Exponential Impact…

Stories from Worthington Schools

The Amazing Drew George and my quest to beat Greg Garris

10250048_799776196773003_5819524181675856559_nMost mornings I attempt to go for a run before work.  I need the exercise and it’s a good way to clear my head.  Like many mornings I passed Wilson Hill teacher, Todd Smith (more accurately Todd passed me as he’s a machine and I’m an old, balding, semi-fat man attempting to run….but I digress…).  As I ran along my normal route I attempted to run a little faster than I normally would.  (Faster is a relative word.)  This attempt was mostly due to the fact that in a few short days I need to beat Thomas Worthington Mathematics teacher, Greg Garris, in the Fusion for the Fight 5K.

Why do I need to beat Greg Garris, a man 15 years younger than I am you may ask?  Here’s the back-story. Last June I ran the #DrewStrong/GussStrong 4.23 mile race from Worthington Kilbourne High School to Thomas Worthington High School.  With only a few hundred yards left in the race I was able to catch-up to Greg.  Unfortunately, as I began taunting him and challenging him to a sprint to the finish he remembered than he had young legs and I had old legs and he easily out sprinted me.  This Fusion 5K is my unlikely opportunity for redemption.

But, that’s all lead up to the real story.  The real story is that I ran the #DrewStrong/GussStrong race to support Worthington Kilbourne student, Drew George, who was diagnosed with leukemia on Nov. 7, 2013.  Later last school year George underwent a bone marrow transplant April 9, 2014, with his sister, Tori, being the 10 out of 10 perfect donor.11072723_792756390808317_790912669257019934_n

Fast forward one year and Drew George is back and better than ever.  He’s playing baseball for Worthington Kilbourne and just last week a healthy Drew George pitched a complete game shut-out for the Wolves.  Coach Dan Swallie tweeted out “Wolves win 2-0!  Drew George with the complete game shut-out.  Is there anything he can’t do?”  I literally shed tears when I saw Dan’s tweet.  Not only is Drew back playing the game he loves but he’s also been on the Worthington Kilbourne honor roll for his academic success.

I don’t know Drew personally but as a grown man approaching middle age I can easily say I look up to this young man.  He’s persevered through circumstances that most of us would rather not even imagine.  It’s an amazing story.  Today I wear my Wolves baseball hat in honor of Drew George.  (I look ridiculous in these flat bill hats that are in style today.  I’m hoping 1989 circles back around soon.)  Next week I’ll run attempting to beat Greg Garris but more importantly running for a good cause:  beating cancer!FullSizeRender (9)

My 6th Grader’s View of PARCC Testing

PARCC imagesTomorrow the PARCC assessment window will open all across Ohio.  In Worthington we have been preparing for these Next Generation Assessments for some time.  (Check out this website for important information regarding the assessments.)  In preparation for these assessments I thought it would be interesting to see what a student thinks about the assessments. Since two of those students live in my house I decided to ask my sixth grade daughter to write down her thoughts on the tests.  Those were my only instructions.  Thus, here is one student’s view of sixth grade assessments (disclaimer, this is just one student’s view,  certainly there are many other perspectives.)

It was a regular day in Mrs. Snyder’s 6th grade math class. We were listening to her talk and make some announcements about a schedule change. Next she points out that we are having 11 days of PARCC testing. What? This is crazy. 11 days, seriously? What if I’m too slow of a typist? What if the questions are too hard? How will I study? These questions were going through my classmates’ and my minds. Everything about this seems horrible. Am I right? It is a big change for every child in the district that will be taking the PARCC assessments this Spring.

Even though I was worried when Mrs. Snyder started talking about the PARCC assessments, I still was happy! I mean, the idea of our community, our state, taking the big jump from the idea of a paper and pencil test to a computer test is a big thought! Another thing would be that I have taken a practice PARCC assessment and the new tools that are available on the computer will make it easier for me to approach the test. On the math test, we have multiple calculators, a protractor, etc.. On the English/Language Arts test, we are able to highlight and use a line reader.

