College Preparatory Mathematics

CPMThis Fall as school begins many of our secondary students will experience a new math textbook.  As part of our curriculum resource timeline, a team of Grades 6-12 teachers met throughout the 2016-17 year to review resources for a math resource adoption.  They reviewed many math resources based on their alignment to the Ohio’s State Standards, our district’s area of focus, and best practices in how students learn math.  As a result, the committee selected College Preparatory Mathematics (CPM) for grades 6 through Integrated Math III.

In what we know about good math instruction, students learn mathematics best when they have a better conceptual understanding of formulas and math processes, rather than memorizing facts and filling out worksheets.  With CPM, students will engage in exploring conceptual understanding through modeling and reasoning, build procedural knowledge and fluency, as well as apply mathematics to real world experiences.

CPM’s vision is a world where mathematics is viewed as intriguing and useful, and is appreciated by all; where powerful mathematical thinking is an essential, universal, and desirable trait; and where people are empowered by mathematical problem-solving and reasoning to solve the world’s problems.

In order to allow students to better understand math concepts instead of simply performing steps, classroom instruction will look differently. Classroom instruction will be designed to promote mathematical discourse and develop a conceptual understanding of math formulas and processes. In addition, students will write more to explain their thinking.

Teachers attended a four-day training to understand how to teach in this new approach.  4 additional professional development days will be provided throughout the school year. Based on this new curriculum resource, we expect students will be engaging in problem-based lessons structured around a core idea.  Guided by a knowledgeable teacher, students will work in study teams to clarify their thinking and deepen their understanding of math properties, rules, and concepts. Please note that students will practice with concepts and procedures over time; that is, mastery comes over time. Because learning is a process, students will have the opportunity to learn from mistakes and grow in a safe environment.

Our staff is excited to continue providing high quality learning opportunities for our students to learn and be prepare for life beyond high school.  For additional information about this new resource, please talk with your child’s teacher or visit the CPM Parent Support Page.

  • Tom Kaczmarek, Worthington Schools Mathematics Curriculum Leader
Standard

We plan to view the solar eclipse together in Worthington

Solar EclipseSometimes when you have a unique learning opportunity present itself you need to maximize it.  In Worthington, we view the upcoming solar eclipse as this sort of opportunity for memorable learning to occur.

On the 4th day of school, Monday, August 21st, Worthington will experience a partial solar eclipse.  Starting at 1:04 pm the moon will pass in between the Earth and the sun.  By 2:30 pm, 86% of the sun will be blocked out.  There are many interesting observations reported from sun events including:

  • The leaves on trees will form thousands of “pinhole cameras” creating thousands of crescent shaped images of the sun on the ground below.
  • The temperature may drop a noticeable amount.
  • Birds have sometimes exhibited night time behaviors such as nesting or no longer singing.
  • Crickets may begin to chirp.

The last time such a solar eclipse passed over the U.S. was 1979.  The next time will be in April of 2024.  Seeing a solar eclipse where you live is extremely rare.  For many of our students, this may be the only eclipse they personally witness during their lifetimes.  

Worthington Schools has purchased 11,000 pairs of eclipse approved glasses for all of our students and staff to safely view the eclipse.  Our plan is to create grade level appropriate lessons around the eclipse and then as a school community, actually allow our students and teachers to view the eclipse.

Our Science Curriculum Leader, Brian Geniusz, has created a website to help everyone better understand the eclipse and eclipse safety.  The site also includes some lessons/activities our students may participate in.  The website can be found at www.worthington.k12.oh.us/eclipse.  Check it out.

Opportunities like this don’t come around very often.  We are going to maximize this one!

-Trent Bowers, Superintendent

P.S.  All of our glasses meet the ISO 12312-2 filter guidelines for direct observation of the Sun.

Standard

Hello August

HelloAugustAnd the calendar turned to August….There are only 16 days left until we kick-off the 2017-2018 school year in Worthington.  As of today all of our fall athletes and marching band members are engaged in practices.  It’s almost time for school to begin and I’m like a kid counting down the days until Christmas.  I can’t wait!!!

