The era of statewide standardized testing is now a fixture. While they may be modified fairly regularly, there can be no doubt that standardized tests of some form - perhaps even a national test - will be an integral part of the education scene for a long time to come.

The era of statewide standardized testing is now a fixture. While they may be modified fairly regularly, there can be no doubt that standardized tests of some form - perhaps even a national test - will be an integral part of the education scene for a long time to come.

The Ohio Report Card, published by the Ohio Department of Education, consists primarily of a school district's performance of achievement tests and is a widely reported indicator of school districts' success and challenges. Worthington Schools' performance on this Report Card over the last several years has earned it a rating of "Excellent." We are committed to maintaining our standing among Ohio's best, while at the same time remaining fiscally responsible to our residents.

But what defines an Excellent school district is far more than test scores. Every year when the Report Card is released, I'm asked to define our ingredients for success. Increasingly, two factors that are growing in importance are 1) creative and passionate teachers that encourage students to use their minds and reach their potential, and 2) tremendous support by a community that cares about kids and is willing to support them in everything from buildings and technology to challenging extracurricular activities to creative approaches to student learning.

Our staff members have created many new opportunities for students to learn which are more engaging and relevant for today's world. These programs cut across all grade levels and include Granby's 21st Century Basic School, Slate Hill's International Baccalaureate Program, Worthington Hills' Personalized Learning Opportunities, Brookside's Schoolyard Enhanced Learning, Phoenix Middle School, Project LEAD the Way a pre-engineering program, the Entrepreneurship Business Academy at Thomas Worthington High School, International Business Academy at Worthington Kilbourne High School and Linworth Alternative. Many more are in development stages and will soon be introduced with staff and parental support. All of these programs have been the creation of our teaching staff as they constantly strive to most effectively meet the needs of our students.

Community partnership and accountability is critical to the viability of our schools. I invite you to come see these programs in action. You may contact the building principal and they would be happy to set up a visit.

In addition to these staff-created programs, students now have the opportunity to earn high school credit through a variety of options, known as Credit Flexibility. This approach to learning will broaden the scope of options available to students and is focused around students' interests and needs. It's a hands-on approach to learning that is required to be successful in our 21st-century world.

Time and research has shown that all kids can learn if presented with an engaging opportunity. At Worthington Schools, we are constantly exploring ways to provide a world-class education in the most efficient and effective manner as possible as we are committed to ensuring that all of our students be prepared for life after school.

Melissa

Conrath