Middle School Feeder Patterns

EEYCkwRWwAIYG7EAt Monday evening’s Worthington Board of Education meeting (12/9/19), Assistant Superintendent Randy Banks and several staff and community representatives made the second phase of recommendations for changes to school feeder patterns beginning in the fall of 2021.  As Superintendent I accepted those recommendations and the board voted 5-0 to approve the recommendations.

The passage of the 2018 bond issue provided the funding necessary for the district to proceed with Phase One of our Master Facilities Plan.  Phase One provides capacity for our elementary schools by moving 6th grade to the middle school in the fall of 2021. It will address our aging buildings by rebuilding Worthingway Middle School and Perry Middle School (Perry would reopen as a 6-8 grade middle school, while Phoenix and Worthington Academy and Rockbridge remain on that site).  The plan balances high school enrollment by moving to four traditional middle schools (plus Phoenix) with two middle schools feeding to each high school and by moving a current TWHS feeder elementary to the WKHS feeder pattern.

In our 2019 Winter Newsletter that was mailed to all homes in Worthington, we outlined four tasks for the Feeder Pattern Committee:

  • Determine which elementary school will shift to WKHS – the committee has identified its top considerations for school selection: student diversity, travel time and distance to school and enrollment at each building.
  • Establish WKHS feeder pattern – reassigning which elementary schools feed into either Perry or McCord Middle Schools.
  • Establish TWHS feeder pattern – reassigning which elementary schools feed into either Kilbourne or Worthingway Middle Schools.
  • Make suggestions to ensure a smooth transition – implementation of communication and welcoming strategies, early enrollment for families and a possible grandfathering process for families.

On March 25, 2019, our Feeder Pattern Committee presented their first recommendations to our Board of Education in order to balance the high schools over time (view the slide show here.)  The committee recommended that Slate Hill Elementary move to WKHS.

The committee reconvened this fall and came to a recommendation for elementaries feeding into middle schools.  The task before the committee was reassigning which elementary schools feed into either Kilbourne or Worthingway Middle Schools and reassigning which elementary schools feed into either Perry or McCord Middle Schools.

After the recommendations from the committee, students from Brookside and Bluffsview will move from McCord to Perry.  In addition, students from Slate Hill will also attend Perry moving from Worthingway. Students from Wilson Hill will move from Kilbourne to Worthingway.  

The Thomas Worthington Feeder Pattern will be:

Kilbourne Middle – Colonial Hills, Evening Street

Worthingway Middle – Wilson Hill, Worthington Estates and Worthington Park.

The Worthington Kilbourne Feeder Pattern will be:

McCord Middle – Granby, Liberty and Worthington Hills

Perry Middle – Bluffsview, Brookside and Slate Hill

In addition, our new schools are to open in the fall of 2021.  We estimate that 35-40% of this year’s 6th-grade class will need to begin 7th grade in one middle school and then attend 8th grade in their new middle school.  For instance, a 6th grader at Bluffsview would spend 7 years at Bluffsview, one year at McCord, one year at Perry and then four years at WKHS. Finally, our current 5th graders and current 4th graders at all elementary schools will exit elementary school the same spring (2021) and will be the first 7th graders and 6th graders at the middle schools district-wide.

Later this spring (April 2020), district administrators will set up a meeting at each elementary school to provide information on the proposed 6-8 middle school schedule, transportation additions or changes, and to discuss what individual school traditions may look like for the 2021-2022 school year.  This will happen a full 15 months before the actual transitions occur providing us time to listen and make adjustments as necessary. 

If you’d like to learn more about the feeder pattern change process please visit the feeder pattern page on the Worthington Schools website.  https://www.worthington.k12.oh.us/domain/1131

-Trent Bowers, Superintendent

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Julie Keegan – A Cardinal for Life

IMG_1644Sometimes you cross paths with a person in life and forever your life is enriched.  For me, the 11 years I have been able to spend working with Julie Keegan has done exactly that.  I will always be grateful for my association with Julie and her family. After serving on the Worthington Board of Education for the past 12 years, tonight marks Julie’s final board meeting.

Jerry Katz graduated from Worthington High School in 1958.  He married Merci, became a banker, bought a house in Columbus and eventually had two daughters, Julie and Nicole.  In 1978 they moved back home to Worthington. Julie enrolled in Colonial Hills Elementary, transitioned to Worthingway Middle School and graduated from Worthington High School in 1985.

