Make Your Bed

51D8tEOmerLMy mom used to tell me to “keep it simple, silly…”  Sometimes in life it’s that which is most simple that is really the most profound.   Upon the recommendation of a friend I recently picked up the book “Make Your Bed, Little Things That Can Change Your Life….And Maybe The World” by Admiral William H. McRaven.

Admiral McRaven (U.S. Navy Retired) was the commencement speaker at his alma mater, the University of Texas, in 2014.  His address was so well received (4.7 million YouTube views) that his remarks were expanded upon in this book.  It’s a simple book of 125 pages that you can read in around an hour.  But, while simple, it’s also powerful.

Admiral McRaven sums up his advice by saying, “Remember….start each day with a task completed (make your bed).  Find someone to help you through life.  Respect everyone.  Know that life is not fair and that you will fail often.  But, if you take some risks, step up when times are toughest, face down the bullies, lift up the downtrodden and never, ever give up – if you do these things, then you can change your life for the better….and maybe the world!

In Worthington Schools our mission is to empower a community of learners who will change the world.  If we as a community can impart the wisdom that Admiral McRaven shares with our children we’re certainly moving in the right direction.

  • Trent Bowers, Superintendent

p.s.  There is a new emphasis on making our beds first thing in the morning in the Bowers house.  My kids love when I read new books….

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Should we ban homework?

homeworkYou may have recently read that Heidi Maier, the new superintendent of the 42,000-student Marion County public school district in Florida has decided to ban homework for all elementary students.  Her thinking is solid in that an often-cited meta-analysis of research on the subject, published in 2006, found that homework in elementary school does not contribute to academic achievement and has only a modest effect on older students in terms of improving academic performance.

Instead of spending their time on homework the superintendent wants elementary students reading every night.  Research is clear on the benefits of daily reading, with students picking their own books, reading aloud and listening to a fluent adult reader.

In Worthington we’re not planning to ban homework for our students.  (Although as a parent of three that would make my home life much easier…)  Instead we trust our teachers to make the best decision for each of their students and to assign homework when they believe it will be most beneficial for student growth.

Homework is difficult.  I remember a night when I was a young teacher and received a phone call from a parent who was frustrated that I was assigning too much homework and it was taking too much time each evening.  That very same night I received a phone call from another parent who asked that I assign more homework because she felt her daughter was not doing enough at home.  Thus, what one child needs may be too much for another child.

When students are assigned homework it should be to practice the skills learned in a classroom or to prep for what is going to be learned the next day.  At the elementary level homework should certainly include nightly reading for all of our students.

Sorry, we’re not planning to ban homework in Worthington.

-Trent Bowers, Superintendent

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I’ve got some good news and some bad news…

g&BSo as I often tell my own children…”I’ve got some good news and I’ve got some bad news.”  Let’s begin with the bad news.  Our last day of school in Worthington was back on May 24th.  Thus, as of this morning July 10th, our summer is more than half over.

Now for the good news…summer is more than half over and our kids will be back in school on August 16th!  Boom!  We can’t wait to begin again in Worthington Schools!

June was a busy month throughout the district.  Learning continued.  We hosted several hundred students at our Worthington Enrichment Summer Learning Camps.  We hosted another 300 students at our K-3 summer reading camp and another 300+ students in our traditional summer school programs.  Worthington students traveled to France, Italy, Spain, Germany at we currently have Worthington Field Studies students out West after they just completed hiking out of the Grand Canyon.  Over 1,000 students went to school in Worthington (or via Worthington) at various points throughout the month of June.  

In addition we’re working to get our schools ready for next school year.  Several of our schools are getting new roofs which will keep students and staff dry throughout the school year.  The running tracks at Thomas Worthington, Worthington Kilbourne and McCord are all being resurfaced.  The main gymnasium floor at Thomas Worthington has a whole new look and the auxiliary gym at Worthington Kilbourne is receiving a new floor.

In order to have the necessary elementary classroom space to keep up with our increasing student enrollment modular classrooms are being installed at Colonial Hills Elementary and Worthington Hills Elementary.  Thus far, that work is on track.

We’re transitioning to a new 6th-12th grade math textbook and our Worthington math teachers are all receiving 4 days of intensive training on the new materials.  A number of our teachers attended that training in June.  Our first day of new teacher orientation for next school year is actually today!

It’s always a relief for students and teachers to hit summer break after the crushing schedule that is the month of May.  But at this point we’re passed the halfway point of summer and we’re actively readying for another great school year.  That’s good news!

-Trent Bowers, Superintendent

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Total Bummer

disappointed childThe State of Ohio just completed their biennial budget process and Governor Kasich has signed the new two-year budget into law.  This budget is a total bummer for Worthington!

In 2017 the State of Ohio provided $25,999,542 in funding to Worthington Schools.  Under this adopted budget Worthington will lose 1.5 million dollars in year one and 1.9 million dollars in year two.  ($24,517,422 FY18, $24,089,584 FY19).  Ugh!

While most Franklin County School districts will receive slight increases in funding under this adopted budget, Worthington is one of only two school districts who will see an actual loss of resources. (Grandview Heights is the other one.)

The loss of revenue is not unexpected as it is the result of the continued phase-out of the tangible personal property tax which amounted to 11% of Worthington’s total budget back in 2005.  

What makes the loss of revenue a total bummer is that as a community Worthington is thriving.  Houses are selling and young families are moving in.  That is causing significant enrollment growth and within Worthington Schools, we are seeing a dramatic increase in our student enrollment – 877 more students since 2012 and an additional 800 projected in the next 5 years. Worthington is currently in the top ten in student enrollment growth in the entire state of Ohio.

State funding for public education has been a consistent challenge.  A local school levy is the only surefire way to know that your tax dollars are going to your school district. Statewide taxes are always going to be redistributed away from suburban school districts like Worthington.  With that in mind, Worthington Schools will continue to run a lean operation that analyzes every dollar that is spent.  We’ll make sure money is prioritized to the classroom and we’ll continue to ask only for reasonable levy requests at reasonable intervals.

  • Trent Bowers, Superintendent
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