Westerville City Schools: continuously planning and poised for success
Westerville City Schools is Ohio’s twelfth-largest public school system, educating approximately 15,000 children annually. Some students are wealthy, but we also serve many children from economically disadvantaged families. Some are advanced, while others struggle academically. Some enjoy stable households, while others are homeless. Approximately 1,400 pupils are English Language Learners, who last year spoke 60 native languages and represented 63 countries. Nearly 15 percent of our students have an identified disability while almost 19 percent are gifted. A snapshot of the children in this community reflects the melting pot that is America and we wouldn’t want it any other way.
Our schools enjoy a track record of attaining high levels of student achievement. This in large part is due to our dedicated, passionate teachers; administrators and support staff who are committed to student success; and children who are motivated to learn. Add a robust group of parent volunteers, visionary business partners, and supportive residents, and you have a recipe for strong schools in a vibrant community.
Despite the recent challenges of educating thousands of students during a global pandemic, our schools are well positioned for continued success. Fiscal stewardship is taken very seriously by our Board of Education and everyone responsible for budget management. Voters approved a 2019 ballot issue that helped us to remain fiscally stable through the uncertainties of the pandemic and funded the first phase of our 10-year Facilities Master Plan. In addition to providing much-needed renovations, expansions, and safety enhancements at schools across the district, we will open a new elementary school in 2022 and a new middle school in 2023. These facilities will help address projected enrollment growth and put two schools where they are very much needed in the southern part of our district. We are grateful to the community for its ongoing support.
While providing appropriate, inspirational learning spaces is important, what and how students are taught remains critical to their overall success. We remain focused on instructional strategies and professional development that improve student achievement. Guided by Ohio's state-adopted academic content standards, we manage a rigorous and evolving curriculum that is supported with current instructional materials. We link our educators with the resources and support necessary to ensure that students are being prepared to succeed in school and life beyond their time with us.
Recognizing, honoring, and respecting the diversity of our schools and community has been a key tenet of our district for several years. District leaders continue to engage the community and work together towards a more equitable and just school system.
While completing a Strategic Planning update during the 2013-14 academic year, participants identified diversity and access to opportunities as major themes. The district in 2014 created and filled a position to lead what is now our Educational Equity Office. The work of this office over the past seven years has permeated our district, resulting in numerous equity initiatives that accelerate student achievement while celebrating diversity. The increased numbers and diversity of students now taking Advanced Placement classes and college entrance exams is just one of many examples that illustrate the impact of this important work.
We like to say that the Westerville City School District is “Where You Belong.” We live up to that motto every day by providing learning environments that are warm, welcoming, and caring, while at the same time offering access to opportunities for all who comprise our diverse community of learners. The work we do is planned, aligned, and intentional. As a result, our schools, students and community remain poised to experience continued success together.