At Worthington High School Julie Katz met Mike Keegan.  They eventually married, 70939579_2749896248363291_3332301181769744384_n.jpgmoved to Virginia, and started their family.  Worthington called them home. Their children; Josh, Casey, Quinn and Layne all graduated from Thomas Worthington High School.  Thus, they became the third generation of Worthington graduates from this family.

In 2007, Julie Keegan ran for election to the Worthington Board of Education.  She began her term in January 2008. As a Board of Education member, Julie served tirelessly.  She knows Worthington Schools inside and out. Julie supported tough decisions to right-size the district budget when enrollment was declining and she was part of passing successful operating levies and bond issues in 2009, 2012 and 2018.  Julie served as President of the Board of Education for multiple terms. She’s spoken at commencement and handed out student diplomas. Julie helped negotiate union contracts, she supported the creation of Worthington Academy and multiple updates to school safety.  She constantly pushed for us to be more efficient and effective in our operations, and she was always confident in sharing her perspective. If you know Julie, you know that she’s honest, upfront, and never afraid. 

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As a community member, Julie volunteered for years at Slate Hill Elementary.  She’s mentored a family who has immigrated to the U.S. and resides in Worthington Schools.  She’s been a booster club parent in soccer, swimming, cross country and volleyball. She’s run the Gary Smith, been in numerous Worthington parades and has been the secret admirer of retired Worthington teacher Mr. Jim VanArsdale.  

I’ve learned a lot from Julie.  Just last week, with only a few days left in her term, and with a thousand outside things going on, Julie showed up for several different evening meetings to represent the board when she didn’t have to. She’s been a tireless supporter of Worthington Schools.  She leaves Worthington Schools a better place than when she arrived.

Julie Keegan has devoted a significant portion of her life to Worthington Schools.  She’ll always be a Worthington Cardinal and as she turns over her seat on the Board of Education to Amy Lloyd, I can say from a grateful Worthington community, thank you for your service!

-Trent Bowers, Superintendent 

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City, Schools & Pools – Part 2

poolWe’re hosting a community meeting this Tuesday evening (December 3rd) at 6:30 P.M. beginning in the auditorium at Thomas Worthington High School and concluding in the cafeteria at Thomas Worthington High School.  The meeting is designed to provide feedback both to the City of Worthington and Worthington Schools on future funding for the Worthington Pools.

Back in October Worthington Schools and the City of Worthington held a joint meeting of the Board of Education and the City Council.  One of the major topics on that October agenda was a presentation by the non-profit group Swiminc that operates both the indoor and outdoor Worthington Pools complex.  The Worthington pools have exceeded their operational life-span and thus Swiminc presented several options for the Board of Education and City Council to consider. At the conclusion of the meeting in October Board of Education President, Jennifer Best, and Council President, Bonnie Michael, asked the schools and city administration to host a meeting for community feedback.  

At our meeting Tuesday evening we plan to begin in the auditorium at TWHS because it is the best presentation space for both a screen and microphones.  Swiminc will provide an overview of the pool complex, it’s current assessment of the facilities and their plans for the future. Worthington City Manager, Matt Greeson, will provide the City’s perspective of the pools complex and I will provide the perspective of Worthington Schools.  We will then ask everyone in attendance to move from the auditorium to the cafeteria where participants can discuss their personal perspective with other meeting participants and we will capture everyone’s thoughts on paper so that the Board of Education and City of Worthington has the thoughts of those who chose to come to the meeting.  In addition, we’ll post all of those thoughts for the community to review on our Worthington Schools website.

Following the meeting in October I wrote the following blog post that attempted to explain the perspective of the school district.  In addition we commissioned Fallon Research to conduct a Pool Facilities Community Survey.  Paul Fallon presented the results of that survey to the Worthington Board of Education on November 25th.  

In the next few months the Worthington Board of Education and the City Council from the City of Worthington will need to decide on a course of action.  There’s no question that aquatics are important in this community. The current pools complex has served the community well for the past 40-50 years. Together we’ll need to decide what aquatics will look like and how we’ll fund aquatics for the next 40-50 years.  We’d love to see you Tuesday so you can provide your feedback.

-Trent Bowers, Superintendent

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A National Blue Ribbon School

NBRSWe have an amazing array of schools throughout Worthington.  We’re really lucky! Who has it better than us? No-body! With that said, it’s fun when outside organizations recognize our schools for their work with our students.

Earlier this fall Bluffsview Elementary was designated as an Exemplary High Performing School National Blue Ribbon School for 2019 by U. S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. Bluffsview is one of only 362 schools in the nation and one of only fourteen schools from Ohio to be recognized in 2019.

