Frequently Asked Questions - Phoenix
Phoenix is a community where students, parents, teachers, and community members are actively involved in teaching and learning from each other. The responsibility is shared for providing a stimulating environment in which all students are encouraged to reach their highest potential. We value self-direction, having choices, the relevance of curriculum, students being responsible for their own learning, and the evaluation of their own progress. We strive to make students feel valued and a part of their school. Along with the Worthington Schools graded course of study, the program also includes:
- Creative Start
- Flexible block scheduling, allowing for integration across disciplines/curricula
- Focus on wellness
- Global education
- Mastery assessment
- Student voice and student choice
- Increased opportunity for student/teacher interaction
- Phoenix Forum
- Regularly scheduled, monthly parent meetings
Whether parents decide to stay at their current schools or enroll at Phoenix, all parents should feel confident that their children are receiving the best education available. Phoenix simply provides parents and students another choice when evaluating educational options. We hope that all parents take the time to investigate what Phoenix provides in terms of philosophy and environment to determine if it is a good fit for their children.
To apply to be a Phoenix 7th grader, parents/students must complete the current Phoenix Middle School application and submit it online no later than the deadline date. Students that have submitted completed applications on time will be entered into a lottery and randomly selected. All students not selected will be placed on a waitlist.
Worthington School officials reserve the right to remove any application that is incomplete.
Yes. Phoenix houses approximately 84 seventh graders and 80 eighth graders.
7th Grade Wait List Practices
- Following the Spring Phoenix lottery, student spaces will be confirmed. If lottery student spaces are declined, waitlist student s will be contacted and offered spaces until all are filled.
- Waitlist calls will be placed based on home school. If a student declines, the next student on the waitlist will be contacted.
- If the waitlist for a middle school is exhausted, enrollment numbers from the other two middle schools will determine the next waitlist.
- Students remaining on the waitlist will remain on the list through their 8th-grade year.
8th Grade Wait List Practices
- Phoenix staff will begin to contact the 8th-grade waitlist once enrollment numbers for the class go beneath 80.
- The first waitlist that will be contacted is the home middle school of the student leaving. If a student accepts a position, the process will stop.
- If all members from the home middle school waitlist have declined, Phoenix enrollment numbers from the other two middle schools will determine the next waitlist.
- If all students decline from the waitlists, students from original home middle school will then be asked. The process will then repeat until the position is filled.
Phoenix houses 160-170 seventh and eighth-grade students and is staffed by 14 full-time teachers, as well as various part-time staff.
We draw our students from ALL over the Worthington City School district. Worthington City Schools is one of the top school districts in the Columbus, Ohio area. 90% of our students move on to higher education; 80% of our teachers have a master's degree or more; we are the second largest employer within our district.
Phoenix Middle School adheres to a mastery-based approach to education. This approach requires students to demonstrate all essential knowledge and skills of a specific course, as determined by district graded course of study. The underlying assumption is that it is more important to assess how well each student achieves the specific course goals rather than how much each student achieves in relation to the other students in the class. All students at Phoenix are expected to perform at mastery level.
At Phoenix, we believe that learning is more than accumulating points and competing for the top grades in the class. It is crucial that students grow to be accountable for what they are learning. Teacher feedback is important, but only in the sense that students use it to understand their strengths as well as the areas that need improvement. One way we address academic accountability is through "mastery grading". Our dream for every student is to see them motivated intrinsically rather than by an endless competition for points and percentages.
Phoenix Forum is a time of student voice. Instead of a traditional student council, Phoenix follows the ideas of direct democracy (more in line with the ancient Greeks... except all students and staff have a say). Each Wednesday during Foundations class, our students and staff meet for a forum, run by two students using a loose Roberts Rules of Order. The weekly agenda includes, "Take a positive Risk" when a student volunteers a few days before and performs for the entire student body. We have had pieces played on our piano, original poetry readings, singing with CDs, sharing of research or Discovery Days findings, and many other varied talents or interests. We then have "No brag...just fact" where students share victories or ways they have been recognized over the past week (we have students from our entire community and 4 neighborhood schools so if our kids don't feel comfortable sharing this information, many of their peers and teachers cannot share in their accomplishments). Next, we have announcements and proposals shared by students, parents, community members, and/or staff. Proposals come from individuals, groups, or student committees. We have our student PTSA liaison take notes and share information from our PTSA meetings. Lastly, we address any new business. The students then close the meeting and declare being adjourned. Our students believe they have a voice in the continual improvement of our program and our daily life together through the use of forum.