Mrs. Snyder showed us the calendar. As a 6th grader, there will be 3 tests that I will have to take. It will be in many segments, each one will be for a day. We will prepare by trying out questions on the PARCC website and we will do practice tests in class. It will be a great way to prepare for a test. No matter how BIG of a test it is. My teachers will work hard to treat it like any other OAA and that is what it will be.  

When we go into that classroom we will have no choice but to take a test. In my mind, it doesn’t matter if it is the PARCC or the OAA. I guess what I’m trying to say here is that no matter what, we are going to take a test. When I log onto the computer it is just like sharpening a box of #2 pencils. When I sit down to take a test, I’m taking a test. I will be nervous either way. No matter who is looking at it, an adult or a 6th grader, it is a test. And it’s not like we have a choice if we want to test.”

Here is the assessment schedule that my daughter’s sixth grade class will follow:

 

Grade and Administration Dates Assessment

PBA-Performance Base Assessment

EOY-End of the Year Assessment

Grade 6
February 23 Literary Analysis PBA

8:30-10:00 a.m.

February 25 Research Task PBA

8:30 – 10:00 a.m.

February 27 Narrative Writing PBA

10:00-11:30 a.m.

March 3

Grade 6 and Math 7 continued

Social Studies PBA

8:30 – 10:00 a.m.

March 10 Math Unit 1 PBA

8:30-10:00 a.m.

March 12 Math Unit 2 PBA

8:30 a.m.-10:00 a.m.

May 4 ELA Unit 1 EOY

8:30-10:00 a.m.

May 5 ELA Unit 2 EOY

8:30-10:00 a.m.

May 6 Math Unit 1 EOY

8:30-10:00 a.m.

May 8 Math Unit 2 EOY

8:30-10:00 a.m.

May 12 Social Studies

10:00-11:30 a.m.

The Bobby “Stinkin” Basom Story

IMG_6240Since October when the Worthington Board of Education named me the next Superintendent of Worthington Schools I have been able to speak to many different groups in the Worthington Community.  It’s a real pleasure to have the opportunity to partner with our community in helping to make certain Worthington is a great place for all kids.

This week one of the groups I was privileged to speak with was the Worthington Youth Boosters (WYB) Board.  Worthington Youth Boosters is the volunteer organization that runs youth sports across the Worthington School district.  They sponsor 12 different sports and support athletes ages 4 – 14.  This group touches thousands of our Worthington students and their families each year.

When I went to the WYB meeting I brought with me my fifth grade football jersey from when I played “Big White” football under the old Cardinal Boosters umbrella.  (WYB was Cardinal Boosters until Worthington Kilbourne High School opened in 1992 when the organization shifted to the WYB name.)  When moving my parents from their previous home last summer we discovered this jersey in the basement.  It was significant to me not because it was an old jersey but because of the story about how I became #15 on the “Big White” football team.  I call this the Bobby “Stinkin” Basom story.  (I’m certain there are many Bobby Basom stories, but most should never be told on a school related blog….)

If you’re a football fan try to name the famous football player who wore #15.  If that task was impossible name any football player that wore #15.  Likely you’re 0-2.  No famous or even semi-famous football players wore #15.  It’s just not a good football number!

5th grade football was my first year playing football.  “Big White” was the local Cardinal Boosters travel team and I was going to play running back on that team.  Before the first game the coach allowed each of us to choose our own number.  As a young boy this was a dream come true.  I had my number picked out.  It was an obvious choice for 1983.  I was going to be #33. This is the number that famous Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Dorsett wore every Sunday.

Not only were we going to be able to pick our number, but we were doing it in alphabetical order.  I had hit the jackpot!  My last name begins with a “B” and thus I had the third pick.  I was dreaming about how I would look streaking down the sideline in #33 when the unthinkable happened.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  Bobby Basom, the person forever after referred to as Bobby “Stinkin” Basom chose number 33.  He was the player right before me in alphabetical order.  I was stunned.  I had no back-up choice.  It had never occurred to me that I wouldn’t be #33.  And, with that I ended up with a number that no self respecting football player wears: #15.

