In the cold, bleak, Ohio winter that has come upon us quickly, it is easy to get lost in the mundaneness of it all. You wake up in the dark, head home from work in the dark, and the days seem to be the same. These are the times we wish for a different environment. One we can feel good in. One we can be rejuvenated by. We wish for a place we could go to break the monotony and connect with ourselves again.
Last Monday night, the Worthington School Board granted that wish for some of our students when they gave the green light for the district to create the Worthington Academy Aspire Program. Like its predecessors in alternative style education, Linworth and Phoenix Middle School, the Academy is designed to appeal to students who benefit from a non-traditional classroom setting. The Aspire program will concentrate on three tiers of students who will be able to craft their pathway to success: (1) those who are under credited and are in danger of dropping out or not graduating. (2) Students who have dropped out and/or are returning from an alternative educational setting, such as a charter or e-school, and (3) students who need various options in their pathway to graduation.
What sets The Aspire Program apart is its ability to meet appropriate educational, developmental and social needs for our students who are not finding success in one of the districts existing high schools. These are students that may be in need of credit recovery opportunities, but they may also be students who experience high levels of anxiety in a traditional school environment.
We, as a district, believe that we have the ability to change students’ lives, and we should not ever waste an opportunity to do so. Data collected in our district tells us a story about kids who need someone to help change their lives. It is with this intention that we are ensuring a connection is made with our almost 600 high school students that are currently failing at least one of their core classes. Initiatives have been taken to reach out to the 80+ students who left our district for alternative choices in the past year and reconnect with those families as well. The creation of Worthington Academy will also support the growing number of students who are seeking comfort and guidance for their high levels of social and school-related anxiety.
Large collections of people have invested a great deal of time and effort to make the Worthington Academy a reality. We began with a realization that we had a group of students who needed something they were not receiving, a group who needed to find themselves in a place of rejuvenation and self-belief. We are incredibly appreciative of the Board of Education’s ability to see the need for the Academy and to fully support the initiative. It has become obvious, yet again, that there is a high value placed on school choice and options by our board members and within our school community. The students will see the immediate benefits of this program, but in the end, it is our entire community that prospers from the creation of the Worthington Academy. Nelson Mandela once said, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” While we aren’t quite done, it no longer seems impossible, thanks to the continued support of so many people, and most importantly, the constant belief in our children.
High school students who are interested in attending the Academy Aspire program for 2015-2016 will meet with their school counselor through the normal scheduling process this winter to secure their seat.
– Jeff Maddox – Director of Innovation and School Support
The original Worthington Academy opened in Worthington in 1808. Our newest version is a nod to this tradition of education. To read more about the history of the Worthington Academy name check out the Worthington Historical Society website: http://goo.gl/EcPq8m
Check out this video of what the new Worthington Academy will look like from a facility standpoint when complete here.