State of Youngstown schools mulled

By Denise Dick


Less than a week after the Ohio Department of Education released state report cards showing the city school district earning five F’s, two D’s and two C’s, Superintendent Connie Hathorn said he now has to talk to the state superintendent weekly.

“We’ve got to do better, and we can do better,” Hathorn said at a school board meeting Tuesday.

Teachers filled the meeting room, wearing YEA [Youngstown Education Association] United T-shirts, in a move of solidarity as they’re in contract negotiations.

“We have to do better as a team — I have to do better and you have to do better,” Hathorn said.

Paula Valentini, a teacher at Harding Elementary School, said teachers sometimes feel like decisions are made without their input. She said she serves on committees concerning curriculum and provides opinions.

“I know they’re hearing me, but I’m not sure if what I say matters,” she said.

Jane Hagerty, another teacher, pointed to the fact that teachers are assigned to teach new subject areas and grade levels.

“I’ve been moved nine times in 13 years,” she said.

Those moves have included different buildings, subject areas and grade levels and it has taught her to be flexible.

“But I can’t get really good at anything,” Hagerty said.

Hathorn said the district has to get parents involved, work together as a team and stop making excuses. Students can learn regardless of their economic or familial circumstances.

But students have many other options for education from charter schools to vouchers to open enrollment. Hathorn said the district must do a better job with customer service.

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