Since 1982, The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has recognized public and private elementary, middle, and high schools based on their overall academic excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. Every year the U. S. Department of Education seeks out and celebrates great American schools, schools demonstrating that all students can achieve to high levels. 

The formal award was bestowed last week at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center outside of Washington D.C.  Bluffsview Principal, Cindy Fox (who has been the principal at Bluffsview now for 17 years) Art teacher, Giannalisa Schumer, Media Specialist, Megan Mott, 6th grade teacher Kate Reik, and a stuffed Bear named Blue, traveled to receive the award on behalf of Bluffsview staff and students.  

In September when Bluffsview was selected for this award I sent the following message to Bluffsview staff which encapsulates how I feel about Bluffsview:  “It’s an honor for Worthington Schools to have Bluffsview named as a National Blue Ribbon School!  Thank you for taking the time to complete the application process and go through the evaluation. Without question Bluffsview is a school of excellence.  As a staff member at Bluffsview you know this to be true. Obviously Bluffsview meets the academic requirements for this award. Students at Bluffsview grow and achieve at high levels.  More importantly in my mind Bluffsview is just an amazing place for kids. You have created a warm and supportive culture where kids and families know that they are loved. Bluffsview embodied “Be Kind to Kids” before we began using that phrase.

Thank you for showing up everyday committed to making a positive difference in the lives of our students, their families, and our community.  Thank you for showing others throughout Worthington what excellence looks like. We’re proud of our Bluffsview Bears!

We’re proud of all of our schools in Worthington and excited to see one of them recognized with this award!

-Trent Bowers, Superintendent

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World Kindness Day!

Be Kind to KidsIn Worthington, our first and last expectation is to “Be Kind to Kids.”  Today is World Kindness Day. The Prevention Action Alliance wrote the following regarding kindness:

“While there appears to be a designated “day” on the calendar for everything these days, World Kindness Day is one to celebrate and share with the young people in our lives. It takes place annually on November 13th, and promotes putting kindness into action through caring and compassionate acts. In a world where far too many youth face bullying, deal with anxiety and depression, and fight the pressures to succumb to a variety of risk-taking behaviors, why not encourage kindness and compassion? The benefits can be far-reaching and long-lasting.

Richard Davidson and his team of researchers from the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin-Madison say that humans are biologically hardwired for kindness and selflessness. He says that even very young children show a preference toward being cooperative, giving and warm-hearted in their interactions with others. Dr. Davidson also believes that kindness can and should be nurtured in youth, and is absolutely teachable. He says, “It’s kind of like weight training, we found that people can actually build up their compassion ‘muscle’ and respond to others’ suffering with care and a desire to help.”  

While the motivation behind acts of kindness should simply be about doing something nice for a fellow human being, with nothing in it for ourselves, it cannot be helped that the giver receives a host of benefits in return. In addition to improving one’s relationships and connections with others, KINDNESS…

Kindness Increases

  • Oxytocin and Serotonin – powerful hormones that stabilize mood, and provide feelings of well-being.
  • Energy – some people report a spike in energy after doing good for others.
  • Pleasure – kindness toward others lights up the brain’s pleasure and reward centers.
  • Happiness – in a survey that spanned 136 countries, those who reported being charitable givers also reported being the happiest overall.

Kindness Decreases

  • Pain – produces endorphins, the brain’s natural painkillers.
  • Stress – reduces the stress hormone cortisol in the body.
  • Anxiety and depression – kindness elevates mood, wards off social avoidance.
  • Blood pressure – as oxytocin is produced, nitric oxide is released, a chemical that dilates blood vessels and lowers blood pressure.

Ways to be Kind

Kindness comes in all shapes and sizes, cannot be measured by cost or skill, and can be done at any age. Since this tip focuses on tweens and teens, however, here are some ideas geared toward their age group. Of course, youth are more likely to become more engaged if they come up with their own ways to put kindness into action. But here are a few ideas to help them get started.

  • Go through your closet and donate some clothing items.
  • Send a positive text to someone.
  • Rake a neighbor’s leaves or shovel someone’s sidewalk or drive (depending on where you live).
  • Give someone a compliment.
  • Give your mom, dad or other caregiver a random hug.
  • Thank a veteran.
  • Smile more often at others.
  • Say hello to someone new.
  • Offer to babysit for free one evening.
  • Send someone a hand-written thank you note.
  • Hold the door for someone.
  • Do a chore around the house without being asked.
  • Forgive someone.
  • Bake cookies for a neighbor (or the Superintendent of Schools)
  • Ask about someone’s day.
  • Call your grandparents.
  • Put a happy face sticky note on someone’s locker.
  • Volunteer at any kind of shelter.
  • Smile and say “good morning” to an adult in your school building.
  • Invite someone sitting alone to sit with you at lunch.

