Brookside Elementary School took center stage during the Worthington Board of Education meeting Jan. 27.

Brookside Elementary School took center stage during the Worthington Board of Education meeting Jan. 27.

During a short meeting on a cold night, the students, staff and parents from the school were recognized for being named a High Progress School of Honor by the Ohio Department of Education.

The award, given to only 37 elementary schools in Ohio this year, recognizes student academic achievement in low-income schools.

Schools of honor rank in the top 10 percent of schools as ranked by gains in reading and mathematics in all tested grades for the past five years.

To qualify, the schools must have at least 40 percent of its students qualify as low income, which is defined as qualifying for free or reduced-price lunches.

The students work hard at Brookside and are supported by the staff and community, said Jennifer Wene, the district's director of academic achievement.

Brookside has a school-yard-enhanced learning philosophy, taking advantage of its pond and gardens for curricular lessons.

"You go to Brookside and you put down roots and you grow," Wene said.

Fritz Monroe was the principal of Brookside for many years, retiring last year.

He attended the board meeting to accept the congratulations.

"I always say to my teachers: If we love our kids and give them a safe place to be, they will grow," he said.

New principal Dan Girard will carry on the traditions of the school, he said.

"Dan has that innate caring for kids," he said.

In other matters, the board voted 3-2 to permit board member Charlie Wilson to use the district's accumulated credit-card points to pay his airfare to and from Washington, D.C., to attend the National School Boards Association's advocacy institute Jan. 31 through Feb.4.

The Ohio School Boards Association will pay his registration, and he will pay for his lodging, Wilson said.

He said he would have the district pay for only airfare if it is a reasonable cost. He did not define "reasonable."

"If it is very high, I will drive," he said in an interview following the meeting.

Board president Julie Keegan and vice president Marc Schare voted against the idea.

Also at the meeting, the board accepted the retirements of Dorothy Gulla, fifth-grade teacher at Bluffsview Elementary School; Susan Hedges, speech-language pathologist; Nancy Massman, math curriculum leader; Michael Maynard, music teacher at Thomas Worthington High School; and Mary Yeager, intervention specialist at Kilbourne Middle School.