Welcome to 2021! This is a big year in Worthington Schools and one that we have been looking towards since 2016. The pandemic has thrown some curveballs our way over the past nine months and while we’re learning to hit the curveball a little better, my guess is we won’t see too many fastballs right over the plate for a while. However, 2021 is going to be a great year and I want to begin the year by reminding you what you should be expecting.
School during COVID-19
Worthington Schools has operated half of the 20-21 school year in remote learning and half via hybrid learning. Remote learning will continue again on Monday, January 4th and we will move back to hybrid learning on January 11th and endeavor to keep our students in face-to-face learning for the remainder of the school year. Likely, the winter months will continue to be very difficult with COVID in our community but we anticipate as spring hits COVID will decrease and the vaccine will be available. We’re hopeful that we’ll be able to hold important spring traditions for our seniors and those students transitioning to new schools. Our teachers have done an amazing job working with students, adapting to the ever-changing demands and dealing with our current reality. I’m proud of our educators. We look forward to brighter days in the future when all students will be in school as we are designed to serve students in this way.
6th-8th Grade Middle Schools
In 2021, we will open a brand new Perry Middle School and will have renovated and added to Worthingway, Kilbourne and McCord Middle Schools. Our 6th graders will move to the middle school into amazing new educational spaces unlike anything Worthington Schools has seen in the past 30 years. Construction is on schedule and proceeding at all four sites. Beginning in August of 2021, Worthington will be K-5 at the elementary, 6-8 at the middle school and 9-12 at the high school.
Additionally, there will be new feeder patterns for middle school and high school. For middle school, you’ll see (KMS: Colonial and Evening St, McCord: Granby, Liberty, Worthington Hills, Perry: Bluffsview, Brookside, Slate Hill, and Worthingway: Worthington Estates, Worthington Park, Wilson Hill.) Additionally, students from Slate Hill Elementary will begin to attend Worthington Kilbourne High School as ninth graders, and over the next four years, we will balance our high school enrollment between Thomas Worthington and Worthington Kilbourne.
Perry Middle School
Jodi Robertson has been hired as the Principal at Perry Middle School. She will begin in Worthington this summer. Jodi is currently the assistant principal at the Marysville Early College High School. She was a long-time middle school teacher. She resides with her family in Worthington and her children attend Worthington Schools.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Toya Spencer is our Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. She joined the district in July with 18 years of corporate experience. For the majority of her career, she has been guiding organizations in becoming more diverse, equitable and inclusive workplaces. Having worked at the corporate headquarters for Abercrombie & Fitch, Huntington National Bank and Danaher Corporation, Toya’s experience working in such vastly different industries provides the dexterity required to understand and serve a school district with needs across many aspects of diversity. Toya has three focus areas in 2021 in building relationships, gathering data on how we can improve and communication with stakeholders.
Master Facilities Plan Phase 2
In 2016, Worthington Schools brought together a large team of community members and stakeholders to create a three-phase Master Facilities Plan for the future of Worthington Schools. Phase One of that plan went before the voters in 2018 and passed resoundingly resulting in the middle school construction, 6-8 middle schools and feeder pattern changes. We’re now actively planning for Phase Two which we expect to go before voters in 2022. A new team is being created and will begin meeting early in 2021 to engage the community and update the plan for Phases Two and Three. We’re excited to shape the future of Worthington.
Thoughts Moving Forward
The pandemic has been very hard for everyone. Over and over again in 2020, the pandemic has forced us to make polarizing decisions that, no matter what we chose, elicited significant negative feedback. This has led to fractures in our community and for many of us to take sides on issues one way or another. As I’ve read about past pandemics in history it appears that this is part of what happens. But, as we move into the new year my hope is that we can commit to working together, acting with civility, and striving to love one another. We can think differently about the best path forward without being enemies. We can debate what is best for school, the right way to keep our kids safe, and even what books should be read, while understanding that those that may think differently than we do also have important perspectives and rarely is there any one right answer to a complicated issue.
What I have always appreciated about Worthington is that education is a priority. Our kids are a priority. With education being a priority it also elicits passion. For those of us in public schools that passion to improve the lives of all children is a real positive. In 2021 my hope is that we can come back together as a community. Because #ItsWorthIt.
-Trent Bowers, Superintendent