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5 Valley school districts expect stagnant report cards



Published: Tue, August 12, 2008 @ 12:09 a.m.

By HAROLD GWIN

VINDICATOR EDUCATION WRITER

YOUNGSTOWN — Five of the six tri-county school districts that dropped in the ratings on the state annual report card a year ago expect to stay at those lower levels when the 2007-08 report cards come out Aug. 26.

Struthers, Wellsville, Warren, Springfield and West Branch all went down a notch in the state scoring, which looks at pupil academic performance, attendance, graduation rates and other factors.

Spokesmen for all five said preliminary indications from the Ohio Department of Education show their ratings wouldn’t change this year. Maplewood also dropped, but the schools superintendent couldn’t be reached for comment on this year’s results.

The report card offers five designations: excellent, effective, continuous improvement, academic watch and academic emergency.

A regional breakdown shows six Mahoning County school districts, five Trumbull County districts and one Columbiana County district were rated as excellent last year.

Five Mahoning districts, 15 Trumbull districts and six Columbiana districts were rated as effective. One Mahoning and four Columbiana districts were listed in continuous improvement and one Mahoning and one Trumbull district were rated in academic watch. No locals were in academic emergency.

Springfield, West Branch and Maplewood all dropped from excellent to effective on last year’s report cards.

Debra Mettee, Springfield superintendent, said a preliminary report from the state shows her district did better than last year and is very close to moving back to excellent, but will fall just short.

“We’re real pleased that we improved. We’re close,” she said.

Scott Weingart, West Branch superintendent, said the state has indicated that his district wound up just about exactly where it was last year.

The fifth-grade math and social studies achievement tests and the eighth-grade social studies test, all added to what became a list of 30 state academic standards to be met on last year’s report card, were responsible for West Branch’s ratings drop, he said, adding that those are still the trouble areas this year.

The district is adjusting its curriculum to deal with that, Weingart said.

Don Bailey, interim superintendent at Struthers, which went from effective to continuous improvement last year, said the district will remain in the lower category this year. Steps are being taken to deal with that as the district seeks to focus on trouble areas, he said.

“We made some real nice progress,” said Rich Bereschik, Wellsville superintendent. His district also went from effective to continuous improvement.

Wellsville was one of the few districts to score well in eighth-grade testing, he said, adding, “We’ll hone in on fifth-grade testing.”

A spokeswoman for the Warren City schools, which dropped from continuous improvement to academic watch last year, said no details were available yet, but the district has been told it will still be in the lower category.

Salem, which moved up from continuous improvement to effective last year, is expected to drop back to continuous improvement, said Superintendent Lou Ramunno.

The district has undergone some extensive retrenching with teacher and program cutbacks and that have hurt academically, he said.

The previous board was forced to focus on district finances, but the current board has been able to focus more on academics, Ramunno said, adding, “I look for a turnaround next spring.”

The Youngstown city schools remained in academic watch for the second consecutive year last year, and Dr. Wendy Webb, superintendent, said that rating won’t change.

“It was a tough year,” Webb said, recounting the district’s struggle to deal with a budget deficit as well as the problems created by having to move pupils around because of a major school rebuilding program.

It’s still a transitional period, and Youngstown will have to deal with those issues for a couple of more years, she said.

gwin@vindy.com


Comments

1Bull_Chip(170 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

The real news here is how the ratings have been perverted to protect the guilty. For example, can you name the two local schools that, along with Dayton city schools have consistently ranked as the worst 3 schools in academic performance in the state? Can you believe that the rating systems is so skewed that even those 2 schools don’t qualify as “academic emergency”?

Ok, anyone have a guess? Grump, did I hear you say “Youngstown City Schools”, yes that Is one of them. Now the other one? Yes, that’s right Warren City Schools.

Instead of researching the numbers behind the news and focusing on the blatant failures the Vindy state high in the article “Springfield, West Branch and Maplewood all dropped from excellent to effective on last year’s report cards.”

While I do agree that schools dropping in their performance for the children is news, shouldn’t the high beams of the Fifth Estate illuminate the elephants in the room?

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2cooks50(20 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

OldmanGrump,

What is your personal grudge against the city, for someone who hates it so much you sure do engage in everthing going on in it. And in the city schools there are many postives. There are a great number of good students who want to succeed and are attending college and doing well. Instead of assuming and being negative you should visit a school or better yet take the time and get to know some of the students for yourself. Im tired of you constantly coming on here hiding behind a screen name and attacking the city on everything, but will do NOTHING to help and provide any solutions.

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3Mimi2BC(147 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

cooks50, OldMan is entitled to his opinion, just as you are. He doesn't have to help provide solutions to the city's problems. He is an outside observer. I know teachers, police officers, and students that are in the Y-town school district---- they will readily admit there are significant problems in the Y-town schools. That's not saying ALL students are bad or ALL teachers are bad. They collectively just cannot pull it together. I wouldn't come on here and try in any way to defend under-performing schools, there simply is no excuse.

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4metz87(884 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

The sad thing is eh is right youngstown school are a huge trianwreck and have been for quite awhile now. WHo wants to go in and clean it up? Not me.

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5TB(1167 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

"I challenge anyone to give me one positive thing about the Youngstown City Schools?"

There are still students succeeding in these schools. There are still students achieving above grade level. There are still students earning college scholarships.

Before you decry the state of the inner city school systems, (and this applies pretty much across the country,) think about the reasons they have a hard time hitting these marks (set by politicians.) Think about all the hurdles that have to be overcome just to get through one day. Walk a day in their shoes. Show up and observe or even volunteer a day.

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6metz87(884 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

Yeah but as a whole they have nothing but fights and as a whole they are not doing great on the OGT tests. Of coruse some will be on honors and get good grades but that still does not get rid of the fact that any inner city school has problems with fighting and drugs.

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7TB(1167 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

I simply responded to the quote.

I don't even know how to address the fights part so I won't. The inner city schools are just smaller reflections of the communities they inhabit. If the community is troubled, the schools will be also.

Kids go to school for around eight hours a day for about half a year. That means for 16 hours for half a year and 24 hours for the other half they are outside in the community and/or at home. Guess which has a bigger impact?

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8metz87(884 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

Well of course when they aren't at school but how many kifs jsut don't want to be there. I had a 3.8 GPA and love school but I understand some don't.

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