The ABC’s

ABCThe Jackson 5 famously sang “A B C…It’s easy as, 1 2 3…As simple as, do re mi…A B C, 1 2 3.”  In Worthington we’re also discussing our ABC’s.  For us it’s the ABC’s of our facilities planning process.

The “A” stands for Aging facilities. In Worthington we have many schools that were built in the 1950’s and 1960’s.  Many of their systems are nearing the end of their useful life.  Over the past 10 years we have worked to update and replace those systems but we decided in 2015 that we needed to assess the overall condition of all of our schools.  We partnered with the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission to assess our buildings.  They determined that several of our schools were nearing the end of their useful life and that with the expected upkeep costs Worthington may be better off to build new schools.

The “B” stands for Balancing high school enrollment.  Currently, Thomas Worthington High School has 1,740 students and Worthington Kilbourne High School has 1,250 students.  As part of the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission’s work we completed a new ten year enrollment study.  That study indicated that over the next several years both high schools will grow in enrollment but that the enrollment growth at Thomas Worthington will exceed the capacity of the school.  Thus, we will need to either add on to Thomas Worthington to increase capacity or move some student attendance areas from Thomas Worthington to Worthington Kilbourne.  

The “C” stands for Capacity for all students.  This year Worthington Schools opened with 10,201 students.  That is an increase in around 1,000 students in the past five years.  In addition, because the largest increases are in Kindergarten through 5th grade, we expect that the district will grow another 800 students over the next five years as our larger classes move up through the system.  We have exceeded our current elementary capacity and to combat this we have relocated Evening Street’s 6th grade to Kilbourne Middle School and added classroom trailers at Worthington Hills and Colonial Hills Elementary Schools.  

Over the past 12 months a community task force has been working to create a long-term plan that will address the ABC’s for Worthington.  “C” capacity has become our most urgent need but we’re hopeful that a solution can been created that has a positive impact on each of the ABC’s.  This fall we expect that the task force will be ready to make a recommendation to the Board of Education.  In the meantime, please take a few minutes and review our facilities planning webpage https://www.worthington.k12.oh.us/domain/989

-Trent Bowers, Superintendent

In the video below Assistant Superintendent Randy Banks does an excellent job of explaining the ABC’s in Worthington

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Pauline

PaulineOn Monday I was able to attend the memorial service for retired Worthington Teacher Pauline Siegel.  Pauline died tragically last week in a grassland fire while vacationing in Montana.  

In 1994 Pauline was diagnosed with Transverse Myelitis, a rare neurological disorder caused by inflammation of the spinal cord, that hampered her mobility below the waist.  Teaching is difficult work for everyone.  In order to teach Pauline needed both a wheelchair and a service dog but daily she persevered and in doing so she was an inspiration to both students and staff members alike.

At her memorial students Rabbi Kellner captured it very well when he said….”she gave everything to her students.  She taught for 25 years at Worthington Estates Elementary School.  She taught Kindergarten, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grades.  She taught 50 kindergartners morning and afternoon in a wheelchair.  She loved teaching, even though she suffered great pain every day of her life.  She was in the classroom from 7:30 AM until 6:00 PM.  The energy it took her to get ready for work would exhaust her for the entire day, but she found the strength to power on and teach those students. Most people who suffered the pain Pauline suffered go on disability, but not Pauline, the drive, the courage and the desire to make a difference in people’s lives powered her forward.  It took her a lot of energy to get her job done, especially in recent years.  But she always had that smile for others.  In her classroom, she defended the underdog, bullying had no home there and if a student had a disability, she was that student’s biggest advocate.  When I connected with Rob Messenheimer, the principal of Worthington Estates, he shared the following, “Pauline was a wonderful person to be around. She cared deeply about her students and enjoyed being in her classroom. In talking with those that taught with her for many years as well as my own memories, the aspect of Pauline as a teacher and person that stuck out the most was her kindness. She was quick to offer a smile and wanted the best for her students.”

In overcoming her disability Pauline was an inspiration to all she touched.  She touched many lives throughout her career in Worthington and she will be dearly missed.

-Trent Bowers, Superintendent

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College Preparatory Mathematics

CPMThis Fall as school begins many of our secondary students will experience a new math textbook.  As part of our curriculum resource timeline, a team of Grades 6-12 teachers met throughout the 2016-17 year to review resources for a math resource adoption.  They reviewed many math resources based on their alignment to the Ohio’s State Standards, our district’s area of focus, and best practices in how students learn math.  As a result, the committee selected College Preparatory Mathematics (CPM) for grades 6 through Integrated Math III.

In what we know about good math instruction, students learn mathematics best when they have a better conceptual understanding of formulas and math processes, rather than memorizing facts and filling out worksheets.  With CPM, students will engage in exploring conceptual understanding through modeling and reasoning, build procedural knowledge and fluency, as well as apply mathematics to real world experiences.

CPM’s vision is a world where mathematics is viewed as intriguing and useful, and is appreciated by all; where powerful mathematical thinking is an essential, universal, and desirable trait; and where people are empowered by mathematical problem-solving and reasoning to solve the world’s problems.