32 years later I remember my experience in Cardinal Boosters.  Thus, when I spoke with the community members who volunteer countless hours to run our youth sports programs in WYB I did so with significant gratitude.  I’m thankful for my experiences years ago, I’m thankful for my daughters’ experiences today, and I’m thankful that as a school district we can partner with an organization that is good for kids in Worthington.  It takes hundreds and hundreds of volunteers to make WYB work each season.  Thanks to every one of you that goes above and beyond to make a long term positive difference in the life of a child!

Many of you know Bobby “Stinkin” Basom and his family.  They’re great, great people and invest heavily in Worthington….but, I’m still mad at Bobby!

One Worthington

worthington_logo_smaller

Tomorrow (1/3/2015) Worthington Kilbourne and Thomas Worthington will meet on the basketball court where the boys teams will compete against one another.  (Freshman at noon, JV at 1:30 and Varsity at 3:00.  Games at WKHS.)  These games are always highly competitive and fiercely contested.  For our high school athletes the game is a true rivalry game and one that both teams want to win.  Our athletes from each high school have grown up together.  They competed on the same youth booster teams, the same AAU teams, and regardless of what high school they attend they know each other well.  It’s fun to watch them compete, it’s fun to watch their fans cheer loudly, but in the end, we’re all on the same team. Team Worthington!

In October we rolled out our social media hashtag #ForWorthington (A social media hashtag is a way to categorize social media posts on sites like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.  The ForWorthington hashtag is an internal reminder that the schools serve the greater Worthington community and our job is to help all students succeed.).  Just before the holidays we rolled out shirts with #ForWorthington  on them.  Our hope was that all across Worthington a wave of support and enthusiasm for Worthington Schools would blossom.

222432worthingtonMany people have asked how they can get a #ForWorthington shirt.  We have run out of shirts from our first order.  But there is an online store where you can order a #ForWorthington shirt and have it shipped directly to your house.  Click here to access that store.

In this store (which is not affiliated in any way with Worthington Schools but is run by a Worthington Kilbourne High School alumnus) you can also purchase a wide variety of “Worthington” apparel.  These items are not unique to any one school but instead show your pride for Worthington!  The blue color used in the logo is intended to be our neutral Worthington blue.

Worthington has 2 traditional high schools that compete in athletics and overall we have 19 different schools with strong individual cultures.  We’re proud of the individual schools and the allegiance that they create with their students, parents and alumni.  There are many places where you can purchase clothing specific to your school.  (We love that and appreciate the school pride!)

Our hope with these offerings is that we will begin to unify as a community and show our pride in being part ofWorthingtonLogo Worthington Schools!  Whether you’re just heading to the local grocery store or you’re walking down the beach in Florida, wearing Worthington attire is sure to strike up a conversation with an alumnus or someone who has a connection with Worthington.  If you’re interested in purchasing Worthington gear, click here.  (If you know someone who might be interested in purchasing Worthington gear, send them the link.)

The hope in this endeavor  is to create enthusiasm, pride and excitement around our great school district! #OneWorthington #ForWorthington!

One Worthington Online Store

A Christmas Miracle! (Thanks Keith Schlarb)

IMG_6162Throughout the 2013-2014 school year I spent a significant amount of time and effort working with our district community technology team creating our three year technology plan.  This school year it has been exciting to watch this plan come to life in our schools.  Already this fall we have added over 3,000 new chromebooks to our schools.  These devices combined with the 450 plus PC laptops that were added last school year have made mobile learning a reality throughout Worthington.  This spring and next fall we will add even more mobile devices and we’ll reach our desired ratio of a mobile device for every two students.

IMG_6103Having this ratio in place will allow students to access technology on demand throughout the school day.  In addition we are beginning to pilot our technology lending libraries at Slate Hill, Worthingway and Thomas Worthington.  These pilots will allow students to take devices and 4G access points home to continue their learning outside of school.  By next fall these libraries will be in all 19 school buildings.

Finally by 2017 our plan calls for 1:1 computing.  Students bringing their own devices will be a major part of this plan.  With this in mind Worthington Schools published a chromebook buying flyer for parents this holiday season.  My family utilized this flyer and purchased each of our daughters a chromebook for Christmas.

