Thinking about middle school

AngieMSWith the passage of Issues 9 and 10, Worthington will shift to 6th – 8th grade middle schools in the fall of 2021.  (That means this year’s third grade students will all go to 6th grade in middle school.)  Thus, we’re thinking a lot about middle school in Worthington and at the same time, middle school is a hot topic in popular culture.  

Variety Magazine writes, “‘Eighth Grade,” Bo Burnham’s captivating drama about a shy but intensely aware girl named Kayla (Elsie Fisher), who’s doing all she can to navigate her final week of middle school, is a movie that’s universal and eternal — one that captures the age-old zone of pimply bashful awkwardness that defines the moment of growing up, the moment when kids are teetering on the fault line between innocence and experience, childish dreaming and social networking, their identities stranded between two worlds.

The beauty of “Eighth Grade” is that it’s highly specific and generational. It’s the first movie to capture, in a major way, the teenage experience of those who have only existed on this planet during the digital era. There are, of course, all sorts of films that portray teenagers glued to their text messages and Instagram posts, plugging into the online stream. What “Eighth Grade” captures is how the omnipresent digital air we breathe has begun to make a profound mark on our social structure and personalities.”

Over time our society and our students have changed and our schools must change with them.  Thus we’ve embarked on a middle school redesign process that is being led by our Chief Academic Officer, Angie Adrean and Director of Secondary Education, Dr. Neil Gupta.  The two have spent the last eight months working with teachers and administrators from all of our four Worthington middle schools. They’ve met with elementary school principals and have met personally with each team of Worthington sixth grade teachers.  They’ve talked with current middle school students and engaged current high school students to find out what they believe is needed in middle school.

Last night, Ms. Adrean and Dr. Gupta updated the Board of Education on their ongoing work to create a middle school learner profile.  They intend to “begin with the end in mind” and determine what we want our middle school students to be able to do when they “graduate” middle school.  By having this foundation, we will design schools and school schedules that are organized to meet the needs of our 6th – 8th graders in 2021 and beyond.  

We’re just getting started on this journey but we’re determined to create middle schools that empower a community of learners who will change the world.

-Trent Bowers, Superintendent

 

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