The Linworth Alternative Program opened in the fall of 1973 as an option for high school students in the Worthington City Schools. The purpose of the program is to more fully engage students in their educations by creating choices and having students make choices, placing the students in situations requiring higher levels of responsibility and having students learn and apply what they have learned through experiential education.
Here’s what makes our program unique.
Classes are offered in 1 hour 20 minute blocks on rotating days, giving teachers more time to teach, without cutting the lesson, and giving students more variety in their weekly schedule.
The placement of classes, such as what day and time they are offered, is decided during in-school meetings at the beginning of every school year. Students decide which classes they would like to take, and where those classes fit in their schedule, and vote for what day and time works best. Entry into classes is done in a “lottery” fashion by drawing and assigning random numbers to students. This gives all students equal chance in signing-up for more popular courses. The whole experience feels more like scheduling for college, rather than the normal “automatic assignment” which is dominant in today’s High Schools.
The staff of the Linworth Program has the freedom to design classes different than those offered at “normal” High Schools. Rather than the standard “English II” class, a class called “Utopian Literature” may be offered, focusing on books about Utopias and Disutopias, with a heavy basis on discussion. Instead of your everyday “Woodworking Class,” a student may be able to sign-up for “Canoeing,” which teaches not only the fundamentals of building a canoe, but also includes an off campus event to test your new creation.
Our program gives all students the unique opportunity to freely manage their time. Each student is given 60 minutes per day to do with whatever they choose, whether it be on-campus or off. Since the Linworth Program does not have an assigned lunch period, nor a cafeteria, students must use either a block of time in which no class has been assigned, or use the free time in between classes to sign out and eat lunch. Of course, students can always opt to bring a lunch rather than leave campus, or break their time up into smaller amounts and leave the campus a few times a day.
Students in grades 9 through 11 participate in a week long experiential learning event called Interim. This is the time where a student can go and work in a field which most interests them, or concentrate on a personal project. At the end of the week, students return to give presentations of what they learned, giving current students ideas on what to do for next year’s Interim.
The Walkabout program is for second semester seniors and is provided as a transition between school and “the real world.” Students plan two 9 week long off campus activities in which they go into any field of study they desire, including art, music, computers, nature, religion, teaching, and much more. Students keep journals which they share with the staff member of their choice. This experience is part of the Linworth student’s graduation requirement, and is applied to the related field of study, whether it be science, math, social studies, etc.