Worthington is a thriving community for families, and Worthington Schools' current enrollment projections seem to confirm that story.
Our school district is experiencing changes that we have not witnessed in decades. We began a facilities-planning process three years ago so that we could prepare for the future responsibly.
Even though we might experience growing pains at one point or another, we are doing what we can to take care of some immediate needs while at the same time we look long-term to create a sensible path for stability well into the future.
By academic year 2021-22, we are looking at an all-time high of 11,000 students; previously, the highest enrollment was 10,818 students in 1995. Because of this growth, we've already modified our capacity numbers for our middle school renovations to add space for another 180 students.
Phase 1 of the Worthington Schools Master Facilities Plan continues to take shape for remodeling and rebuilding our middle schools, and the latest drawings from our architects are impressive. I hope residents have been able to attend one of our community meetings to learn more about the specific renovations at each of our four middle school buildings. If not, please check the district Facebook page at facebook.com/worthingtonschools or Worthington Schools website at worthington.k12.oh.us for times and locations of future meetings.
To begin to balance our high school enrollment, it was recommended and approved that Slate Hill Elementary School students move to a Worthington Kilbourne High School feeder pattern in two years. Our plan to familiarize Slate Hill students with the high school will begin with a "Welcome to WKHS" celebration scheduled this month.
Additionally, viable options for middle school feeder-pattern shifts are emerging, even though final decisions won't be made until the fall when we have more accurate enrollment data.
We've also been able to make some immediate upgrades to our schools and provide important services and opportunities for our students.
The district installed a new visitor-management system at each building as part of ongoing efforts to keep students safe.
This fall, we will have a guidance counselor and a nurse in every building full-time, which is important in helping our students stay mentally and physically healthy throughout the day to be at their best to learn.
We also are purchasing new band and orchestra instruments, which have not been replaced in decades, and before next school year, we are looking to replace about 4,000 Chromebooks.
Worthington has a lot to offer students, and we are lucky to be living in such a supportive community.
Although there never may be enough money to do everything, we must strike a balance and use our resources wisely.
We will not lose sight of our goal of providing an excellent education for students that our committee expects, and at the same time, in a financially responsible manner for residents.
Trent Bowers is superintendent of Worthington Schools. Contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.