Column: New school year begins in District 518WORTHINGTON — The new school year is here! Students started classes Monday at the high school, ALC and middle school with the elementary starting today.
By: John Landgaard, District 518, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — The new school year is here! Students started classes Monday at the high school, ALC and middle school with the elementary starting today. The new year will bring a number of changes to the district including things like the parking lot at Prairie Elementary, the activity space at the middle school and — of course — the new gym floor at the high school. Some of the changes have been minor while others may be more noticeable, but all of the changes have been done to enhance and create a great school system for students, parents, staff and the community.
District 518 hired 20 new teachers this year that will provide quality instruction to the many students. These teachers as well as the wonderful returning teachers will continue to work hard providing the educational experience that has become the standard for a world class education.
This leads to the excitement of a growing enrollment in District 518 with a starting fall population of just over 2,600 students. We have a number of new students to the district with many registrations still occurring prior to next week’s start. While it is wonderful that students are seeking the many opportunities that exist in District 518, the district will need to begin planning for the future with the continued enrollment growth estimated to reach more than 2,800 students in the next four years. This is a wonderful position to be in considering most rural districts are struggling to maintain enrollment as well as course offerings or other opportunities.
One of the items that has been looked at is the use of advertising as a way to provide additional financial support to programming or activities sponsored by the district. This direction will continue to be discussed as a way to enhance facilities and grounds or programs that support the total educational experience offered in District. The policy was put into place a few years ago since the district saw an increased interest by businesses or partners to have a presence in or at our facilities. This could allow for a revenue stream to address potential projects that are in need of being addressed, such as upgrading and repair of the baseball field. The advertising opportunities may be endless within the district, but a process and procedure needed to be established in order to manage and control what would be considered appropriate for a school district. For many years school districts have had advertising in the school building, which typically happened for items like scoreboards or you may have seen banners at outdoor facilities. In District 518 this has been limited, but as needs develop, the conversation has been to look at the revenue stream as a way to enhance facilities while controlling the partnerships that are established in the area of advertisement. This district is fortunate that many outstanding partnerships have been established to support our students and a great example of this was the Robotics program started last year in which businesses provided supplies.
As District 518 begins to continue the advertising in the district, these dollars will be utilized for programming that typically does not get funded due to the focus on the classroom experience. The first areas that will see some advertising will be the baseball field, tennis courts and the replacement of at least one scoreboard. The district is excited to work with the business community in this partnership that will hopefully help them grow.
Another item to mention is that the district will be working with American Student Transportation to provide busing service. The busing company is working to provide safe, quality transportation to and from school as well as all the extra busing that happens in the district. We encourage you to contact them if you have questions about the bus routes at the following phone number: 343-2000. You are also welcome to call one of the offices and we would be willing to help you get your questions answered.
We are all excited for the new school year with the many changes that will help to build a strong education system for the Worthington Area. Thanks you for all the great support of District 518, and we look forward to your continued participation and partnerships.
John Landgaard is District 518’s superintendent.