Welcome to 2020! It’s a new decade full of promise and Worthington Schools is working tirelessly towards our mission to empower a community of learners who will change the world.
Before the holidays I had the opportunity to sit down with the ThisWeek Newspaper to discuss the new year and what we are looking forward to in Worthington Schools. As a large organization, there are many things happening and I’m sure I missed something important but here’s a roadmap on what I shared that you should expect:
We’re progressing on schedule with Phase One of the Master Facilities Plan. Construction of our new middle schools at Perry and Worthingway has begun. We expect construction at Kilbourne and McCord to begin late this spring. By building new middle schools we begin to deal with our aging school buildings and provide capacity for an additional 800 seats throughout the school district. This capacity is critical as enrollment projections completed this fall show that we can expect growth to continue in Worthington Schools for the next decade.
Over the past 12 months, a team of students, teachers and administrators has been meeting to build a new 6-8th grade middle school master schedule. I expect that the schedule will be presented to the Worthington Board of Education at the end of February.
In addition, one of the goals of the Master Facilities Plan was to balance our high school enrollment. A team of community members met last year and determined that moving Slate Hill’s attendance area from TWHS to WKHS would achieve the balance. Likewise, that same team reconvened this fall to create new middle school feeder patterns for 2021 when we re-open Perry Middle School.
All-in-all we’re on track for the opening of 6-8th grade middle schools in the fall of 2021. This April we plan to host meetings at each elementary school to discuss the middle school schedule, transportation to middle school, school traditions that will stay in 5th grade or move to 6th grade in middle school, etc… and to answer any questions. These meetings will take place 15 months before the actual change occurs so that we have time to make shifts based on the feedback we are provided.
In addition, we expect to begin negotiations in January/February for the potential purchase of 13.7 acres of the former Harding Hospital property for a potential new school site.
Likewise, we’re beginning site planning for new academic wings at Thomas Worthington High School that could be proposed to the community in Phase Two of the Master Facilities Plan. These plans are important now so that we can help determine future plans for the Worthington Pools, a new TWHS field house, and a baseball hitting facility in which funds were donated to construct. We expect to release these plans for discussion this March.
On the academic side, 2020 brings a new partnership for high school students with Worthington Industries. This program is an apprenticeship program that provides high school credit and leads to full-time employment with one of our region’s best employers. Thirteen Worthington students will begin in January and we expect that the program will steadily grow as more families understand the unique opportunity.
We’re continuing to focus on our instruction for young readers. We’ve strengthened our screening process for Dyslexia identification and we’re implementing systematic phonics instruction in all K-2 classrooms. We’ve modified our reading intervention to include more systematic phonics and we’re working to train more teachers in both the Wilson Reading and Orton Gillingham methods.
As a school district, we’re striving to create a culture of empathy and support that is inclusive of all. Led by our Board of Education, changes have been made in all Board of Education policies to be more inclusive. In all areas where the protected classes included “sex,” our policy will now read: “The Board of Education does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression, disability, age, religion, military status, ancestry, genetic information (collectively, “Protected Classes”), or any other legally protected category, in its programs and activities, including employment opportunities.”
Finally, in 2020 we welcome Amy Lloyd to the Worthington Board of Education. Amy is a Worthington graduate, a Worthington parent, and a community leader who we expect will help provide positive leadership in our community.
2020 is going to be an amazing year in Worthington Schools! Please plan to join us for our State of the Schools presentation at 7:00 p.m. on February 26th at Worthington Kilbourne High School. At the presentation, you will learn more about our academic programs, our financial health, and our master facilities planning. Leaders from our administration and our Board of Education will be in attendance to answer any questions. Most importantly, you’ll see our talented students perform. Please add this date to your calendar!
- Trent Bowers, Superintendent
P.S. In 2020 I’m going to lose 20lbs. So if you see me around please don’t offer me Jelly Belly’s, Sassafras Bakery Cinnamon Donut Muffins, Peace Love and Donuts, Boston Cream Donuts from Tim Hortons, Long John Donuts from Der Dutchman, Duck Donuts, anything from Emilie Greenwald’s kitchen, Massey’s Pizza, Pizza House Pizza, Villa Nova’s Pizza, Dewey’s Pizza, JT’s Pizza, Donatos Pizza, Pies and Pints Pizza, Half Pint Pretzels, Graeter’s Ice Cream, Jenni’s Ice Cream, Dairy Queen Blizzards, UDF Butter Pecan Ice Cream, or anything from the company Hostess. Those will not be on my 2020 diet. (For a while anyway…)