Worthington RttT Update

race+to+the+top(1)We’re beginning our fourth and final year as a Race to the Top School district.  By agreeing to participate in Race to the Top three years ago, Worthington Schools has received over a half million dollars, spread out over four years, to transform our practice.  Many districts in Central Ohio did not participate in Race to the Top, either because their teacher’s association wouldn’t agree to participate, or their administration determined the requirements would be too much work.  I’m proud of Worthington’s choice to participate and believe the benefits have been worth the effort.

The Race to the Top program was authorized under sections 14005 and 14006 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). Race to the Top was a competitive grant program used to encourage and reward States that are implementing significant reforms in the four education areas described in the ARRA: enhancing standards and assessments, improving the collection and use of data, increasing teacher effectiveness and achieving equity in teacher distribution, and turning around struggling schools.

In Worthington our goals for our participation in RttT were as follows:

As a result of Worthington’s participation in Race to the Top, by 2014 Worthington Schools should see the following deliverables:

Students

  • Increased growth in academic achievement
  • Decrease achievement gap in subgroups
  • Increase in college credits earned during high school
  • Increased college and career readiness

Teachers

  • Increased use of a diverse range of data in decision making
  • Implementation of new Ohio Standards and Common Core
  • Greater emphasis and use of formative assessments
  • Participation in Professional Learning Communities
  • Increased implementation of high yield strategies
  • Greater focus on subgroup students
  • Classroom level data, at fingertips, utilized on a regular basis
  • Teacher evaluations utilizing student growth data

Administrators

  • Increased use of data in decision making
  • Increased use of data in teacher evaluation
  • Participation in Professional Learning Communities

In order to further our goals in RttT we have three teams of administrators and teachers working independently and co-dependently to lead significant district level improvement.  I coordinate these three teams but the real work is done by the following staff members:

Assurance Area B: Standards and Assessments

Brian Geniusz, Jamie Lusher, Jeff Maddox, Johannah Benedict, Nancy Charlton, Nancy Massman

Assurance Area C: Using Data to Improve Instruction

Geno Smith, Jennifer Wene, Patti Schlaegel, Tom Kaczmarek

Assurance Area D: Great Teachers and Leaders

Connie Ball, Greg Ross, Marc Schare, Mark Hill, Thomas Tucker, Randy Banks, Tricia Palko

As we begin year four I believe RttT has been a resounding success for Worthington!  We have implemented formative instructional practices with fidelity in all classrooms.  We have re-written our curriculum, and this year we are teaching new standards in Language Arts, Math, Social Studies, and Science.  We’re implementing the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System and we’re analyzing data from multiple sources using a program built by Worthington teachers (Data Toolkit.)  The work we agreed to as a condition of our participation in RttT has become the work of the school district.  Our teachers have partnered with us to make this happen.

When the formal Race to the Top program comes to completion at the end of this school year it will leave a legacy in Worthington that should continue for many years, and as a result of this ongoing work, I suspect we will continue to see positive outcomes for Worthington students.

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