As a family we’ve certainly been blessed and we can afford to make this investment in 24/7 learning.  Already it has been very cool to watch from the parent’s perspective.  Chromebooks are simple, powerful, education tools.  On Christmas morning the chromebooks took three minutes to take out of the box and turn on.  It took another 30 seconds for each girl to log into their unique wscloud account provided by Worthington Schools.  (This is the same log-in they use everyday at school.)  Once logged in, they had immediate access to all of their Google Apps for Education, documents, emails, slide presentations and the like.

Not only did they have GAFE access, but a Worthington Schools icon appears on the bottom left handFullSizeRender (5) corner of each of the girl’s machine.  With one simple click on that schoolhouse icon my girls have instant access to:

ABC Mouse.com

ABCYa.com

Accelerated Reader

Book Flix

Brain Pop Jr

CAT Jr

digits

First in Math

Gizmos

INFOhio

IXL

learnin3.com

Lexia Reading Core5

MobyMax

National Geographic

Nathional Geographic Kids

NWEA

RAZ Kids

Reflex

Science A-Z

Sheppard Software

Vocabulary Spelling City.com

ST Math

Story Line

Tumble Books

Wixie

It’s all right there!  As a parent this is the single greatest present in the world!  (Thank you Keith Schlarb!!!)  Not only can my daughters access a wealth of curriculum based practice and learning sites, as a parent I didn’t have to find all these sites.  The sites were already there! (I did have to find some passwords which in our house we struggle to keep straight.)  By 8:30 A.M. on Christmas morning I had three daughters logged into education apps, happily learning while Doreen and I were drinking coffee.  Let me repeat, I didn’t have to do anything.  The Worthington Schools technology team found each app, located it in one handy icon, and added the apps to all wscloud student accounts so they have instant access from any device they log into.  It’s a Christmas Miracle!

FullSizeRender (4)

Technology is a tool to personalize learning and engage students in 2014.  The best 1:1 learning is still with the teacher in the classroom.  But on this Christmas morning I saw a glimpse of the future and the present all together.  I saw first hand how technology will aid student learning and how the school district can partner with families to help make this happen in a simple, yet powerful way.

If your student logs into their wscloud account and you see the Worthington schoolhouse icon, don’t be afraid to click on it. It’s awesome!

A Veteran

FullSizeRender (5)When the Columbus Dispatch posted that I would have the opportunity to succeed Dr. Tucker as the next Superintendent of Worthington Schools many people from all over reached out with congratulations and well wishes.  I heard from friends, colleagues and community members.  The outpouring of support has been awesome and humbling.  The article also generated a contact to me that was not about me at all, but about my dad.

My connection to Worthington Schools as a student, teacher, coach, administrator and parent has been well documented.  What is less known is that my dad was also a teacher and a coach in Worthington.

My parents both graduated from Linden McKinley High School in the early 60’s.  My dad went on to Ohio State and graduated with a degree in education.  When he graduated, like many of his generation, he was sent to Vietnam with the U.S. Army.  Dad served as a military police officer in the Army.  Upon his discharge from the Army he stayed in law enforcement and spent his career as a Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service.

Upon retiring from the Secret Service Dad decided he wanted to finally put his education degree to use.  He spent several years in the mid-90’s teaching government at Thomas Worthington High School with Mark Ellwood, Chuck Palmer and Bob Galasso .  He also coached football with me at McCord Middle School.

When the Dispatch article ran I was contacted by a former student of my dad’s.  This student is a teacher now in Olentangy Schools and she was hoping to get in contact with my dad to share the positive difference he had made in her life.  Of all the cool things I have experienced in the last few weeks this was at the top of the list.  As a son, I was proud of my dad.  As a Worthington educator I was proud of another Worthington educator for doing what Worthington educators have been doing for generations – making a positive difference in the lives of kids.

Today is Veteran’s Day in the United States.  I salute my favorite veteran of the armed forces (and veteran of the classroom) – my dad!

 

#ForWorthington

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn the spring of 1982 I was living in Concord, California with my parents and younger sister.  My dad was transferred from the Bay Area to Columbus, Ohio and after doing extensive research my parents decided to locate our family in Worthington.  790 Ashler Court would be our family home for the next 16 years.  It was from that home that I would attend Worthington Hills Elementary, Perry Middle School, McCord Middle School, The Kilbourne Freshman Building and Worthington High School.

