District News

WCSD officials announce opportunity for families to change instructional models

Westerville City School District (WCSD) officials this week provided families with preliminary information about enrolling their students in the Westerville Virtual Academy (WVA) for the second semester, or in the case of those already enrolled in WVA, how to withdraw and change to the established instructional model that is based upon and determined by regional health data.

Annehurst Elementary takes multiple approaches to connect with WVA families An Annehurst Elementary students attending Westerville Virtual Academy waves at the WVA teachers.

The Annehurst Elementary students living in Brookville Apartments gravitated to the complex’s playground where the teachers they had only seen on a computer screen were hosting an ice cream social. 

It was the first in-person meeting between these students — all enrolled in Westerville Virtual Academy — and their teachers, who shared treats, an Annehurst facemask and additional materials to support their learning at home.

Heritage Middle School reimagines lunchroom to account for students’ safety and social needs Lunchroom at Heritage Middle School

The administrators at Heritage Middle School approached their cafeteria set up with the same considerations school leaders everywhere faced: How do you create communal spaces for students to eat and socialize while taking into account health and social distancing guidelines?

Two Westerville schools recognized for facility design in national trade publication Pointview Elementary and Westerville North earn honors for educational design

Renovated learning spaces at Pointview Elementary and Westerville North High School have been recognized for their innovative design in the Fall 2020 Learning By Design Architectural and Interior Design Awards of Excellence.

Westerville South High School Troupe 513 hosts Halloween fundraiser Westerville South Troupe 513 Drive-By Spooktacular

Families can add Westerville South High School as part of their Beggar’s night festivities.

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

The Rotary Club of Westerville recognized its October 2020 Students of the Month during a virtual meeting Oct. 1. 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 North Cheerleading hosts shoe drive fundraiser through Nov. 30

Westerville North Cheerleading is collecting pairs of gently worn, used and new shoes as part of a fundraising drive for training and equipment needs for their competition and sideline teams. The shoe drive runs through Nov. 30.

New district-wide travel club kicks off Travel Week Westerville World Wide image

Explore new cultures and virtually travel — for now — to international destinations as part of Westerville World Wide, a new district-wide travel club organized by educators from all three high schools.

Wilder adds outdoor classroom, thanks to local tree service company Wilder outdoor classroom

As Wilder Elementary first-grade teacher Kate Mantenieks hiked along the Appalachian Trail this summer, she thought about what it would be like for her students to be outside learning among trees. 

Turns out, it was better than she imagined.

Soil lessons, erosion experiments go virtual Soil lesson with Linda Pettit

For years, Westerville elementary students got a deep dive into soil and erosion through in-person interactive demonstrations with Linda Pettit, an environmental education specialist with the Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District.

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.

Elementary and middle school conferences planned; no classes will be held on certain dates

Due to parent-teacher conferences, classes will not be held at Westerville elementary schools or the Early Learning Center preschool on Thursday, Oct. 29 or Friday, Oct. 30. District middle schools will only be closed on Friday, Oct. 30. They will be in session on Thursday, Oct. 29. School will take place as usual at all three high schools – Westerville Central, North and South. Classes will resume on Monday, Nov. 2.

Upcoming Parent Prep workshops feature sessions on technology, mental health Parent Prep logo

As part of the Westerville City School District’s Second Annual Parent Prep workshop series, parents can take sessions on various topics including technology, mental health, the college application process and adjusting to a changing school environment due to COVID-19.

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.

Two Westerville City Schools educators honored at Kindness Rally October Kindness Heroes

Jeff Bracken, a chemistry teacher at Westerville North High School, and Mary Taylor, a retired teacher from Emerson Elementary and the founder of The Friends of Faith Pruden Foundation, were named Kindness Heroes for their service to the Westerville community and beyond at Neighbor2Neighbor Westerville’s Kindness Rally.

Westerville Central team stays connected through Wednesday Competition Compilation of Wednesday Competitions since last year

There’s a sense of anticipation at Westerville Central High School on Wednesdays. 

It all starts with an email from Assistant Principal Nick McIlwain, who officially kicks off the weekly Wednesday Competition with a challenge to the 120 teachers and staff members at the high school. 

Genoa teacher uses music, lights to inspire writing and engagement Tracy Jados' sixth-grade language arts class

It’s 7:45 a.m. on a Wednesday in Room 254 at Genoa Middle School. The classroom lights are low. Pharrell Williams’ song “Happy” is blaring from the computer speakers with the music video playing on the whiteboard. LED lights frame the board, flashing in tandem with the occasional elevated sound — laughter, a round of applause or language arts teacher Tracy Jados’ voice.

