During the past several years, Worthington Schools has experienced an increase in student enrollment. This growth has affected our schools in different ways, especially at our high schools.
Currently, Thomas Worthington High School has nearly 1,800 students enrolled, and Worthington Kilbourne High School has almost 1,300 students. Capacity at Thomas Worthington is 1,854, and Worthington Kilbourne is 2,037.
Both high schools are projected to grow during the next five years, and the enrollment growth at Thomas Worthington soon will exceed the capacity of the building.
To operate our buildings more efficiently, we need to move an elementary school attendance area from Thomas Worthington to Worthington Kilbourne. The decision to move forward with the change was made based on the recommendation of the community-led facilities task force.
To determine which elementary school would need to change feeder patterns, a community committee has been established to assist with the decision making and transition planning for families. More than 30 people were invited to participate, and each school in the district is represented.
The group has identified its top considerations for school selection in addition to building capacity: student diversity, travel time and distance to schools. Together, the committee and district leaders will put a recommendation before the school board for a vote by this spring. That timing allows us to communicate with affected families before the students begin middle school.
When the elementary school has been identified to shift from Thomas Worthington to Worthington Kilbourne, the community committee's next task would be to adjust the feeder patterns of each high school.
With sixth-graders being moved from elementary buildings to middle school buildings, the renovations happening at all the middle schools and the reopening of Perry Middle School, the committee would need to work through balancing capacity at each middle school building.
It is our plan that by the beginning of 2020, all decisions on affected schools would be finalized. Then, during the fall of 2021, the new feeder patterns would take shape.
We understand change is never easy, which is why our plans also will include orientations, any necessary training and welcoming activities for the affected students and families.
Balancing our high school enrollment is critical to the future of our schools. It's important that we use our space in an effective way so we can provide students at both high schools with equitable opportunities.
Trent Bowers is superintendent of Worthington Schools. Contact him by email at email@example.com.