendar that will serve Worthington students well.  Here are some additional facts about the calendar that is being proposed:

In developing the school year calendar the goal was to create a calendar that:

  • Provides Worthington students the best opportunity to grow and achieve
  • Has consistent instructional blocks of time
  • Has as many five day weeks as possible
  • Is free from late-starts and early-releases to increase consistency
  • Works with the state testing calendar
  • Meets community expectations for schooling in Worthington

Recommended Calendar:

  • The First Day of School is Wednesday August 19th
  • Winter Holiday is a full two weeks beginning Friday December 18th.  Students return Monday January 4th
  • Spring Break is March 18th – March 25th
  • The Last Day of School is Wednesday May 25th

-Trent Bowers, Assistant Superintendent

 

 

 

 

 

Standard