District News

January is School Board Recognition Month Westerville City Schools Board of Education 2021

Westerville City Schools joins more than 700 school districts throughout Ohio to celebrate January as School Board Recognition Month. 

District begins succession planning, announces reorganization of leadership structure

Westerville City School District Superintendent Dr. John R. Kellogg this week announced a restructuring of his district-level leadership team, which is intended to address succession planning needs, as well as strengthen academic and operational support.

Educators and staff deliver meals, supplies to meet the needs of families Mark Twain counselor Serena Casale visits families at Abbey Lane Apartments

The backseat and trunk of Serena Casale’s SUV are packed with plastic bags filled with packaged meat, milk, eggs, cereal, fruit cups, noodles, juice and other food items for several students at Mark Twain Elementary.

Casale, a school counselor, has often visited students at home since the start of the pandemic, dropping off what families struggle to pick up: Chromebooks, class assignments, school supplies or — as was the case last Friday — food.

Elementary PE teachers collaborate to make remote lessons accessible to all Elementary PE teachers collaborate

After the 2019-20 school year ended, Westerville elementary physical education teachers came together to review their approach to teaching virtually for the first time.

Even though they received positive feedback from families, they wanted to do more. So they pooled their resources slated for updating their class equipment to purchase video recording gear.

The plan: Collaborate to design and produce video lessons that make PE accessible to all students. 

Genoa students launch 140 novels as part of National Novel Writing Month Genoa students writing

Each year, the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) challenges participants to write 50,000 words of a novel in 30 days. 

Genoa Middle School embraced the challenge with students from all three grade levels as well as those attending the Westerville Virtual Academy. In November, students wrote more than 613,811 words in 30 days, launching more than 140 novels.

WCHS student places first in poetry competition focused on future careers Alyssa Boyd

Alyssa Boyd, a Westerville Central High School junior attending the Westerville Virtual Academy, placed first among Ohio teens and adults in the National Career Development Association 2020 Art & Poetry Contest.

The Ohio Career Development Association will now send her poem, “Unlocked,” to the national level to compete with other submissions across the United States.

Westerville Education Foundation funds 33 requests in Many Voices: Diverse Library project Many Voices logo

More than 900 books will be distributed throughout Westerville schools as part of the Westerville Education Foundation’s Many Voices: Diverse Library Project.

The foundation was able to fund each of the 33 project requests in 15 schools. Collections will be delivered to teachers this month for use in their classrooms this winter.

WCSD educators, board member, among those working to launch racial equity group in the Westerville-area community

An effort to launch a racial equity group in the Greater Westerville community includes several Westerville City School District educators, administrators, and a board member.

In all, 30 community members across various sectors in the area will serve as a launch team to establish the organization and hire a community chief diversity officer.

Deadline to nominate annual GEM award is Feb. 5

Westerville students, staff and community are invited to nominate district staff and adult volunteers for a Great Educator Mentor (GEM) Award, which is presented to individuals who go the extra mile to make a positive impact in the classroom and schools.

Food Services Department focused, determined to keep students fed during COVID-19 pandemic Food Services staff greet families during Saturday meal pick-up

Whether Westerville students are in school or working remotely from home, they need to be fed. 

For the district’s Food Services department, it has meant adapting to the ever-changing environment this school year, from how they plan menus to adjusting their operations to ensure students have the meals they need.

Manager of Food Service and Purchasing Kari Dennis said that preparing meals with a cohort of students in school, another cohort at home, and those enrolled in Westerville Virtual Academy has sometimes been difficult. However, her staff has risen to the challenge.

Two WNHS students win Voices of Hope virtual poetry slam competition Voices of Hope poetry slam winners meet with Josh Dun and Debby Ryan

Westerville North High School freshman Sage Hyde and sophomore Jeffrey Siefker won the Voices of Hope virtual poetry slam and met with Twenty-One Pilots’ drummer Josh Dun and his wife, actress Debby Ryan at Asterisk Supper Club on Saturday.

Westerville Intra-District Open Enrollment Applications Available

Parents or guardians wishing to apply to have their children attend a school different from their school of attendance must complete and submit an Intra-district Open Enrollment Application. 

Walnut Springs eighth-grader invited to Regional Spelling Bee meet Preston Montler

Preston Montler, an eighth-grader at Walnut Springs Middle School, has been invited to compete in a regional spelling competition this spring sponsored by Ohio University School of Business after taking first place in a school-wide competition.

By competing in the regional meet, Montler has a chance to compete at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. this summer.

Rotary Club of Westerville January 2021 Student of the Month Rotary Club of Westerville's January Students of the Month

The Rotary Club of Westerville recognized its January 2021 Students of the Month during a virtual meeting Jan. 7.

Partnership between Longfellow Elementary EL teacher and Ohio State Spanish faculty member creates stories for Spanish-speaking students and families Bilingual Storybook Project between Longfellow Elementary and Ohio State

Longfellow kindergartner Bridget Moreno Serrano likes superheroes, mermaids and monkeys — all of which have the makings for an interesting story. 