Today I look back on my parents’ decision to choose Worthington with great appreciation.  Like many high school and college students I was set on making my mark on this world outside of Worthington and as such I took my first teaching job in King George, Virginia.  I taught 5th grade at Potomac Elementary School and my first classroom was in the school’s old kitchen.  Teaching in Virginia was a great experience.  Immediately it created an appreciation for my home of Worthington and in the fall of 1997 Dr. Ann Heffernan hired me to teach 5th grade at Evening Street Elementary.  I was home and I was planning to be a teacher and a coach for my career.  (I was coaching football at McCord Middle School and lacrosse at Worthington Kilbourne High School.)

As often happens, my plans for life shifted.  Two things happened.  For one, Dr. Heffernan pulled me aside one day and encouraged me to consider becoming a principal.  I had never considered this before, but I was intrigued.  Secondly, Dr. Gerald Prince appeared at my classroom door with some bad news.  Because of budget constraints my position was being eliminated and I was being RIF’d (Reduced in Force.)  My plans changed in a hurry.  Luckily for me Dan Girard had left his position as Dean of Students at McCord Middle School and they had an opening.  I was hired for the dean’s position and learned that I really liked the administration role.

After a few years at McCord I decided I needed to move outside of Worthington again.  I became first an assistant principal, then a principal, and eventually the principal of two schools at the same time in Marysville Schools.  These were great years for me personally and I will be forever grateful to my mentor Larry Zimmerman for his faith in me.  But, as has happened consistently in my life, I came home.

In 2008 I was given the opportunity to work in Worthington’s central office (The WEC), first in Human Resources and three years later in my current assignment as Assistant Superintendent.  Today I learned that the Board of Education has the faith in me to become the next Superintendent of Worthington Schools.  I didn’t set out for this job.  Even seven years ago when I joined Worthington I would have never imagined this was possible.

As a student in Worthington I was labeled with a learning disability.  School was always very hard for me.  Throughout my academic career in Worthington I was supported by amazing, caring and talented educators.  Teachers and coaches such as Connie Ball, Bill Wolford, Mark Ellwood, Jan Fish, Chris Gallagher, Scott Gordon, Tim Cave, Janet Lanka, Tim Dove and Jane Baxter scaffolded my learning and helped me progress.  Even with their incredible support I graduated in the bottom half of my high school class.

Struggling academically shaped how I see education today.  My personal experiences are melded now with almost 20 years of professional experience in education.  Those experiences will continue to influence me as Superintendent of Schools.  They’ve taught me the importance of connecting with others, communicating expectations clearly, providing effective feedback, listening first, and setting high expectations for student success.

Worthington Schools is a great school district!  We are a school district that offers an incredible pre-school experience at Sutter Park.  Sutter Park is an example statewide for early childhood excellence.  Worthington is a district that creates stability and builds deep and meaningful relationships with families at our elementary schools that serve students in grades K-6.  My three children will spend 13 cumulative years at one elementary school.  The staff there is like our second family and this stability and personal relationship is a unique treasure in 2014.

When our students move to middle school they have incredible options.  Within our traditional middle school programs we offer many more choice options for students than do our neighboring school districts.  We also offer an alternative lottery-based middle school in Phoenix.  Our high schools provide an array of choices.  We pride ourselves in offering an incredible breadth of curricular and co-curricular options for our high school students.  Likewise our Linworth Alternative program has been a benchmark in alternative education for almost 40 years.

Under Dr. Tucker’s leadership Worthington’s academic performance as measured by standardized tests has never been stronger.  But we’re about so much more.  We still value recess time for our elementary students and we take time out of each day for the arts and physical education. We’re a “both/and” school district.  We won’t sacrifice what we believe is good for students in order to score a few points more on tests (that’s the “either/or” approach.)

As we move forward my commitment is that Worthington will continue to get better in every aspect of schooling.  In a competitive marketplace people will choose Worthington Schools for their children not only because our offerings are second to none, and the quality and rigor of our offerings is outstanding, but they’ll choose Worthington because every member of our staff is committed to building a personal relationship with our families and is therefore committed to do whatever is necessary for our students to succeed.

