Worthington is an amazing school district made-up of 19 unique and outstanding schools. One such school is Brookside Elementary. Brookside is a traditional Worthington K-6 elementary school that is home to around 350 students. For years Brookside had been led by a principal as unique as the school itself, Mr. Fritz Monroe.
Fritz’s vision for education has always been highly experiential and known as the “School Yard Enhance Learning Philosophy.” With this philosophy, he and the incredible, amazing, dedicated, patient, flexible, and talented Brookside staff, have used their school property for many outdoor learning opportunities. They host a community garden on property and they have used their homegrown foods in the cafeteria (see the video above). Their Monarch butterfly garden is something that most city zoo’s would find envious, and their pond is used for a host of ecological experiences. There may, or may not, be a Tortoise on the loose in the school depending on whether you believe the rumors.
For many years I would meet with Mr. Monroe in his office and he would have me sit at his small conference table facing his desk. He would sit directly in front of me. To my utter dismay, directly behind me were several large snakes that I was certain may get lose at any time. Mr. Monroe was a true professional at keeping us central office types away from his office.
In addition to utilizing a unique experiential approach, Brookside has been diligently teaching the new standards and utilizing formative instructional practices. Because of these efforts, last week the Ohio Department of Education named Brookside Elementary School a High Progress School of Honor, based on their 2012-2013 Local Report Card.
To become a High Progress School of Honor a building must first be a Title 1 or Title 1-eligible school with at least 40 percent of its students eligible for free and reduced-price meals. In addition these schools must rank in the top 10 percent for gains in proficiency, or if high schools, in the top 10 percent in graduation rates. Finally, High Progress Schools of Honor must have an Annual Measurable Objectives grade of C or higher and have met or exceeded Ohio’s value-added measure for the last three years.
The letter from ODE stated, “Clearly your school is doing whatever it takes to make sure that your students from all backgrounds have the opportunity to achieve academically. This makes you an outstanding example of what is possible when students, educators, parents and community members work together believing that all students can succeed.”
How cool is that! Brookside is getting it done! With new Principal, Mr. Dan Girard, and an involved parent community, they are building on the legacy of Mr. Monroe (Fritz formally retired at the end of the 2012-2013 school year) and they’re striving to make certain that all students grow at high levels. It’s something that we in Worthington have known for a long time. It’s fun to see the Ohio Department of Education recognize their efforts.
Now if they could only find that Tortoise …..