Congratulations Olivia!

OliviaIf you were able to attend our State of the Schools presentation in February (you can watch it here) you heard Worthington Academy Senior Olivia LoGuidice share her story.  Olivia talked about her struggles as a Freshman and Sophomore at Thomas Worthington and how the opportunity to learn in a different way at Worthington Academy has changed the direction of her future goals.  Her story was inspiring.

Last week Olivia’s story got even better.  On Wednesday Olivia completed her coursework and graduated from Worthington Schools.  I’m hopeful that Olivia will choose to attend our official graduation ceremony on May 21st because I would love to be able to shake her hand and congratulate her officially.  Late Wednesday afternoon Olivia sent me this simple tweet: “@TBowers3 @wcsdistrict it’s been such an honor to be a first gen. Academy student. So grateful for this district and the Academy family”  She brought tears to this old man’s eyes.

In Worthington, we work hard to help every student find their place of connection.  I can’t say that we’re always successful but when we are, and when a program that has been developed and supported by our school board, works to help a young lady change the direction of her future it’s totally awesome!

As we’ve been growing as a school district (877 students since 2012 and another 800-1,000 projected in the next five years) we are engaging in a master facilities planning process in order to make certain we have the space needed to serve all of our students and have a plan to address aging facilities.  In almost every one of these conversations, someone says to me “just move Linworth, Phoenix, Worthington Academy or Rockbridge out.  We shouldn’t support programs that are specialized when we have space needs.”  I understand this thinking and it is rational thought.  Unfortunately, I also think it’s potentially dangerous.

Students today learn differently than students did in previous generations.  As a school district, we believe that whenever possible we should be providing educational options for our students that will engage their unique needs and help put them on the path to a prosperous future.  Our choice-based programs help us accomplish those goals and as we plan for our shared future I think it’s very important for us as a community to think long and hard about these programs and if at all possible protect them to serve future generations of students.

Olivia’s story tells you why that is so very important.  Congratulations Olivia!  Welcome to our Worthington Schools Alumni Family!

  • Trent Bowers, Superintendent
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Sometimes it feels like we’re playing “Whac-A-Mole”

WHACK-A-MOLE-2Most people in Worthington know that I grew up attending Worthington Schools.  My family moved to 790 Ashler Court in 1983 and as I get ready to turn 44 years old, I’m able to look back and reflect on how lucky I and those I grew up with were to have the opportunities we did in this school system.  Worthington has always been a community that placed a very high value on the education of kids.  It’s a community that pioneered alternative education in Ohio and it’s a community that has worked to protect a wide breadth of curricular and co-curricular options.  

Last week I was reminded that Worthington is still a community that places education at the forefront.  We held community meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday evening and I’d estimate that 600 to 700 people chose to brave single digit wind chills to help shape the future of our school district.  Each night, as community members continued to stream into our high schools, I was struck by the realization that our community really cares about providing a first rate education for our children and that people want to set Worthington up for success now and into the future.

As we’ve worked on a long term plan for our land-locked school district that will address our aging facilities and our growing enrollment I’ve likened it a bit to the old game “Whac-a-Mole.” It’s a really complicated challenge.  When we think we’ve created a solution in one area, it seems like that solution often creates a problem in a different area of the district.  Thus, “Whac-a-Mole.”  

In order to create a long-term plan, we need many eyes and many different voices.  There is no simple solution in Worthington.  There are positives and negatives for each option.  I don’t believe that any of the four current options will be selected as a stand-alone option.  It’s my belief that likely some positives will be pulled from multiple plans to create a final plan.

Our community task force is made up of almost 50 different members who were each chosen to represent a different group in our community.  That team needs feedback from as many members of our community as possible before making recommendations to our Board of Education in late May or early June.  The 600-700 people who showed up face-to-face provided their feedback.  We’re hoping that the broader group will do the same.  Please review the options and complete the survey at http://www.worthington.k12.oh.us/Domain/989.  In addition, please ask those in your circle of influence to do the same.

Worthington has always been a community that places a high value on education.  We appreciate your continued investment in making plans for our shared future.

  • Trent Bowers, Superintendent
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Every Saturday in Worthington

Processed with MOLDIVIn Worthington one of our goals is for our students to be connected to something positive outside of the classroom.  In order to do that there are an amazing array of different opportunities that Worthington students participate in.  Every Saturday in Worthington is jam packed.  This one was no different….

This week the regional Destination Imagination competition was held in Pickerington.  The mission of Destination Imagination is to teach students the creative process and empower them with the skills needed to succeed in an ever changing world.  As this mission aligns closely with the mission of Worthington Schools, we’ve placed a high value on helping our students participate in this program.  This year Worthington sent the most teams in the region and we had 22 teams with over 130 students competing. Team Scheme Busters was made up of seven students from seven different countries representing Worthington Schools.  We had a student from Japan, Palestine, Poland, Georgia, Ukraine, Turkey and the United States.  How cool is that!

Both Thomas Worthington and Worthington Kilbourne competed on Saturday in the regional Science Olympiad competition.  In Science Olympiad our students work on subjects such as: Invasive Species, Hovercraft, Wind Power, Remote Sensing, Forensics, Hydrology, Robot Arm and in many other categories.  The goal is to increase student interest in science, create a technologically literate workforce and provide recognition for outstanding achievement by both students and teachers.  Plus, it’s just fun to work hard with your peers on a team!  Worthington Kilbourne’s team qualified for the State competition on April 1st.  They’re led by sophomore Robbie Goldsmith who has created a Robotic Arm that is truly remarkable.  

In addition to these academic competitions, the TWHS Indoor Track team had athletes competing in New York City at the New Balance National Indoor Track Meet.  The TWHS Boys 4×800 and the Girls 4×800 both competed.  In addition we had athletes compete in the Boys 200, Boys 3200 and Girls 800.  I watched the competition at home via live streaming and our athletes competed against the best runners in the country and more than held their own.  The Boys 4×800 team finished 8th in the nation after last week winning the Indoor State Championship.  Sophomore, Gia Napoleon, finished 19th in the 800 after also winning the Ohio Indoor State Championship last week.  Amazing!

Finally, this weekend was Pancake Day.  For 15 years now both Thomas Worthington and Worthington Kilbourne have come together on a Saturday in March for a fun community event.  There’s food, SuperGames, entertainment and most importantly a chance to spend time together as one community.

Just another Saturday in Worthington!

-Trent Bowers, Superintendent

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