Worthington's Portrait of a Learner
Over the past few years in Worthington, there has been major changes to the district. While many of these changes have been witnessed by WKHS students, the biggest parts for high schoolers have not yet been implemented. Assistant Superintendent Angie Adrean and WKHS Sophomore Elizabeth Bennett were interviewed about their parts in the next part of Worthington’s changes, the Portrait of a Learner project.
The Portrait of a Learner project is where the Worthington administrators have come together alongside many others to come up with a “philosophy” of what they want their students to look like throughout their school careers, Adrean shares. In order to fully understand the thought process behind the program, you need to start at the beginning.
In the Worthington School district, “[their] mission . . . is to empower a community of learners who will change the world . . . and [Portrait of a Learner] is another way to address this mission statement," as explained by Adrean.
The administrators knew that they needed to refresh the way the district was run, and the first step in this process was “moving the sixth grade out of the elementary into the middle school. . . Our elementary schools were crowded, and we knew if we pulled a grade level out and put them in the middle school, we knew that would be better for them educationally,” Adrean continues.
This change for the middle schools continued in their physical updating and construction.
Building on this change with the middle schools, Adrean tells readers, “When we did that, we kind of said, we need to develop a middle school philosophy, like what do we expect of our middle school learner? So we created a middle school learner profile, and we came up with four competencies that we thought all middle school kids needed to succeed.”
“So that was 3 years ago, and now we are doing the same thing with the high schools. There's going to be some changes in Worthington Kilbourne High School, and Thomas Worthington High School, you can see it already when you drive down 161 . . . and it's eventually going to happen here . . . So Dr. Bowers and I kind of said ‘hey we need to maybe do the same process that we did,’ what do we expect from our students when they graduate high school?”
Adrean reveals, “We partnered with Batelle for Kids, a non-profit organization that does this kind of process . . . The goal is to bring together diverse perspectives to help identify our shared aspirations for all of our students . . . We sent out 507 invites . . . I bet we invited about 100 students.”
One student who received this invitation was Sophomore Elizabeth Bennett, who “heard about it from student council and thought it would be a cool way to get involved with other people in the community and share values similar to those in student council”
The meetings are very professional, and they have a very “detailed schedule of what’s on each night's agenda” usually starting with introductions of the leaders. Following this, “They go through several rounds of icebreakers and group discussions to get us comfortable with our groups, and then we get into the main activity," shares Bennett.
Leaving the meetings, Elizabeth mentioned how “It makes [her] feel influential in our community and that [she’s] doing something to help future generations. It also helps [her] feel connected to the teachers and administrators in our community.”
Both Adrean and Bennett agreed that the student perspective greatly adds to the diversity of ideas they have coming in.
“Since I am currently a student, I can provide insight on issues that teachers discuss and how I think the students will respond. I think this helps make students an active part of their learning process instead of handing it over to teachers and administrators who may not always know what works best for us” (Bennett).
If you are interested in being a part of this project and would like to attend the next meeting, it is at 6pm on October 25th in the WKHS commons. Email Mrs. Adrean at email@example.com for more information and to reserve your spot!
Learn more about the Portrait of a Learner progress at Portrait of a Learner