These are so many simple ways to be kind. Challenge your child to rattle off or jot down some ideas of their own. Of course, parents walking the walk is the greatest way to nurture and teach children the importance of doing good for others. 

Also, keep in mind that you play an important role if you or your child happen to be on the receiving end of a good deed. Kindness goes full circle when someone accepts that offer of help, smiles back or acknowledges another’s kind gesture. 

Let World Kindness Day be the kickoff to purposeful acts of kindness among your family that in turn, may grow and spread worldwide.”

Today and everyday, Be Kind to Kids!

  • Trent Bowers, Superintendent

 

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Worthington High School Parents Say “Yes”

WKActThere are two groups of parents in Worthington schools that are not administrators, teachers, or staff but support our students as if they were. They are the Activity Clubs of Thomas Worthington High School and Worthington Kilbourne High School. While not every parent knows about these organizations, it’s likely that their work will touch every student in our high schools in some way before they graduate. 

Each Club consists of parents of high school students. The original Activity Club was founded in 1937 with a charter to “stimulate correct thinking about social problems, strengthen personalities, overcome shyness, and eliminate class distinctions.” As the years have passed, the single group became two when Kilbourne opened, and their mission has evolved as well. Their purpose is simple: to serve the needs of their school community. Much of the success of the Clubs can be attributed to an organizational attitude that a member always strives to say “yes” when asked to do a job to help our students. And these groups have done just that. 

Guided by school counselors, administrators, and teachers, the Activity Clubs operate programs that assist students in need, provide opportunities for personal growth through service and leadership, and organize events to make students’ high school years safe, fun, and memorable. Some of these programs include: 

  • Cards for Kids/Wolves for Cubs – mentorship programs pairing high school students with elementary students needing positive role models
  • Baccalaureate Program – Senior celebration held prior to graduation
  • Prom After Hours – Fun, safe activity for students to attend after prom
  • Scholarships – Service-based scholarships for seniors
  • Student Assistance – Meals, hygiene products, and assistance for students in need
  • Insight – Speakers and activities designed to educate students on relevant topics and prepare graduating students for next steps

To fund these activities, each Club organizes an annual fundraiser. After attending a few of these, I can attest these are pretty fun events!  As a community, I hope we will support these great parents as they strive to enrich our students’ high school experiences. Please consider supporting our Activity Clubs so they can continue to say “yes” when called upon by our school community. 

WKHS Activity Club Fall Fundraiser

Heavy hors d’oeuvres, grand desserts, silent & live auction

Worthington Hills Country Club

November 16, 2019, 6:30pm

wkhsactivityclub@gmail.com for tickets

TWHS Activity Club Fundraiser

The Jessing Center

March 6, 2020, 7:00 p.m.

Jpischel@columbus.rr.com for more information

-Trent Bowers, Superintendent

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“Who’s got it better than us?”

Tree (1)First a disclaimer:  I’m a life-long Buckeye fan.  My dad has a degree from Ohio State, I have a degree from Ohio State, my wife has a degree from Ohio State.  Growing up in Worthington I may have learned the Ohio State fight song before the National Anthem. We’re Buckeyes.  Now with that said….

 “Who’s got it better than us?”  Current Michigan football coach, Jim Harbaugh, often reminds his team that they’re really lucky in life.  Jim had heard that phrase throughout his childhood from his parents.  Certainly Michigan would like to win more football games.  I’m sure they would like an easier class schedule. I’m sure that sometimes things are hard, fans make things personal, and egregious things happen.  But ultimately, things are really good if you’re a Division 1 football player in the Big Ten playing at Michigan and thus, “Who’s got it better than us?”

As the leaves change in Worthington and the crisp fall weather arrives, that phrase has echoed in my thoughts.  “Who’s got it better than us?” No-body! We’re blessed in Worthington Schools. We have a supportive community, teachers that are dedicated, talented and committed to making a positive difference in the lives of kids.  It’s easy to look around and believe that someone else has it better than we do. Certainly things can be difficult in public education day-to-day, but Worthington Schools has 1,300 staff members striving to empower a community of learners who will change the world.  We’ve got 10,700 amazing students and a community of 62,000 residents who volunteer and support our district. We’re really lucky in Worthington!

 Who’s got it better than us?  No-body!

-Trent Bowers, Superintendent

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