I had a wonderful time visiting Wooster High School. Principal Leah Keuscher and her team of assistant principals, counselors, and IB coordinators are providing innovative and intensive supports for all students. The team shared information about their work with students, parents, and a staff that ensures each student is on track for academic progress and success. Their work revolves around intensive parent engagement which comes in the form of parent meetings, activities for parents to become more aware of their students’ academic progress, teacher contact with parents to highlight student successes, and personal phone calls to parents. These efforts are deliberate and take place throughout the four years of high school.
I enjoyed hearing about how counselors connect with both students and parents in each grade level. The staff embraces early engagement opportunities with students and parents that focus on factual information showing where a student is at and details to what needs to be accomplished to get them where they need to be. The school staff works tirelessly to provide the supports for students to include Saturday Academies, After School Tutoring, Credit Recovery through A+, Mastery Exam, finals study sessions, Intermission during winter and spring breaks, and Summer School.
The school staff also works in tandem with Vaughn Middle School for the IB Middle Years Program to start students off and continue as they transition to high school. Part of the curriculum for this program includes two years of language for all students. Wooster offers a nice variety of world languages and is planning to expand on this next school year. Additionally, all students take four years of both math and science, too.
Visiting with students and teachers in their classrooms is always one of the most interesting parts of my school visits. I enjoy seeing the great learning taking place and having a chance to talk to students and their teachers. Students in Bo Seller’s drafting class were planning, measuring, and starting to build tool boxes. Each student was making their own tool box and I helped one group of students cut the metal sheets that will form their tool boxes. All of the students were focused and excited as they moved from concept to hands-on work.
Jandyra Pond’s Spanish class had Spanish speaking students. The students were learning information that supports their ELA studies. The curriculum was relevant and students having a classroom discussion where all students were involved.
Next, we visited Marco Real’s Spanish class. I enjoyed talking to students and visiting with students I met last school year. It is great to hear about the academic progress they are making and hear about what is going on in their lives. The Spanish lesson talked about proper grammar as it related to academic literature.
In Rene Flores’ Geometry class, students were practicing and preparing for a test. They were all asking questions and working collaboratively to learn the information.
I visited with Tim Woodside and his IB Calculus students. The students were working on a lesson and everyone was intently focused. I talked to a few students and was happy to hear them tell me how much they love their math class!
My last visit was to Heather Clewett and Courtney Alarcon’s Chemistry class. The students in this honors class were working in their groups completing a lab write-up. I also had the pleasure of talking to some of the students about the Journaling book. This chemistry journal was a comprehensive and personal tool with notes, information, labs, diagrams, and explanations that help them to remember and understand the work they are doing in the class. The kids were really proud of the journals and have plans to keep these as they move onto college.
I was joined by a large, fun group of freshman students in the career center for a special luncheon. I talked to the kids about the importance of continuing to move forward regardless of the obstacles they face. We all face challenges and must use these as learning experiences. We talked about the vast number of resources for all students at Wooster. At first the kids were shy about asking questions but once they warmed up we had some great dialog about many meaningful topics.
My thanks to Leah and her entire team at Wooster for a spectacular visit. The dedication of the staff and love for their students is evident throughout the school. It was a real pleasure to spend time with everyone at Wooster HS!