Westerville South High School awarded 2020 Purple Star designation for commitment to serving military families ODE Purple Star

Westerville South High School has received the Purple Star designation for its commitment to serving military-connected students and their families, officials with the Ohio Department of Education announced this week.


Cherrington principal surprises students with birthday home visits Cherrington Principal visits students

It has been months since Cherrington Elementary Principal Andy Heck has seen fifth-grader Shu’ayb Roble, his brothers and his parents. 

Emerson second-graders get lessons on germs, hand-washing to stay healthy Germ Lesson at Emerson

The theme to Jenn Steinher’s lessons during the opening weeks of the school year is unlike any she’s taken with her Emerson Elementary second-graders.

Educators from Westerville Central, Westerville North and Westerville South high schools recognized by Westerville Education Foundation Westerville Education Foundation logo

Susannah Lee, an English teacher at WCHS, Catherine Stathulis, an English teacher at WNHS, and Lauren Sefton, a science teacher at WSHS have been named Westerville Education Foundation’s September Teachers of the Month.

Westerville North football players celebrate teammate in victory Pasha Krantz on the football field

The Westerville North Warriors were up by two touchdowns with several minutes left in last Friday’s game against Canal Winchester. 

Ty O’Hearn and several other seniors on the football team approached Coach Bryan Johnson on the sidelines. 

“Coach, it’s Pash’s time,” O’Hearn said. “Let’s get him in there.”

School meal benefits temporarily extended to all families School Meals announcement

All WCSD students can receive free school meals through December 31 or until federal funding runs out — whichever comes first. The changes came from a decision by the United States Department of Agriculture to extend free meal benefits.

District officials planning virtual Parent Prep workshops for families this fall

Given the success of last year’s inaugural Parent Prep workshop series, Westerville City School District (WCSD) officials are finalizing details for a multi-day, all-virtual Parent Prep event later this fall. 

“Although we’re not yet ready to release specific dates or sessions, we simply want families to know that another Parent Prep event is in the works,” said Tami Santa, WCSD's coordinator of student well-being and mental health. “Feedback following last year’s workshops was so positive and supportive that we’re committed to overcoming the challenges before us and providing the experience virtually this year.”

PSAT testing moved to January 2021

The testing date for the PSAT, originally slated for next month, has been delayed to Jan. 26, 2021, district officials said. 

The exam, which serves as a practice for the SAT and ACT and is the qualifying test for the National Merit Scholarship program, will be administered to current high school sophomores and juniors for free.

Hawthorne Elementary team visits families for back to school parade Hawthorne Parade

The parents and students of Hawthorne Elementary lined up at the entrance of the Strawberry Farms subdivision, eager to welcome teachers and staff to their neighborhood as part of the school’s first-ever Back to School parade.

Several kids held signs with messages of love, support and excitement to return to school. Parents stood close by with their phones cued up to take pictures and videos. The parade hadn’t started and already Principal Ernest Clinkscale and Assistant Principal Kristen Millet were getting emotional.

“It was such a good reminder after having been away from kids for six months that they need us and we need them,” Millet said. “This is why we do what we do — to have those connections.”

Middle school engineering teachers team up to provide experiences for students Middle school engineering teachers team up to provide experiences for students

With classes starting remotely this year, Genoa Middle School teacher Lee Smith was looking for ways to provide hands-on learning experiences for his engineering students from home.

His counterparts at the district’s other middle schools were doing the same. So they decided to work together, taking a cohesive approach to curriculum for all middle school engineering students for the first time.

“We can’t do what we’ve done before,” Smith said. 

These middle school engineering classes give students a foundation on the problem-solving and critical-  and creative-thinking skills needed to thrive in engineering programs in high school and beyond. By shifting from in-person to remote learning, the engineering teachers have had to put into practice what they preach: think outside of the box to find innovative solutions for real-world problems.

Where Everybody Belongs program goes virtual to connect students and mentors Where Everybody Belongs program

Dylan Woodruff is eager to meet the group of sixth-graders he’s been paired to support and mentor at Blendon Middle School this school year.

Woodruff, one of Blendon’s 40 eighth-grade student leaders in the Where Everybody Belongs (WEB) program, recalls how helpful his WEB leaders were when he first came to middle school.

