It was a pleasure to have Board President Katy Simon Holland and Clerk John Mayer join me for my visit at Wooster High School. Principal Leah Keuscher, her administrative team, and counseling team greeted us and spent time telling us about the great things happening at Wooster HS.
We spent time learning about the graduation initiatives at Wooster. We talked about their continued graduation rate growth and the targeted interventions to support this momentum. This year, they added a new study hall where junior and senior International Baccalaureate (IB) students help younger students learn ways to develop academic success. The school has continued to have success with their Saturday Academy, intersessions, peer tutors, after school tutoring, and parent nights. The team detailed their work during the summer with incoming freshmen students and the importance of their relationship with Vaughn Middle School staff members who help identify students for this program.
Additionally, Wooster HS has implemented new scheduling formats to allow for teams in freshmen and sophomore core classes. This will support students’ ability to earn core class credits early in their high school journey leading to greater success and fewer barriers in the future. Principal Keuscher praised her staff for always rising to the challenge and doing everything they can to support their students.
Wooster High School’s administrative team and staff members embrace student voice. They provide many opportunities for students to provide input on their school and issues that affect them. The school has approximately 30 clubs with a high level of student involvement. During National Bullying Prevention Month in October, students watched The Laramie Project play. Thirty Wooster Players – high school theater club members – took the stage in this powerful play. Afterwards, students were able to participate in an audience talkback and have deeper conversations about the play. I was told that student participation was impressive and they were highly engaged. Students also recently practiced a Digital-School Day and completed their School Climate Survey.
It is always a pleasure to visit classrooms and see the great work done by our teachers and students. In Roseanna D’Arcangelo’s freshman English class, students were working on their first argumentative essay of the year. They were drafting strong topic sentences and opening paragraphs to substantiate their views. I spoke with several students and enjoyed hearing them verbalize their thoughts.
Students in Erin Atkinson’s Individuals & Societies class were making posters about conflict resolution for presentations. The students were intent and focused. I spoke with students in several groups to learn about their work. I also spoke with Ms. Atkinson; her passion and love of teaching was evident.
Nearly 25 freshmen joined me for a special lunch. I highlighted my goal for all of them to reach the finish line and graduate from high school. We talked about the love and concern that Wooster administrators and staff members have for them and all of the resources available to help them reach the graduation stage. We also talked about the important role of friends and being involved in high school activities. Students asked me questions about the District’s dress code for students, why I visit schools, and Digital School Days. I shared with them our District’s commitment to help them achieve their educational goals and our true desire for them to have choices after their high school graduation.
My thanks to all of the Wooster Colts for hosting me. I enjoyed the time I spent with all of the students, staff, and administrators. They have started the 2018-2019 school well and I know they will continue their great work throughout the school year. Go Colts!