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State ratings show ups, downs of Valley schools

Published: Thu, October 18, 2012 @ 12:01 a.m.


Juniors and seniors at Chaney Visual and Performing Arts and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics School work in Chris Patrone’s government class. Chaney moved to an effective designation, up from academic watch, on the preliminary state report card released Wednesday.

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2011-12 Report Card

2012 report card released by the Ohio Department of Education.

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2011-12 Report Card - district

2012 report card by school district.

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2011-12 Report Card - traditional

2012 report card - traditional schools.

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2011-12 Report Card - community

2012 report card - community schools.

Liberty board president seeks help cutting $1.3M deficit

By DENISE DICK and Ashley Luthern


Fifteen Mahoning Valley school districts saw their state report-card ratings improve while eight saw their designations decline.

The remaining 21 districts in Colum-biana, Mahoning and Trumbull counties remained the same, according to data released Wednesday by the Ohio Department of Education.

Austintown and Weathersfield jumped two designations each from effective to excellent with distinction, the highest rating.

“This is a true credit to our students, community and staff, and mostly our teachers,” said Austintown Superintendent Vince Colaluca. “They do the work every day to have our students college- and career-ready.”

He added that the district is the only school in Ohio ranked excellent with distinction that has a student population of 5,000 or more where 50 percent of those students qualify for free and reduced lunches.

“As a large school district with the socioeconomic status we have, it is very difficult to receive excellent with distinction,” Colaluca said.

Report cards, typically released in late August, have been on hold because of an ongoing audit of attendance and enrollment records statewide by state Auditor Dave Yost. Wednesday’s release is the second installment of preliminary data in about three weeks, subject to change depending on Yost’s audit.

Weathersfield Superintendent Damon Dohar said his district worked to improve math and reading, particularly in the middle school.

“With special ed, we’ve also worked for inclusion throughout the district,” he said. “That’s been a big help in meeting AYP.”

Adequate yearly progress is the progress measured in 10 subgroups including all students, economically disadvantaged students, minorities and special education children.

Poland, West Branch, Bloomfield-Mesopotamia, Lakeview and Joseph Badger earned the excellent with distinction rating as well. Joseph Badger earned that same designation in 2010-2011. The others bumped up this year from excellent.

“We’re extremely proud of our staff and our focus on achieving academic excellence. This is certainly a team effort with our teachers and students, and of course parental support at home. This is not only a school but a community achievement,” said Poland’s interim Superintendent Don Dailey.

The district met all of 26 performance indicators, adequate yearly growth and its valued-added measures.

Scott Weingart, West Branch superintendent, said the district’s meeting the value-added measure, the requirement that each student meet a year’s worth of growth, is an element that helped move West Branch to excellent with distinction.

“I think that’s a powerful indicator,” he said. “It’s a real estament to our teachers and their ability to differentiate instruction to students.”

The district also has focused on early education. The Mahoning County Educational Service Center has expanded to six the number of preschools in the area, he said. That allows the district to reach out to students, particularly those with disabilities, earlier and help them prepare for school.

The district’s use of Title 1 tutors, who focus on economically disadvantaged students, also helped the district improve. All regular education teachers of first and second grade work with a Title 1 tutor.

“In the primary grade, reading is just everything,” Weingart said. “It’s the key to unlocking everything that you do.”

Other districts that saw improvement are Campbell, Girard, Liberty, LaBrae, Leetonia and Southern Local. All improved from effective to excellent. Warren moved from academic watch to continuous improvement and Wellsville leapt two steps from continuous improvement to excellent.

Campbell Superintendent Tom Robey said these report cards are the first since the district realigned its buildings. Eighth grade, formerly housed at the middle school, moved to Campbell Memorial High School to alleviate crowding and to save money without losing teachers.

“The middle school did exceptionally well,” the superintendent said. It moved from effective to excellent, helping the district meet the value-added measure and earn the excellent designation.

Girard focused on middle school, an area that has caused difficulty in the past, said Superintendent David Cappuzzello. He credited teacher training with helping to move the school from effective last year to excellent with distinction this year.

Liberty targeted reading improvement in the primary grades to improve scores, said Superintendent Stan Watson. The district also has been working to bolster school readiness as some children come to school needing additional help. That’s driven the improvement, but Watson said the district continues to focus on reading.

Jackson-Milton, Newton Falls, South Range, Bristol, Beaver, Crestview, Salem and East Palestine all saw their designations fall.

Both Jackson-Milton and Newton Falls moved from excellent with distinction to excellent while South Range, Bristol, Beaver, Crestview and Salem dropped from excellent to effective.

South Range’s designation decreased even though the district achieved all 26 performance indicators and met its adequate yearly growth requirements.

That’s because the district didn’t meet the value-added requirement, which measures whether each student meets a year of growth.

If a district is does not meet value-added requirements for two consecutive years, it can cause a lower a ranking, said South Range Superintendent Dennis Dunham. It appears the value-added measurement stems from middle-school performance, he said.

The value-added measurement takes students’ test scores into consideration on a year to year basis. Students who pass the test can be deemed proficient, accelerated or advanced. “It doesn’t mean they didn’t pass the test. It means that they’re not demonstrating year growth by definition of ODE,” Dunham said. “... If students are advanced and fall back to accelerated, that demonstrates that they did not have a year of growth. That’s where the struggle lies.”

Kirk Baker, Jackson-Milton superintendent, said the district isn’t disappointed with its rating. “We’re still excited to be excellent,” he said. “We’re still working hard and excellent is a great accomplishment.”