We see parents as crucial to the success of the program at Phoenix. No matter what the quality and quantity of student-teacher interaction, parents are the single, most influential factor in a child's educational well-being. A parent is a child's best advocate; as such, parental input is highly regarded and invited as vital information for the success of our program. Many opportunities will be built into the school year for parents to become involved in the Phoenix community.
The Phoenix school values building individual programs based on the needs of the students. Through an intentionally layered curriculum, gifted students will have opportunities that are both rigorous and relevant to extend their learning across all content areas.
Course offerings for 7th grade are Math 7 and Accelerated Math 7. Offerings for 8th grade are Math 8, Accelerated Math 8, and Geometry ('13 – '14 is last year for this). Student placement in these sections is based upon multiple criteria including Ohio Achievement Test scores from 4th, 5th, and 6th grades, 6th-grade teacher recommendations and evaluations, and the successful completion of prerequisite courses needed for placement in the Accelerated classes.
Students will be exposed to a combination of depth and breadth of the curriculum. Students would experience both a horizontal and vertical enrichment of curriculum through the ideal balance of core knowledge of facts combined with problem-based learning and portable knowledge. Portable knowledge would include: critical thinking, making connections between core knowledge and creative thinking, and how to find and explore new avenues to learning.
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Every student needs the ability to navigate through the constant information flow that today connects the global community. For students to thrive in a world enabled by information technology, we must give them the skills to make sense of and use the information that surrounds them. They need to know how to learn new skills as quickly as technology creates new challenges.
Following this philosophy, Phoenix staff presents technology through pertinent content based on learning theory to broaden the integration into our curriculum. We are always mindful of the fact that technology is a tool, and its purpose is to help people interact with information. The curriculum, not the technology, will determine the appropriate levels of interactivity, ranging from simple point-and-click interaction through sophisticated analysis.
Phoenix students are allowed to bring their own mobile technology devices to school. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) increases the amount of technology available in the classroom, giving the students more hands-on access to technology devices for learning.
Student participation in BYOD is optional.
Although we strongly believe in the value of traditional foreign language education, we also believe that in-depth study of global cultures –especially those that have ties in our Central Ohio community—is a crucial facet of our curriculum that will enrich our children in ways that will affect them for the rest of their lives. Exploring world cultures will not only foster readiness in students for future study of a foreign language but also will enrich their study of it when the time comes. Studying global cultures that have ties to the local community will help students develop a personal connection to the world around them. It is important to understand that Phoenix's second year will be open to the possibility of traditional foreign language study based on many factors, including but not limited to parent input, student population, student interest, and staffing.
The Phoenix program works well for special needs students due to the flexibility and inherent opportunity for individualization. During the application process, the individual student's IEP will be reviewed to determine the appropriateness of the program for that child.
The length of the school day at Phoenix allows for increased student/teacher interaction, instruction for student mastery, and provides time during the school day for students to pursue creative interests and wellness goals. Students who have mastered coursework can be excused at 3:45 pm. However, it is vital to understand that the last hour of the school day is designed for a variety of activities. This time can be used for mastery instruction, special interest groups, time for teacher/student conferencing, the opportunity to complete homework, participation in extra-curricular activities in and beyond our school. In its simplest form, the hour can also be used as a safe place for students.
Yes. All students can participate in extracurricular activities at their home school.
ESL students that have achieved level 3 (intermediate) on each of the OTELA (Ohio Test of English Language Acquisition) subtests will be welcomed at the Phoenix school. Not only can the curriculum be individualized to their needs, but also their contribution to the Phoenix school would enrich the educational community.
Yes. All courses will meet the same state standards and district graded course of study as the regular middle school program; however, we will implement the deliver these standards differently.