Worthington News

Board hears updates on 2013-14 goals

Administrators and counselors are reaching out to at-risk high school students in an attempt to improve the graduation rates at Worthington's high schools.

Even the district's youngest students can explain three ways to solve math problems, can point to learning targets and expect and receive quick feedback from their teachers -- all indicators of a learning philosophy called "formative learning."

A committee of teachers, administrators, parents and students is writing a three-year plan for new technology infrastructure, equipment and educational uses throughout the district.

Those were just three of a long list of updates to the district's 2013-14 goals that were presented during the Worthington school board's meeting last week.

"Thank you for taking two hours to discuss the most important work in the school district," Superintendent Thomas Tucker said at the conclusion of the Feb. 24 meeting.

It was the board's first work session, a format undertaken at the suggestion of board president Julie Keegan. During one meeting each month, the board will have in-depth discussion of topics and issues instead of dealing with routine business.

The goals were written by Tucker and the board last summer.

"We have made tremendous progress over the last several months," he said.

Increasing the four-year graduation rate to 93 percent and the five-year graduation rate to 95 percent is one of the many goals.

Making sure communication is open and relationships are strong are the key ingredients in reducing drop-out rates, Worthington Kilbourne High School principal Angie Adrean said.

At Kilbourne, counselors meet weekly to discuss students who are struggling, and deans and administrators are each assigned as advocates of 10 or 12 students, she said.

"It's just doing small things well over time," she told the board.

Other 2013-14 goals addressed at the meeting are as follows:

• Increasing the performance index to a point above the 104.1 on the last state report card.

• Mastering new learning standards by all students.

• Completing an audit and holding focus groups to discuss communications and developing an action plan for improvement.

• Updating and modernizing all school board policies.

• Designing a master technology plan that addresses infrastructure, equipment, options for student learning and training/professional development.

• Implementing the new state-mandated teacher and principal evaluation systems.

• Managing the schools so that an operating levy wouldn't be needed until 2016-17.

• Submitting proposals for the governor's Straight-A program of educational grants.

• Providing resources to support new learning standards, instructional practices and assessments throughout the district.