Happy Holidays!

HatsWe’re a month and a half past the passage of Issues 9 & 10 for Worthington Schools. Internally we transitioned from campaign mode to implementation mode.  We’re actively meeting with groups to determine how we will structure our 6-8th-grade middle schools and what the design and construction will look like.  We’re setting up a representative feeder pattern committee to make the necessary changes to balance our high school enrollment and we’re getting ready to install a new phone system in every classroom and a visitor management system in each office.

While we’re moving forward, there isn’t a day that has gone by since November 6th that someone hasn’t stopped me on the street to say a sincere congratulations.  I’ve been overwhelmed by the community support for Worthington Schools. Senior citizens have called me to share stories about why Worthington Schools means so much to them.  They tell me about their children’s experiences and often their grandchildren’s experiences. I’ve heard from current families about teachers, coaches and bus drivers who have made a positive difference in a child’s life and I’ve heard from families who don’t yet have kids in school who share that the schools are why they moved to Worthington.

I’m struck by how important Worthington Schools is to people.  I’m humbled that at this time in history we get to be the custodians of this institution and build upon the legacy of those who have come before us have built while we attempt to leave Worthington better than when we arrived.  We are all blessed to work in this school district in this community. The work is hard for sure. Resources in public education are always a little less than we’d like and the challenges are real. But this fall I was reminded that many, many, many people care deeply about the work you we every day for kids.  

In Worthington our goal is for our students to feel the same support from our staff as we do from the community.  I hope as you head into the holidays your students know how much each and every one of them means to us.

It’s been a great fall in Worthington!  Today we finish the first semester of the 2018-2109 school year.  Enjoy the break.  Happy Holidays!

Trent Bowers, Superintendent

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The quest for straight A’s

A'sIn Sunday’s (12/9/18) New York Times Adam Grant, an organizational psychologist at Wharton and the author of “Originals” and “Give and Take” and the host of the podcast “WorkLife,” wrote a compelling piece titled “What Straight A Students Get Wrong

For those of you who know me well I’ve been waiting for this research my entire life!!!  Seriously, I’ve been very open about my own struggles in school as a special education student who graduated in the bottom half of my class at Worthington High School in 1991.  This morning I called my mom to share that I’d had a plan the entire time and now some experts see my path as the path to greater success in life.

Obviously, that’s a stretch.  But the author’s point is that in striving for straight A’s we are often teaching students more about skills of conformity and meeting the expectations of the teacher than we are really teaching the necessary life skills for the future.  I see both sides of this argument. I believe that students need to learn to meet the expectations of their teacher just like I must meet the expectations of the Board of Education if I want to stay employed. I also believe we all still need to learn to meet deadlines, strive for excellence, etc.

I also see Dr. Grant’s point.  If the future is really about creating, about being able to adapt to rapid constant change and about collaborating with empathy, our current system of grading in school is unlikely to teach those skills.  Grinding towards all A’s is likely to help with college admission and potentially with college costs (which are both important) but the downside to the quest may be as great as the reward.

At tonight’s (12/10/18) Worthington Board of Education meeting we’ll be discussing our Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and College Credit courses.  It’s an interesting discussion. Our hope in Worthington is that we offer our students a broad array of advanced options and that our students will challenge themselves in courses they are passionate about.  We want our students to take risks and thus we don’t honor traditional valedictorians at our graduations because potentially that disincentivizes students to take risks in the classes they schedule.

Dr. Grant’s commentary should make us think.  I’ll have to ruminate on it but I’m now attempting to convince my mom that I was ahead of my time.

  • Trent Bowers, Superintendent
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Vince

28Worthington Kilbourne High School opened in the Fall of 1991.  When the school opened in August, a young Science teacher and assistant football coach was hired away from Groveport High School to help open the school.  After serving for 15 seasons as the defensive coordinator of the football team he became the head football coach and has served in that capacity for the past 13 seasons.

As the head coach, he amassed an overall record of 72-66.  His teams made the state playoffs in 2008, 2013, 2014 and 2015.  He worked with Worthington Kilbourne Football when the school had 2,000 students and was still working with Worthington Kilbourne Football as enrollment dropped to 1,250 students and the competition around Central Ohio kept improving.