It’s difficult to achieve an excellent with distinction designation for two consecutive years, he said.

East Palestine fell from effective to continuous improvement.

Youngstown remains at academic watch for the second year, making it the lowest-rated district in the Valley, but there are glimmers of improvement.

Chaney, which changed from a traditional high school to a visual and performing arts and science, technology, engineering and mathematics school for sixth- through 12th-graders, earned an effective rating.

Principal Diane Rollins credited the staff. They are committed to the students and the academic success of the school, she said.

Rollins, who took over the principal’s post last February when the previous principal resigned, said school personnel work together to send a message to students. “The message is that we believe in you. We believe you can be successful,” she said.


1whitesabbath(738 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

Hope it continues to change for the better, I see alot of kids walking the streets during school hours that can't be good.

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2city_resident(528 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

"Looks as though if you took the urban districts out of the mix, The U.S. would be number 1."

And, if you took the unemployed out of the mix, our unemployment rate would be zero.

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3youngspartanrepublican(92 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

Yes, but it's worth noting that many foreign countries take their lowest achieving students out of school and head to the workforce. Only the highest achieving students in Europe and Asia go to school full time once you reach a certain age. Would you rather that happen?

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4Silence_Dogood(1670 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

And if you took those that gave up on finding a job our unemployment rate would be 7.8% instead of 11%. It would seem everyone is using Government math lately.

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5uselesseater(229 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

"Only the highest achieving students in Europe and Asia go to school full time once you reach a certain age"

That sounds like a better recipe than having bored, uninspired children linger in our school factories, relearning the same things they failed too by fourth grade.

Germany and Japan are two education systems that streamline interests of children. They try to determine where a child's interests are and where that fits in the workforce. By the time high school years reach them, they are specializing in preparation for the workforce.

Unlike here, the workforce finds the young future workers. I've had the pleasure to study and work with many foreign students from these countries over the years. Found them to be way more interested in their specialized area, more focused and generally better achievement. Why?

Because the corporations back their education. They have a good paying career waiting for them back home. They are in essence sponsored to finish their studies.

Compare that to overwhelming young students with the college mess, insane paperwork, financial hardships, lack of knowing if there are or will be jobs in their chosen interest/studies.

The way we run education and workforce preparedness seems to work to confuse, bankrupt and burden our youngsters.

As for the academic numbers, tons of terrible numbers in there. Doesn't anyone take SATs any longer? Doesn't seem so looking at those numbers in the spreadsheets.

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6redeye1(5615 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

Silence_Dogood they already have taken away the numbers of those that have given up looking for work, out of the unemployment stats

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7uselesseater(229 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

I agree @gdog4766.

College has become another big industry rife with fraud. That isn't for everyone :)

We need to bring back apprenticeships and real hands on skills. We can't be a nation of service workers, patent lawyers and technologists.

We aren't right sizing the job applicant pool. Continue to hear companies say they can't find qualified applicants. Some of them are telling the truth. Hear it moreso for what we label blue collar crafts.

Combining the job banks with the community colleges and trade schools should be the rapid response to get folks equipped. Far less costly, far faster turn around.

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8southsidedave(5189 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

"effective to excellent with distinction"... seems as though the education is adequate in most locales?

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9TylerDurden(367 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

If 5 out of 10 black students didn't drop out of high school the welfare rates would be lower, crime rates would lower, and the amount of bastard children would be lower.

Government math.

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10uselesseater(229 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

Liberal math would follow and say if we accelerated abortion in the black community, we could address the dropout problem by genocide via abortion.

(Don't blame me, I didn't create the life sucking vacuum of 52 million+ black babies aborted since 1973.)

Two words: personal accountability.

All of these problems with education and most of the problems in society come from a lack of people taking responsibility for their decisions.

Instead of watching the television all night, folks ought to be researching and reading, becoming literate and informed. Independent thinking needs to be discovered.

We use to have book smarts and street smarts as the class group separations.

We have more book smart folks than ever. Street smarts though, they've been replaced by repetitive drug and crime math and sociology.

Cities use to be filled with all sorts of characters brimming with knowledge, filled with twinkling eyes, experimenting and doing. Now, the hooptie is the garage (instead of a workshop), the TV is on (instead of a radio) and the eyes are heavily glazed like a cheap fried doughnut. Where did the nation of do'ers go? We've been replaced by zombies.

Government isn't going to fix the problem nor is government the biggest problem. It is our people that are the problem.

In fairness to people, they are victims. Brainwashed by media, sold daydreams by advertisers, poisoned by their water company, poisoned by their doctors and their government, poisoned by the agriculture businesses and left to exist as a distributed slave culture. The chains may be longer, but if you pay attention you'll hear them rattling.

People have to stop delegating their authority, wealth and power to government. Raise your children. Educate your children. Build things. Create. Stop just mindlessly consuming programming.

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11VINDYAK(1824 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

With today's poor economy our children have continued their education to the point of overpopulating colleges and universities, but the jobs are not there once they graduate. Not enough students have entered good trade schools. We need machinists, welders, auto technicians, heating and cooling techs, facilities managers and superintendents, utility line workers, etc. Because our workforce is aging, those jobs will be opening up very soon. Get prepared.

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12uselesseater(229 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

Amen @metroman! That story is about two wolves and sheep BTW :)

@Vindyak, right on! College is a racket. Recently college debt exceeded the total consumer debt in this country.

We consider consumer debt to have been a big problem, so shouldn't we be blowing the horn about college costs? I don't hear many folks other than Peter Thiel encouraging folks to do something other than the now "traditional" college route.

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