After learning more about Serrano, Patrick McNally and Juliana Reising, two Ohio State students enrolled in Honors Spanish Composition, each created personalized children’s stories written in English and Spanish so Serrano’s parents who are native Spanish speakers can read it to her at home.

WCSD Gifted Education department hosts Gifted Gatherings Gifted Gatherings image

To give students face-to-face time with each other and educators, Westerville City Schools’ Gifted Education department launched “Gifted Gatherings” for elementary students during their remote learning weeks this year.

In the fall, students in grades 3 to 5 across 14 elementaries attended virtual gatherings on various topics such as Book Clubs, Math Madness, Baffling Befuddlement and Community Service.

WSHS science teachers create games to help students deepen their understanding of biology unit Membrane Transport game at WSHS

Westerville South High science teacher Mark Schmidley admits the membrane transport unit in his biology class is not the most exciting topic.

“It’s hard to get some people fired up about ‘Oh man, glucose moving against the gradient. Transport proteins,’” he said.

Westerville Education Foundation grants support North theatre programs during the pandemic

Thanks to $2,050 in grants from the Westerville Education Foundation, Westerville North High School’s theatre students can participate in a state theatre conference from home as well as bring theatre performances into the homes of community members.

WCSD top school district in national Green Garage Contest

Westerville City Schools was the highest-ranked school district in the nation in a contest that recognizes progressive and environmentally-committed transportation fleets. 

Westerville Education Foundation Teachers of the Month for November and December Westerville Education Foundation logo

TJ Potterf, a teacher at Pointview Elementary; Katie Summers, a teacher at the ELC Preschool and Leslie Alicea, a teacher at Cherrington Elementary have been named Westerville Education Foundation’s December Teachers of the Month.

Teachers recognized for the foundation’s November Teachers of the Month award include Jennifer Steinher at Emerson Elementary, Angela Faust at Whittier Elementary and Kelly Balaz at Hanby Elementary.

Sessions from November’s Parent Prep workshop series now available online Parent Prep logo

Parents who missed last month’s Parent Prep workshop series or wanted to revisit topics can now watch the recorded sessions online.

District-wide reading initiative for students, staff and Westerville community focuses on race and social justice Reading for Justice: One community One Book sponsors

Westerville students, staff and community members are invited to participate in a shared book read across the district and city to inspire conversations around race and social justice.

Animals bring WCHS’ ecology lessons to life McAninch holding corn snake

Kristen McAninch had covered the terrain and plant life of desert ecosystems. Now, it was time to introduce her Ecology students at Westerville Central High School to some of the animals that inhabit those environments.

Johnson named Coach of the Year, several students recognized in OHSAA Division I All-Ohio teams Westerville North High School Football Coach Bryan Johnson

Bryan Johnson, head football coach at Westerville North High School, has been named Coach of the Year and several football players across the district’s three high schools have been named on the OHSAA Division I All-Ohio teams, according to an announcement by the Ohio Prep Sports Writers Association this week.

Eleven proposals awarded 2020 Fall Grant from the Westerville Education Foundation Westerville Education Foundation

A girls empowerment program, classroom sets of ukuleles, and a community-wide reading initiative focused on books about anti-racism are among the 11 proposals awarded a 2020 Fall Grant from the Westerville Education Foundation (WEF). 

Westerville Central High School named a SWACO School Recycling Champion SWACO School Recycling Champion

Westerville Central High School has been named a Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio (SWACO) School Recycling Champion thanks to science teacher Anthony Forrest and his efforts in building a sustainable and comprehensive school recycling program. 

Walnut Springs eighth-grader recognized for catching error in national magazine Grumpy Cat correction

As students in Jill Shaffer’s class at Walnut Springs Middle School were reading the November issue of Scholastic Magazine, eighth-grader Jenna caught an error in an article featuring Grumpy Cat, a cat that achieved internet fame for its “grumpy” facial appearance.

Westerville Education Challenge provides ‘rocks of support’ to teachers, staff Rocks of Support by the Westerville Education Challenge

To show support for Westerville teachers, staff and administrators, the Westerville Education Challenge (WEC) created more than 1,300 “rocks of support” that feature messages of encouragement for their work during the pandemic.

Rotary Club of Westerville Students of the Month for December 2020 Rotary Club of Westerville's December Students of the Month

The Rotary Club of Westerville recognized its December 2020 Students of the Month during a virtual meeting Dec. 3. Throughout the school year, from October through May, the Club honors four students from local high schools each month. Working with the school principals and counselors, one student each month is chosen from Westerville Central, Westerville North, Westerville South and St. Francis DeSales high schools. The students, their parents, and the school administrators are introduced and honored at the Rotary Club’s first weekly luncheon each month.

Westerville Education Challenge launches online social-emotional resource center for students, staff and families SERC image

To support the social and emotional needs of students in the Westerville City School District, the Westerville Education Challenge (WEC) launched an online social-emotional resource center available to students, families and staff on Tuesday.