In the near future I will meet with Dr. Tucker and the board of education and we will begin to map out the future.  I anticipate the need to study our enrollment trends and our facilities.  I’d like for us to engage our community in strategic planning to guide the next several years of our work.  We’ll continue to be good stewards of the taxpayer’s money and we’ll work to make certain every dollar spent has a positive impact on students and the community.

Today I am totally and completely humbled.  I stand upon the shoulders of the great educators who have made Worthington a special place.  In particular my life has been touched by Anne Heffernan, Jeanne Paliotto, Paul Cynkar, Jim McElligott, Mark Glasbrenner, Melissa Conrath and Thomas Tucker.  There are many others who have come before us and there will be many more in the future.  I stand surrounded by a group of talented, caring, and committed administrators, teachers, and education support professionals.  I love Worthington Schools!  My goal everyday will be to give back to this community that has given me so much and to give forward to the next generation.

As we make daily strides we will do so For Worthington!  Not for ourselves, but For Worthington.  For the kids of Worthington!  For the community of Worthington Schools.  For those who have come before us in Worthington.  For my neighbors whose kids have come and gone.  I look forward to partnering with you to make Worthington the best school district in Ohio.  FOR WORTHINGTON!

Respectfully,

Trent H. Bowers, Ed.D.

If you’re on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook please tag your Worthington related posts with #ForWorthington as we work together to make Worthington the best school district/community in Ohio.

 

Parent-Teacher Conferences

IMG_5611I began my teaching career at age 22 as a fifth grade teacher in King George Virginia.  My first classroom was the old kitchen in Potomac Elementary.  The students and I actually had to walk through Mr. Young’s fifth grade classroom in order to get to our classroom.  That was a very interesting year.  Being my first year in the classroom there are things I remember like they happened yesterday.

I remember getting ready for my first set of parent-teacher conferences.  With 26 students in my class, I was scheduled to complete roughly 13 hours of conferences with parents.  I probably spent 40 hours preparing for those conferences.  I gathered student work to share, I made notes on student strengths and weaknesses, and I created plans for how parents could help their children at home.  I was ready!

When conferences came I was nervous.  I was a 22-year-old kid playing adult with all of these 40-year-old parents.  Most of my conferences went well but a few sets of parents didn’t show up for their conference.  “What was wrong with these people?  Don’t they care about their child’s education?  Do they realize all of the time I put into these conferences?  What kind of parent doesn’t show-up for their own child’s parent-teacher conference?”  At 22 years old those questions made sense to me.

In my current role as a district level administrator it’s important to me that we utilize parent teacher conference time effectively.  It’s important that we intentionally reach out an invite parents in and it’s important that we meet at times that work for our families.  In Worthington we have great teachers and I’m proud of what I see going on with parent teacher conferences.

My daughters each had conferences scheduled.  The teachers sent home information and surveyed the parents as to what we wanted to learn about during our conferences.  They created portfolio’s of student work and they even sent reminder emails.  Our conferences were neatly scheduled for our kids on the same day one after another.  It was all set-up.  These were going to be really good conferences.

Here’s the kicker….they may have been really good conferences had Doreen and I remembered to show-up.  Yep, we’re those parents.  Not only that, but, I’m the stinking assistant superintendent of schools and Doreen is a teacher.  We not only value education, we know how hard the teachers of our children work to prepare for these conferences. And, somehow, neither of us checked the calendar (which was on Google Calendar and thus on our phone, tablet and computer, plus it was written on the kitchen calendar.)

In the craziness of our life, at 41 years old, I learned a new lesson.  Some of those families that I was so frustrated with at 22 years old, they cared about their children and the education of their children, more than I ever understood.  But, sometimes at 41 years old, life is a bit crazy, and sometimes you just mess-up.  That was us yesterday, and today, I have a bit more compassion for many of the parents I’ve worked with for 20 years.  I’m one of them, and now I understand.


Even the Crossing Guards…

RileyThe average school district in Ohio has around 2,500 students.  Thus, Worthington with over 9,500 students is considered a large school district.  One of the challenges in a large school district is connecting with our students and families so that there is a small town atmosphere.