When school begins we expect almost 10,200 students to walk through our doors.  This will represent an increase of around 1,000 students enrolled in Worthington Schools over the past five years.  This is a remarkable increase for a landlocked and mostly built out school district.  Since most of the increase in students has been in grades K-5, we project that as those classes move up through the school district we’ll see a steady growth of 100 – 200 students each of the next 5-10 years.  Worthington is growing again!

In order to handle this student growth and to provide more capacity for students at the elementary level, we will again this year educate Evening Street 6th graders at Kilbourne Middle School.  In addition, for the first time in several decades, we will utilize modular classrooms at Colonial Hills Elementary (4 classrooms) and Worthington Hills Elementary (2 classrooms).  Even with these additions, there will be grade levels at certain elementary schools that have to be capped and students new to Worthington may have to be overflowed to an elementary school outside their designated attendance zones.

When school begins we will have 39 new teachers in Worthington classrooms.  Those teachers have been selected because they possess an understanding of the need for balance between classroom rigor and building positive relationships with their students.  Our new teachers spent last week with us working to understand our mission, vision, expectations and core instructional strategies.  They’re going to be great!  In addition, former Worthington Kilbourne Principal, Angie Adrean has moved to our education center as our Chief Academic Officer.  Our new Worthington Kilbourne Principal is Aric Thomas.  Worthington Hills has a new Principal, former Worthington Hills teacher and student, Allie Seiling.  Sutter Park has a new Principal, Tricia Hosking, and  Thomas Worthington has new Assistant Principals,  Milton Folson and Emilie Greenwald as well as new Athletic Director, Jen Goebbel.  We’re excited about our team.  

This weekend our Transportation Department is hosting a First-Time Riders event (Saturday, 8/5 9:00 A.M. – 12:00 P.M.) Students that will be riding a school bus for the first time are welcome to come to the Worthington Education Center to meet the bus drivers, get on and off of buses for the first time, learn about bus safety, and meet fellow classmates! If you have any questions, you can call the Transportation Department at (614) 450-6600.  Children who attend will get a free Kona Ice!

As you get ready for back-to-school, check out our district website for dates, and important reminders.  

It’s going to be a great school year in Worthington!  

-Trent Bowers, Superintendent

Standard

Make Your Bed

51D8tEOmerLMy mom used to tell me to “keep it simple, silly…”  Sometimes in life it’s that which is most simple that is really the most profound.   Upon the recommendation of a friend I recently picked up the book “Make Your Bed, Little Things That Can Change Your Life….And Maybe The World” by Admiral William H. McRaven.

Admiral McRaven (U.S. Navy Retired) was the commencement speaker at his alma mater, the University of Texas, in 2014.  His address was so well received (4.7 million YouTube views) that his remarks were expanded upon in this book.  It’s a simple book of 125 pages that you can read in around an hour.  But, while simple, it’s also powerful.

Admiral McRaven sums up his advice by saying, “Remember….start each day with a task completed (make your bed).  Find someone to help you through life.  Respect everyone.  Know that life is not fair and that you will fail often.  But, if you take some risks, step up when times are toughest, face down the bullies, lift up the downtrodden and never, ever give up – if you do these things, then you can change your life for the better….and maybe the world!

In Worthington Schools our mission is to empower a community of learners who will change the world.  If we as a community can impart the wisdom that Admiral McRaven shares with our children we’re certainly moving in the right direction.

  • Trent Bowers, Superintendent

p.s.  There is a new emphasis on making our beds first thing in the morning in the Bowers house.  My kids love when I read new books….

Standard

Should we ban homework?

homeworkYou may have recently read that Heidi Maier, the new superintendent of the 42,000-student Marion County public school district in Florida has decided to ban homework for all elementary students.  Her thinking is solid in that an often-cited meta-analysis of research on the subject, published in 2006, found that homework in elementary school does not contribute to academic achievement and has only a modest effect on older students in terms of improving academic performance.

Instead of spending their time on homework the superintendent wants elementary students reading every night.  Research is clear on the benefits of daily reading, with students picking their own books, reading aloud and listening to a fluent adult reader.

In Worthington we’re not planning to ban homework for our students.  (Although as a parent of three that would make my home life much easier…)  Instead we trust our teachers to make the best decision for each of their students and to assign homework when they believe it will be most beneficial for student growth.

