Worthington News

Students will see many new teachers in 2013-14

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When students return to school next week, they will see lots of new teachers.

Although student enrollment is expected to hold steady with last year's figures, more than 80 new teachers have been hired over the summer.

That is a record number, according to district spokeswoman Vicki Gnezda. Like last year, when 50 teachers were hired, the new field of teachers was needed to replace record numbers of retirees, she said.

The new teachers are spread throughout the district, with more than expected needed at the high schools and in special-education classrooms, personnel director Randy Banks said.

About 50 of the new teachers are fresh out of college, and the rest were hired from other districts.

"We were looking for the absolute best," he said.

Recruitment began in April, with more than 15 trips to college campuses to interview graduates. Competition is high, with many districts facing a jump in retirements.

"Worthington has the advantage of its good reputation and of starting the process early," Banks said.

Enrollment figures still are uncertain because of late registrations, George Joseph said Aug.12.

Figures seem to be tracking close to last year, when the school year ended with 9,460 students. With 90 families yet to register, this year's enrollment tentatively is 9,337.

Figures were down slightly in pre-kindergarten through grade 6, with 5,260 enrolled, compared to 5,364 last year.

Middle school enrollment was up slightly, from 1,401 last year to 1,451 this year.

High school enrollment also was up as of Aug. 12. Expected are 2,757 students, compared to 2,695 last year.

Joseph said he is pleased that fewer students would be "overflowed" to other buildings this year.

Overflow occurs when new students enroll at a grade level in a school in which space is insufficient. Those students are bused to a nearby school.

Thus far, only seven students are scheduled to be assigned to new schools because of overflow this year, he said.

Three years ago, that number was 100. Last year, it was 58.

Better anticipation has made the difference, he said. Still, the experience is traumatic for many children and families who move into the district, expecting to attend their neighborhood school, only to be bused out of the neighborhood.

Joseph said he works closely with those families.

"I go out of my way to accommodate their needs," he said.

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