In Worthington one of our main connection strategies is K-6 elementary schools.  Our students enter kindergarten at age 5 in one school and ideally they spend 7 years with the same principal, teaching staff and support staff.  This time allows for our adults to get to know our students and our families really, really well.  Likewise it allows our students to build lasting friendships with their peer set.

When things work out well our students are supported by a cadre of caring adults all who know the kids like they are their own.  In my children’s case we’ve seen this first hand.  My family lives .4 miles from Evening Street Elementary.  We’re solidly within the walking zone and so my three girls walk to school each day.  Daily they have to cross 161 on their way to and from school.  The traffic on 161 is often heavy, sometimes moving quickly, and can be less than patient.  To make sure our students are safe the City of Worthington provides a crossing guard.

Carol Leahy has been the crossing guard at 161 and Evening Street for at least the past seven years.  (Maybe, long before that, but I didn’t have the records from the city.)  Being a crossing guard is difficult.  This morning it was 45 degrees and sprinkling rain.  I was cold walking from my warm car to my warm office.  Mrs. Leahy stands outside for over an hour, corrals kids and parents to the cross walk area, and physically stands in front of rush hour traffic.  Then she does it again each afternoon.  (I believe there is a special place in heaven for crossing guards.)

Here’s the amazing part….not only does Mrs. Leahy do her job and keep kids safe, she somehow also takes the time to build a positive relationship with them.  She actually knows each child!  She does this to the level that just this week she said, “I see that Riley (my 7-year-old) lost a tooth.”  How is that possible?  My kid is bundled up and under an umbrella.  My kid is surrounded by her two sisters (who are certainly talking a mile a minute), she’s surrounded by parents with dogs, the kid down the street who skateboards to school, and the three kids dragging their scooters that they thought would be fun to ride to school but are considering ditching in the neighbors bushes.  In all the craziness that is Mrs. Leahy’s daily life she knows that my child lost a tooth!

That’s the Worthington connection.  That’s what is different about Worthington than many other communities.  In a competitive marketplace that’s why families should seriously consider Worthington Schools for their children.  Not only do our kids receive a diverse, high quality education, our kids are supported by an incredible group of adults.  Even the crossing guards!  Thanks Mrs. Leahy!

 

 

The Worthington Advantage For My Kids

CamThere are many incredible advantages that we enjoy by living and working in Worthington Schools.  Recently I had an experience that reminded me of that advantage.

As a dad of three active daughters, and the husband of a wife who works full-time, there is a significant amount of communication and coordination required to make certain everyone in the family gets to their scheduled locations on time.  Sometimes we even remember to pick them up and bring them home.

In this vein, last Friday my wife and I reviewed our daily schedule.  It was determined that my wife would make certain my fourth grade daughter got to her book club on time at Panera and that she would make certain my daughter had money to buy her drink and snack.  It was my job to be at Panera by 5:30 P.M. to pick my daughter up, just like it had been my job a week earlier to download the book needed for book club onto my daughter’s Kindle.

Yes, you’re reading this correctly and this is where the Worthington advantage comes in.  My fourth grade daughter is involved in a regular book club with a group of friends and each month a different girl picks the book for the club, writes the discussion questions, and determines the location.  Friday’s book was “Isabelle” which is an American Girl book based on the American Girl doll of the year for 2014.  (If you don’t know about American Girl dolls, the doll of the year is a really, really, really big deal.  And, most of the American Girl books are excellent historical fiction books.)

When I arrived at Panera my daughter was sunk into a rich leather chair.  Her book was on her lap and she was sipping a Mocha Frappe. Seriously, rough life!  But, the cool thing is, she was reading and discussing her book with her friends.  How cool is that!  At nine years old my daughter and her friends have taken Ohio’s Third Grade Reading Guarantee to a whole new level.  They’re reading, discussing, and having a ball doing it.

In Worthington many of our kids have significant advantages.  One such advantage is that my daughter has a group of friends that read together for fun.  All I have to do as a dad is download the book (one click ordering from Amazon) and remember to pick her up.  We’re very, very lucky!

If you’d like to read about another advantage we enjoy in Worthington check out our school district blog: Absolute Excellence

 

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