Conservative spending, strategic use of federal aid help reduce negative impact of coronavirus on district finances

Last spring, school systems across the nation were challenged to quickly assess, address, and adapt to the worldwide pandemic. Whether implementing remote instruction models to keep students learning, modifying meal service to keep students fed, stockpiling personal protective equipment to keep students and employees safe, or shifting resources to maintain operations, these rapid adjustments left school leaders concerned about the overall impact the coronavirus could have on their respective districts.

Twenty A+ Award winners recognized at Nov. 23 board meeting

Twenty Westerville City Schools employees were honored for their contributions to students, dedication to their schools and their commitment to district values as part of the A+ Award recognition at Monday’s school board meeting.

WCSD Treasurer and Superintendent advocate for new school funding reform bill in testimony before Ohio House leaders

Westerville City Schools Treasurer Nicole Marshall and Superintendent Dr. John Kellogg presented testimony before the Ohio House Finance Committee on Nov. 17 in support of the Fair School Funding plan, a new school funding formula that would reduce the state’s overreliance on local taxpayers to pay for public education and provide a more equitable state model for funding schools.

Podcast for Westerville North’s African American studies courses showcase students’ stories, demonstrate learning Student recording episode for True North podcast.

The True North podcast started as a possible assignment for Westerville North High School’s African American history and literature courses. 

Alcott Elementary PTA reimagines fundraising with October Owl Prowl Alcott Elementary Owl Fundraiser

Students at Alcott Elementary had a hoot waking up to find their front yards decorated with large, colorful owl cutouts as part of a fundraiser organized by the school’s PTA.

WCSD launches new peer-led support initiative for high school students Hope Squad logo

Over the coming months, Westerville City Schools will be rolling out a new peer-led initiative focused on mental health and suicide prevention/education.

Players, teams, coaches recognized for achievements during 2020 Fall Season 2020 Fall Season Highlights

Westerville South High School celebrated its first OCC Capital Division championship in a decade. Westerville North High School had its first winning season since 2004. Six athletes received Player of the Year honors while four coaches were recognized as Coach of the Year in their respective sports. 

The highlights from the 2020 Fall season include:

Five WCSD seniors sign National Letter of Intent National Signing Day Nov. 11

In the first wave of National Signing Days which run through April, five Westerville City Schools seniors signed their letter of intent for a collegiate sport this week.

From the military to the classroom: New WSHS science teacher driven to serve Tyler Rutledge

Tyler Rutledge has been driven to serve, whether as a medic in the U.S. Army Reserves, a prospective nurse or a science teacher at Westerville South High School (WSHS).

The newest addition to WSHS’ science department has taken a non-traditional path to the classroom. But all of his experiences have shaped his vision for working with students.

Minute meetings at Blendon reveal students’ needs and concerns: stress management, making friends Will Yanni blows bubbles as part of a yoga and breathing break at Blendon Middle School.

At each start of the school year, the counselors at Blendon Middle School hold “minute meetings” with every student as a way to get a pulse on how they are feeling, what concerns they have, and if they have a safe and trusted adult to talk to while at school.

Warrior2Warrior peer-tutoring program at North helps support need for academic help Warrior2Warrior program leaders in the Warrior2Warrior room

Ronan LaRoche was falling behind with his Geometry assignments and couldn’t understand the graphing problems in his homework. As his mother looked for tutors to help, she learned about Westerville North High School’s Warrior2Warrior program, where students provide academic assistance to their peers in need.

WCSD nurses outline COVID-19 procedures in schools

The school nurses at Westerville City School District have collaborated on communication to help families better understand the procedures they are following in school related to COVID-19.

Hawthorne Elementary PTO engage families, show support for staff with care packages Hawthorne PTO distribute stress kits to staff

The new leadership behind Hawthorne Elementary’s PTO mapped out monthly packages to send to families as a way to remain connected and show their support this year.

They planned the themes of the packages with the school administrators, dedicating their first one to a topic parents said they needed support with: stress management.

And with all the stress and anxiety their teachers and staff are feeling this year, the PTO responded by creating “staff survival kits.”

School meals free through the 2020-21 school year

All students enrolled in the Westerville City School District can receive free school meals through the end of the 2020-21 school year.

The update stems from a decision by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to extend the free meal program for the rest of the school year.

Realignment Committee set to resume work

After completing only two meetings last spring, work of the volunteer community committee tasked with developing attendance boundaries for the district’s new elementary and middle school buildings came to a halt due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Westerville Central’s All 4 One group brings students and faculty together to discuss race, equity

The students in Westerville Central High School’s (WCHS) All 4 One group wanted to know why they were reading “To Kill a Mockingbird.” 

The book, which includes racial slurs and profanity, has long been a source of controversy since being the subject of classroom study as early as 1963. Many black students at Central, including those part of the All 4 One group, have harbored concerns about the Harper Lee novel and how it marked their first encounter with “the N-word” in a classroom setting. They said there was little to no discussion about the racial epithet, its history and how it has been used.