At the conclusion of this football season, Vince Trombetti announced that he was going to retire from coaching so he could spend his weekends watching his son play college football.  When I think about Coach Trombetti there are several things that come to mind:

  1. Vince was a teacher first and a coach second.  There are very few head football coaches throughout Ohio who teach Science.  Vince always carried a full teaching load and while some schools created jobs where their football coach had more time for football we never did that in Worthington.  Vince is a science teacher.
  2. I once read a biography about a coach named Vince that was entitled “When Pride Still Mattered.”  That biography was about legendary Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi but it makes me think of Vince Trombetti.  He is a principled man and he believes that if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing right.
  3. Finally, Vince has devoted the last 28 years to Worthington Kilbourne.  He chose to come to Worthington and he chose to stay in Worthington. 20 years ago Vince and I sat in graduate school classes at Ohio State together working on our Masters in School Administration degrees.  I went that route and became a principal. Vince decided to stay and work with our youth. He’s lead and mentored a generation of young men in Worthington. Men that will forever call him Coach. We live in a disposable society.  It’s rare for someone to come and invest for the long haul. For the good times and the bad. Vince did that!

At the Worthington Kilbourne Football banquet on Sunday night, the team presented Vince with a framed number 28 jersey to commemorate his 28 years of service to WKHS Football.  From a wins and losses standpoint, this was a tough season. But, the families and the players gave Vince a standing ovation. They recognize what he did. We need to be thankful for those in our community who commit to make a difference long term.  Vince did that. As we look for another football coach I’ll be asking….can you commit to 28 years?

  • Trent Bowers, Superintendent
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Thinking about middle school pt. 2

McCord Middle 960In the fall of 1986 as an eighth grade student, I walked into the new McCord Middle School for the first time.  As a 7th grader in 1985 I had attended Perry Middle School and the new McCord building was revolutionary. It had wide colorful hallways.  The cafeteria was at least 30% larger than the Perry cafeteria and had round tables. The walls between classrooms could open so that teachers could collaborate or they could close and would be sound-proof.   The 74,000 square foot building on the 40-acre site was new and was designed differently than Perry and Worthingway had been in the mid 60’s.

Thirty-two years later McCord is still a great educational facility.  The design of that school has stood the test of time. As we embark on a redesign of Worthingway and Perry we’re attempting to make certain that the schools we build in 2020 also stand the test of time.

While we’re thinking about the academic design of our 6th-8th grade middle schools, we’re also thinking about the building design.  Over the past two months a team of Worthington Schools staff members, community members and students has met multiple times to go through a process to develop Educational Specifications for our building projects.  They discussed Site Standards, Sustainability, Technology and Safety. They’ve looked at trends in educational buildings in 2018 and discussed design principles for learning and the potential future trends in how teachers will deliver instruction.  

The goal of this collaborative educational specifications process is to create the desired community environment, learning environment and physical environment that will frame the design problem for our architects.  This Spring we expect our architects to render drawings consistent with the work of this committee.

If you’d like to learn more about the process check out our Middle School Education Specifications website at: http://www.dejongrichter.com/worthington/

In Worthington, we seek and value community, staff and student input.  I’d like to thank the following Ed. Specs team members for investing a significant amount of time this fall to help on this process:

Angie Adrean, Josh Almanson, Jon Baird, Jordan Beck, Tate Beegle, Kim Brown, Patrick Callaghan, Katie Carey, Caitlin Christel, Ryan Dalcolma, Joe DeRuntz, Averie Eckstein, Robert Estice, Tom Fitz, Lisa Fuller, Jim Gaskill, Neil Gupta, Tami Hinz, Nikki Hudson, Kathleen Johnson, Bill Mosca, Sarah Mullen, Christopher Neil, Tom O’Leary, Michael Passella, Randy Ross, Bob Sheetz, Brian Scott, Alex Skura, Colleen Snyder, George Sontag, Robyn Stewart, Thomas Strous, Annie Wendt, Charlie Wilson, Jeff Eble, Randy Banks, Bob Darrow, Mike Dingeldein, Tim Gehring, Vicki Gnezda, Ashley Guzzo, Bill Mullett, Ashton Saber, Tony Schorr and Tracy Richter.

  • Trent Bowers, Superintendent
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