naturalizationEveryone’s ancestors come to Worthington from somewhere else! Our ancestors may have moved here from Asia, Africa, Europe, South America or from somewhere else in North America. You may have moved with your family from another country, from one state to another, from the country to the city, or from a city to a suburb.  When people choose to leave their home and come to The United States they do it for many different reasons.  Some leave for opportunity, some for adventure and some to escape oppressive regimes that threaten their rights or religions. Sadly some immigrants are those who are forcibly removed from their homelands.

Last week Worthington Schools was able to partner with The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services to host a Naturalization Ceremony at Worthington Kilbourne High School.  Naturalization is the process by which U.S. citizenship is granted to a foreign citizen or national after he or she fulfills the requirements established by Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).  

124 new citizens participated in the ceremony and they came to The United States from 39 different countries.  Our new citizens ranged in age from 19 to 76 years old.

By hosting the ceremony at Worthington Kilbourne our senior students were able to attend and witness the event.  Each participant in the ceremony stood-up and shared their name, their country of origin and most stated how happy they were to have the opportunity to become a citizen of The United States.  Watching the joy and excitement on the faces of the participants was inspiring.  

In a season where many of us are tired from a long and contentious election.  It’s heartwarming to note that our country is made up of people who all came from somewhere else.  That fact continues today and regardless of the challenges we face as a nation, The United States is still a place that promises opportunity for a better life.  Our students at Worthington Kilbourne were able to witness this staple of our democratic process first-hand and I believe every one of them left with a better understanding of a foundational principle of our country, naturalization.

-Trent Bowers, Superintendent


Our students come to school from many different situations…

noterbTwo things happened last week that could be perceived as polar opposites and yet illustrate to me the diversity of Worthington Schools.  The first happened in my own house:

Early last week my fourth grade daughter was making her lunch in the kitchen before school.  I was in the kitchen making my morning oatmeal and I heard her say, “I’m going to write myself a note.”  Her words didn’t register to me at the time and I went about my day.  Later that day I received a text from the school principal who found it hilarious that my daughter wrote herself a note and put it in her lunch box.  The note said, “Dear Riley, I love you, remember to be kind. – Riley”

When our kids were younger my wife would often write them a note and put it in their lunch.  We’re now trying to help our children be more independent and one of the ways is by allowing them to make their own lunch.  Thus, no more notes.  When my daughter got home from school I casually asked her about the note she wrote.  She said very matter-of-factly, “Dad, everyone’s parents write them notes in their lunch.” Everyone does?  Really?  After I recovered from the idea that we’re the slacker parents in the school, I thought about how lucky some of the kids are that attend our schools.  They obviously have very engaged parents.

On Friday of last week I was able to participate in a poverty simulation with around 50 other Worthington administrators, support staff, and community partners.  While our students and teachers were off school we had a full day of professional development for our district support staff.  SON Ministries from Hilliard ran the poverty simulation which was a unique, enlightening experience that was designed to help individuals begin to understand what life is like with a shortage of money and an abundance of stress.  It’s designed to move people to think about the harsh realities of poverty and to talk about how communities can address the problem collectively.

Poverty is moving to the suburbs and Worthington is not immune to this phenomenon.  29% of Worthington students qualify for free or reduced price lunches.  Certainly not all of those families live in actual poverty, but we estimate that 10% of Worthington students, almost 1,000 kids, live in poverty.  Economically disadvantaged students have a very difficult time with succeeding in school and the lives of our poor students are often very different from those of their more affluent peers.

In Worthington Schools we have students whose parents put notes in their lunch each day (we have one student whose parents don’t, but she writes her own notes) and we have students who struggle everyday to focus while at school because their basic needs are not being met consistently.  In a small way I was able to see both just last week.  As a school district it’s our job to help every one of these students learn and grow no matter what their situation.  We’re working hard to make that happen.

  • Trent Bowers, Superintendent

See Something, Say Something

see_something_say_somethingIf you’ve been following the local news you’ve undoubtedly heard the story of a Hilliard Davidson High School student who is being held at the Franklin County Juvenile Detention Center after he was arrested in connection with a plot to carry out a mass shooting.  The young man has been charged with conspiracy to commit murder.

I don’t know any more about the specifics of this case than what has been reported.  But I read that the alleged plan to carry out a school shooting was reported by two high school girls who took their concerns to a school resource officer.  In my book those two high school girls are real heroes.

It’s not easy in high school to see something and then say something, but it’s really the only way to make sure we are keeping one another safe.  All across the United States we have been dealing with a rash of public incidents of violence.  Sadly school shootings have become a part of our modern lives.  Rarely does something happen in a high school setting that was a total secret.  Usually, as in the case above, the potential perpetrator tells someone ahead of time about their plans.  Unfortunately, sometimes those warnings are dismissed as likely untrue.