In order to allow students to better understand math concepts instead of simply performing steps, classroom instruction will look differently. Classroom instruction will be designed to promote mathematical discourse and develop a conceptual understanding of math formulas and processes. In addition, students will write more to explain their thinking.

Teachers attended a four-day training to understand how to teach in this new approach.  4 additional professional development days will be provided throughout the school year. Based on this new curriculum resource, we expect students will be engaging in problem-based lessons structured around a core idea.  Guided by a knowledgeable teacher, students will work in study teams to clarify their thinking and deepen their understanding of math properties, rules, and concepts. Please note that students will practice with concepts and procedures over time; that is, mastery comes over time. Because learning is a process, students will have the opportunity to learn from mistakes and grow in a safe environment.

Our staff is excited to continue providing high quality learning opportunities for our students to learn and be prepare for life beyond high school.  For additional information about this new resource, please talk with your child’s teacher or visit the CPM Parent Support Page.

  • Tom Kaczmarek, Worthington Schools Mathematics Curriculum Leader
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We plan to view the solar eclipse together in Worthington

Solar EclipseSometimes when you have a unique learning opportunity present itself you need to maximize it.  In Worthington, we view the upcoming solar eclipse as this sort of opportunity for memorable learning to occur.

On the 4th day of school, Monday, August 21st, Worthington will experience a partial solar eclipse.  Starting at 1:04 pm the moon will pass in between the Earth and the sun.  By 2:30 pm, 86% of the sun will be blocked out.  There are many interesting observations reported from sun events including:

  • The leaves on trees will form thousands of “pinhole cameras” creating thousands of crescent shaped images of the sun on the ground below.
  • The temperature may drop a noticeable amount.
  • Birds have sometimes exhibited night time behaviors such as nesting or no longer singing.
  • Crickets may begin to chirp.

The last time such a solar eclipse passed over the U.S. was 1979.  The next time will be in April of 2024.  Seeing a solar eclipse where you live is extremely rare.  For many of our students, this may be the only eclipse they personally witness during their lifetimes.  

Worthington Schools has purchased 11,000 pairs of eclipse approved glasses for all of our students and staff to safely view the eclipse.  Our plan is to create grade level appropriate lessons around the eclipse and then as a school community, actually allow our students and teachers to view the eclipse.

Our Science Curriculum Leader, Brian Geniusz, has created a website to help everyone better understand the eclipse and eclipse safety.  The site also includes some lessons/activities our students may participate in.  The website can be found at www.worthington.k12.oh.us/eclipse.  Check it out.

Opportunities like this don’t come around very often.  We are going to maximize this one!

-Trent Bowers, Superintendent

P.S.  All of our glasses meet the ISO 12312-2 filter guidelines for direct observation of the Sun.

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Hello August

HelloAugustAnd the calendar turned to August….There are only 16 days left until we kick-off the 2017-2018 school year in Worthington.  As of today all of our fall athletes and marching band members are engaged in practices.  It’s almost time for school to begin and I’m like a kid counting down the days until Christmas.  I can’t wait!!!

When school begins we expect almost 10,200 students to walk through our doors.  This will represent an increase of around 1,000 students enrolled in Worthington Schools over the past five years.  This is a remarkable increase for a landlocked and mostly built out school district.  Since most of the increase in students has been in grades K-5, we project that as those classes move up through the school district we’ll see a steady growth of 100 – 200 students each of the next 5-10 years.  Worthington is growing again!

In order to handle this student growth and to provide more capacity for students at the elementary level, we will again this year educate Evening Street 6th graders at Kilbourne Middle School.  In addition, for the first time in several decades, we will utilize modular classrooms at Colonial Hills Elementary (4 classrooms) and Worthington Hills Elementary (2 classrooms).  Even with these additions, there will be grade levels at certain elementary schools that have to be capped and students new to Worthington may have to be overflowed to an elementary school outside their designated attendance zones.

When school begins we will have 39 new teachers in Worthington classrooms.  Those teachers have been selected because they possess an understanding of the need for balance between classroom rigor and building positive relationships with their students.  Our new teachers spent last week with us working to understand our mission, vision, expectations and core instructional strategies.  They’re going to be great!  In addition, former Worthington Kilbourne Principal, Angie Adrean has moved to our education center as our Chief Academic Officer.  Our new Worthington Kilbourne Principal is Aric Thomas.  Worthington Hills has a new Principal, former Worthington Hills teacher and student, Allie Seiling.  Sutter Park has a new Principal, Tricia Hosking, and  Thomas Worthington has new Assistant Principals,  Milton Folson and Emilie Greenwald as well as new Athletic Director, Jen Goebbel.  We’re excited about our team.  

This weekend our Transportation Department is hosting a First-Time Riders event (Saturday, 8/5 9:00 A.M. – 12:00 P.M.) Students that will be riding a school bus for the first time are welcome to come to the Worthington Education Center to meet the bus drivers, get on and off of buses for the first time, learn about bus safety, and meet fellow classmates! If you have any questions, you can call the Transportation Department at (614) 450-6600.  Children who attend will get a free Kona Ice!

As you get ready for back-to-school, check out our district website for dates, and important reminders.  

It’s going to be a great school year in Worthington!  

-Trent Bowers, Superintendent

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