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Column: District 518 - A world-class education

District 518

WORTHINGTON -- We live in a world that is very global in nature and transforms on a daily basis, which puts pressure on school districts to meet the needs of students, parents and communities. These continual changes are present in the Worthington School District in the number of course offerings, elective options at all grade levels, interventions of support for student learning, the quality learning environments available and the outstanding support of the district residents/businesses. As our district continues to grow along with the expectation on education (legislatively and community based), our school system will be moving through a continuous improvement model to ensure a quality education for all.

In District 518, this is evident in the enrollment and demographics that continually change from year to year. The enrollment projections for next year show that the district will experience an increase, with the kindergarten class estimated to be 240 students and the elementary having an enrollment totaling 1056 students. The middle school is projected to have an enrollment of 705 students for next year, which is approximately 10 students less than this year. The high school is estimated to have an enrollment of approximately 760 students in grades 9-12. In total numbers this would be an increase of approximately 65 students for the coming school year, primarily in the elementary.

It is great to be one of only a few rural districts in the state to have an increasing enrollment that represents students from many different cultures and backgrounds. District 518 has wonderful students that work very hard to achieve excellence in academics as well as extracurricular activities. The student population is 62 percent diverse this year with student backgrounds being Caucasian (38 percent), Native American (0.5 percent), Hispanic (43.5 percent), Asian (12.5 percent) and black (5.5 percent). This diverse background in District 518 allows our students to experience a real-world community while receiving a world-class education from quality teachers and support personnel. District 518 is proud to offer students the many different options to receive their education with various course offerings, experiences and opportunities that will prepare them for the future.

This leads me to the time of the year when parents consider their educational options during the transitional times in their child's education. These transitional times are usually starting kindergarten, grade 5, grade 6, grade 7, grade 8 or grade 9. At these stages, parents are generally considering the educational opportunities they would like to have their children experience. The questions parents generally should be asking are: What are the section size classes in your district? What support services are available in the district? Does the district have expectations for each child's success? Does the district offer elective course options for students and how many? What are the opportunities for my child outside the normal school day? These questions are just a few that parent should consider when looking at their child's educational future. All of us would like our children to have more opportunities than we parents had, and we believe that in District 518 these opportunities are available for all.

In District 518 we are very fortunate to have a strong school, educationally and financially, that is supported by the communities it serves in so many ways. I personally believe we are fortunate to live in a strong community that is being proactive in many ways. All you have to do is look around the area to see the positive changes that are happening throughout the area. Someone recently told me that "The Worthington area is the best kept secret in the state and tri-state region," and I would agree that this is a great place to live.

The Worthington School District is continually looking to improve an already quality education system that offers students many different options for their educational future. We would encourage you to visit our fine facilities and ask questions about the education system. Please feel free to contact one of the buildings or district office to set up an appointment. We all have the same goal in mind, and that is to have a quality educational system for every child.

John Landgaard is District 518's superintendent.