For all of us working with students it’s critical that we teach our children that if they see or hear something they need to tell someone.  As parents if our children or the friends of our children tell us of events we need to act.  At a school level we’re working in Worthington to make certain that every child has a trusted adult that they know cares about them and believes in them.  If our students hear of potential acts of violence they need to tell that trusted adult, an administrator in the school or even the local police.  If students or families are uncomfortable with saying something they can always anonymously call our safe schools hotline at 1 (866) 871-0926.  

Safety is everyone’s responsibility.  If you see something or hear something, say something.  Please make sure your children know to do the same.  I’m thankful that two young ladies in Hilliard had the courage to do just that.

  • Trent Bowers, Superintendent

I’d like you to vote for….

voteEarly voting in Ohio opens today.  Nationally it’s been a long election season with polarizing candidates.  While the Presidential election has garnered the lion’s share of the public debate there are important statewide and local issues that you will be asked to vote for.  Voting is complex as there are many important issues that will be influenced by who wins public office.  For each of us we have some personally held issues that weigh more heavily than other issues do.

As Superintendent of Schools I have thoughts on who I want you to vote for.  I’d like you to vote for _________ _________.  Just kidding.  I’m certainly not going to promote one candidate over another.  But when you do go to the ballot box I’d like you to consider public schools as an important issue.  Worthington Schools is a public school district.  We work with 10,000 unique students and serve a school district community of 25,000 households and 60,000 residents.

Everyone—not just parents—has a stake in the success of public schools. When schools are strong and students succeed, everyone benefits.

  • Strong public schools are good business—they attract employers, strengthen the local economy, and enhance property values.
  • Strong public schools ensure our students will be prepared to keep our nation competitive in a global economy.
  • Strong public schools keep the American Dream alive with an opportunity for every child to receive a world-class education.
  • Strong public schools keep the quality of life in a community high by producing citizens who pay taxes and obey the law.
  • Strong public schools teach students from all backgrounds how to live and participate in our democracy.
  • Strong public schools are the only schools that must meet the needs of all students. We do not turn children or families away. Public schools serve children with physical, emotional, and mental disabilities, those who are extremely gifted and those who are learning-challenged, right along with children without special needs.
  • Strong public schools foster interactions and understanding among people of different ethnic, religious, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
  • Children are our nation’s future. Their development affects all of us. Good education is not cheap, but ignorance costs far more.
  • Public education is a worthy investment for public funds. Our investment now will pay dividends into the future.

As you evaluate candidates for office at the Federal, State and Local level please evaluate a candidate’s education policy platform.  Public education is vital for the future of our communities.  I’d like you to vote for candidates who support public education.

  • Trent Bowers, Superintendent

Developing personal initiative and entrepreneurship

aviary2There are many lists each year that discuss the best jobs for the future.  In every scenario it is clear that the students in our schools today will graduate into a world of work that is very different than the one I graduated into 25 years ago.  Our students will change careers often and without question they will need to show personal initiative and entrepreneurship.

In our blog post titled The Seven Survival Skills we looked at the information In Tony Wagner’s book The Global Achievement Gap where he argues that there are seven skills that business leaders see as necessary for success:

  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
  • Collaboration across Networks and Leading by Influence
  • Agility and Adaptability
  • Initiative and Entrepreneurship
  • Effective Oral and Written Communication
  • Accessing and Analyzing Information
  • Curiosity and Imagination

In Worthington Schools we’re actively working to help our students develop personal initiative and entrepreneurship.  One such way this happens is through our Entrepreneurial Business Academy (EBA) at Thomas Worthington High School.  This academy is a rigorous four-year sequence of courses designed to prepare students for post-secondary business programs in college and/or entry into the workforce.

Students involved in this entrepreneurship academy will be better prepared to:

  1. Major in a Business Program in college
  2. Start their own business
  3. Become productive employees in the business world
  4. Better understand business structures and operations
  5. Understand finances – both personally and within a business

The Entrepreneurship Business Academy is one tool that can help us reach out to students who would benefit from an educational program that differs from traditional learning models or approaches. Students of all kinds, from the academically gifted to the academically challenged, can be motivated to dream big dreams and work to make them happen. The Entrepreneurship Business Academy provides activities that build relationships, provide relevance for learning, and encourage rigor in the effort to develop academic skills to be competitive in the 21st century job market.

Throughout the program our students participate in “real life” learning opportunities.  At the end of the Accounting Course, students develop a presentation with appropriate financials to give to local investors to influence them to invest in their company/product. This is similar to the television show “Shark Tank.”  Our students finish their 4-year commitment to the program by completing internships during the final semester of their senior year. Students spend between 10 – 20 hours each week interning at a business of their specific interest. Students learn about many different types of industries, such as real estate, small retail businesses, finance and  non-profit organizations to name a few.

As a district we’re working to prepare our students for future success.  Programs like EBA help move us in that direction.

-Trent Bowers, Superintendent