With the approval of Issue 9 and Issue 10, Worthington will shift to sixth- to eighth-grade middle schools in fall 2021.

This will be a significant change for our school district, and that's why we've embarked on a process that will rely not only on the expertise of our staff members, but also will involve input from our community. Our goal is to develop the best learning and physical environment for students.

Our middle school redesign process is being led by our chief academic officer, Angie Adrean, and director of secondary education, Neil Gupta.

They have spent the past eight months working with teachers and administrators from all four Worthington middle schools. They have met with elementary school principals and with each team of Worthington sixth-grade teachers. They have talked with middle school students and engaged high school students to find out what they believe is needed in middle school.

The purpose of all these meetings is to gather feedback for the creation of a middle school learner profile, which essentially is a plan of what we want our middle schoolers to be able to do when they leave middle school. We will design schools and school schedules that are organized to meet the needs of our sixth-, seventh- and eighth- graders in 2021 and beyond.

As we are thinking about the academic design of our sixth- to eighth-grade middle schools, we also are thinking about the building design.

Over the past two months, a team of Worthington Schools staff members, community members and students have met multiple times to develop educational specifications for our building projects. They discussed what it takes to ensure our students are learning in a modern, safe and sustainable building, and they have looked at trends in educational facilities in 2018 and potential future trends in how teachers will deliver instruction.

We want to ensure we build and redesign middle schools that will stand the test of time.

We are just getting started on this journey, but we're determined to create middle schools that empower a community of learners who will change the world. To learn more about the process, go to the middle school education specifications website at dejongrichter.com/worthington/.

Trent Bowers is superintendent of Worthington Schools. Contact him by email at tbowers@wscloud.org.