Homework is difficult.  I remember a night when I was a young teacher and received a phone call from a parent who was frustrated that I was assigning too much homework and it was taking too much time each evening.  That very same night I received a phone call from another parent who asked that I assign more homework because she felt her daughter was not doing enough at home.  Thus, what one child needs may be too much for another child.

When students are assigned homework it should be to practice the skills learned in a classroom or to prep for what is going to be learned the next day.  At the elementary level homework should certainly include nightly reading for all of our students.

Sorry, we’re not planning to ban homework in Worthington.

-Trent Bowers, Superintendent

Standard

I’ve got some good news and some bad news…

g&BSo as I often tell my own children…”I’ve got some good news and I’ve got some bad news.”  Let’s begin with the bad news.  Our last day of school in Worthington was back on May 24th.  Thus, as of this morning July 10th, our summer is more than half over.

Now for the good news…summer is more than half over and our kids will be back in school on August 16th!  Boom!  We can’t wait to begin again in Worthington Schools!

June was a busy month throughout the district.  Learning continued.  We hosted several hundred students at our Worthington Enrichment Summer Learning Camps.  We hosted another 300 students at our K-3 summer reading camp and another 300+ students in our traditional summer school programs.  Worthington students traveled to France, Italy, Spain, Germany at we currently have Worthington Field Studies students out West after they just completed hiking out of the Grand Canyon.  Over 1,000 students went to school in Worthington (or via Worthington) at various points throughout the month of June.  

In addition we’re working to get our schools ready for next school year.  Several of our schools are getting new roofs which will keep students and staff dry throughout the school year.  The running tracks at Thomas Worthington, Worthington Kilbourne and McCord are all being resurfaced.  The main gymnasium floor at Thomas Worthington has a whole new look and the auxiliary gym at Worthington Kilbourne is receiving a new floor.

In order to have the necessary elementary classroom space to keep up with our increasing student enrollment modular classrooms are being installed at Colonial Hills Elementary and Worthington Hills Elementary.  Thus far, that work is on track.

We’re transitioning to a new 6th-12th grade math textbook and our Worthington math teachers are all receiving 4 days of intensive training on the new materials.  A number of our teachers attended that training in June.  Our first day of new teacher orientation for next school year is actually today!

It’s always a relief for students and teachers to hit summer break after the crushing schedule that is the month of May.  But at this point we’re passed the halfway point of summer and we’re actively readying for another great school year.  That’s good news!

-Trent Bowers, Superintendent

Standard

Total Bummer

disappointed childThe State of Ohio just completed their biennial budget process and Governor Kasich has signed the new two-year budget into law.  This budget is a total bummer for Worthington!

In 2017 the State of Ohio provided $25,999,542 in funding to Worthington Schools.  Under this adopted budget Worthington will lose 1.5 million dollars in year one and 1.9 million dollars in year two.  ($24,517,422 FY18, $24,089,584 FY19).  Ugh!

While most Franklin County School districts will receive slight increases in funding under this adopted budget, Worthington is one of only two school districts who will see an actual loss of resources. (Grandview Heights is the other one.)

The loss of revenue is not unexpected as it is the result of the continued phase-out of the tangible personal property tax which amounted to 11% of Worthington’s total budget back in 2005.  

What makes the loss of revenue a total bummer is that as a community Worthington is thriving.  Houses are selling and young families are moving in.  That is causing significant enrollment growth and within Worthington Schools, we are seeing a dramatic increase in our student enrollment – 877 more students since 2012 and an additional 800 projected in the next 5 years. Worthington is currently in the top ten in student enrollment growth in the entire state of Ohio.

State funding for public education has been a consistent challenge.  A local school levy is the only surefire way to know that your tax dollars are going to your school district. Statewide taxes are always going to be redistributed away from suburban school districts like Worthington.  With that in mind, Worthington Schools will continue to run a lean operation that analyzes every dollar that is spent.  We’ll make sure money is prioritized to the classroom and we’ll continue to ask only for reasonable levy requests at reasonable intervals.

  • Trent Bowers, Superintendent
Standard