“The WEB leaders were my inspiration and who I looked up to,” he said. “They said I would be perfect for it so I’ve been wanting to do this since sixth grade.”

Applicants sought to serve on district’s audit committee

The Westerville City School District’s Board of Education is seeking applicants for two open positions on its audit committee, which serves as a professional link between the Board and external auditors.

New Central Ohio pilot program provides computers, internet hotspots to families in need

A new broadband access pilot will provide refurbished computers and internet hotspots with a year’s worth of prepaid unlimited internet service, to low-income households with students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

WCSD launches Instructional and COVID-19 Dashboard in response to state mandate

The Westerville City School District launched a new dashboard in response to a state mandate requiring all Ohio school districts to report cases of COVID-19 among its school populations.

Health pathway program leads to a promising future for Westerville Central alum Kendel Seabury

It wasn’t long into Principles of Biomedical Science at Westerville Central High School (WCHS) when Kendel Seabury knew she was all in on the district’s health pathway program. 

She was fascinated by lessons on how the body works and considered applying her interest in science to becoming a teacher. But the more classes she took — including Diana Arko’s Medical Interventions course — the more she realized that nursing better aligned with her interests in health care and working with people.

District officials announce adjustment to Early Release Day details

Westerville City Schools had previously announced Sep. 24, Nov. 12, Jan. 28, and March 11 as early release dates. Under traditional school year operations, students would be released from school one hour earlier than normal dismissal times to allow for staff professional development.

Seven Westerville seniors named semifinalists for the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program

Seven Westerville seniors are semifinalists in the 66th annual National Merit Scholarship Program, according to a recent announcement by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC).

Westerville Central High School teacher offers his original works to district educators as background music for videos Matt Rees

When Westerville Central High School social studies teacher Matt Rees stumbled onto an article outlining how videos with copyrighted music are taken down, he immediately thought of his peers who are creating videos for their classes and students. 

He said teaching is considered “fair use” and an exception for copyright protection but the software that catches it and the companies that take it down don't check that. 

Rees, a singer/songwriter away from the classroom, is offering a resource he hopes can be useful to fellow educators: instrumental versions of his original music.

Five Westerville middle school students earn top marks in regional Better Business Bureau essay contest Laws of Life Booklet cover

Students from Genoa, Heritage and Walnut Springs middle schools were recognized for their essays about perseverance, humility and compassion as part of the 2020 Laws of Life essay contest organized by the Better Business Bureau’s Center for Character Ethics.

WCSD counseling team maintains social-emotional support for students through virtual offices Virtual offices for school counselors

To help connect Westerville students and families to social-emotional support services this year, the district’s counseling team set up virtual offices that aim to engage students while maintaining a semblance of a school environment.

New high school courses focus on African American, Race and Equity studies Collage of images for the new African American, Race and Equity studies courses

This year, Westerville’s high schools launched new courses that approach topics such as Black history and culture and social justice in a way that has never been done before in the district. 

Welcome (back) to Westerville Homegrown teachers video cover image

This year, a dozen of the 47 new educators are returning to the site that inspired them to pursue a career in education. They were athletes, student council leaders, class representatives, choir, and band members. 

They left a Westerville graduate. Now, they are a Westerville teacher. 

Meet some of the Westerville alumni who’ve returned to the district as an educator this year.

District announces 2020-2021 testing calendar

Westerville City School District (WCSD) officials today announced the release of the district’s 2020-2021 local testing calendar for students, along with an acknowledgment that the testing schedule remains subject to change.

Opt-in required for school meals for the 2020-21 school year

Due to recent decisions by the United States Department of Agriculture, Westerville families must opt-in for a school breakfast and/or lunch during virtual and/or blended instruction in the 2020-21 school year.

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.

ASL interpreter for Gov. DeWine’s briefings traces passion for language to Westerville South Westerville South High School graduate Marlena "Lena" Smith interprets during Gov. Mike DeWine's COVID-19 briefings.

Marlena “Lena” Smith never saw herself as an American Sign Language interpreter. 

She loved the language as a student at Westerville South High School but worried her learning disability would affect her ability to listen, process and interpret the language fast enough in a live setting. 

Westerville City Schools Board of Education Approves Meeting Schedule for 2020

Westerville City School District Board of Education members approved the following 2020 meeting calendar during their January 13, 2020, organizational meeting: