As part of an ongoing effort to ensure that our schools continue striving for improving high-quality, innovative education in a cost-effective manner, our schools engaged two organizations in comprehensive studies of our secondary programs (grades 7-12).

As part of an ongoing effort to ensure that our schools continue striving for improving high-quality, innovative education in a cost-effective manner, our schools engaged two organizations in comprehensive studies of our secondary programs (grades 7-12).

Recent stories regarding these studies have gained the attention of many Worthington school district residents, and we would like the opportunity to give more details and to ease concerns.

The studies were conducted by Capital University and the Hanover Research Group, a national educational research firm based in Washington, D.C., that recently completed a similar study for Upper Arlington City Schools. The research findings recently were presented to the administration and the school board. These reports covered the following topics: 21st-century course offerings, facilities and co-curricular programs, and curriculum. All of these studies are available in detail on the district's website.

The study that has received recent media attention is the one regarding facilities.

First, we are not looking to reconfigure grades at the high schools. We are not considering combining all of our high school students into one building. Yes, our high school enrollment has declined over the past seven years, but high school enrollment is up 145 students from last school year. And our elementary enrollment has been on the rise. In fact, independent projections indicate that over the next 10 years, we will see an increase of nearly 500 students districtwide.

Although we recognize the need for a thorough, outside, research-based perspective, we also acknowledge that there may be items we need to consider from an inside perspective.

The board and administration will weigh these studies with our professional experience and will seek input from staff members, parents and concerned citizens before major decisions are made. The process of involving stakeholders is an important element of education in Worthington. We value the input and support of our community. We are -- and always have been -- focused on ensuring that students have access to up-to-date learning materials and skilled educators in well-maintained, safe facilities. If there are further questions, my staff and I would be happy to answer them.

Thomas S. Tucker is the superintendent of Worthington City Schools. He can be reached at 614-450-6000.