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Youngstown schools stay lowest ranked in Valley

Published: Thu, February 28, 2013 @ 12:09 a.m.

Youngstown schools stay lowest ranked in Mahoning Valley

By Denise Dick



Final school report cards released Wednesday by the Ohio Department of Education look a lot like those issued last October.

2011-12 designations for all Mahoning Valley school districts remain the same with Austintown, Poland, West Branch, Bloomfield- Mesopotamia, Joseph Badger, Lakeview and Weathersfield earning the highest mark of “excellent with distinction.”

Youngstown is designated “academic watch,” the same rating it earned in the 2010-11 state-issued report card.

“We made progress, but I’m not happy that we didn’t make enough progress to move out of academic watch,” said Superintendent Connie Hathorn. “But we did make progress, and that’s a good sign. The teachers and administrators are focused now, and they know what direction we’re going in. I’m proud of what they’re doing.”

The city district made some improvement at the individual building level, but dropped from meeting two out of 26 state indicators last year to meeting one this year.

Districts and schools earn credit for performance indicators by meeting or exceeding designated thresholds in several areas including achievement in reading and mathematics on the third- through eighth-grade achievement tests; meeting or exceeding the 90 percent graduation rate and the 93 percent attendance rate.

“We met [the indicator] in writing last year, and we didn’t meet it this year,” Hathorn said.

The latest data includes measures that previously hadn’t been released. The performance index recognizes the achievement of every student, rather than just those who score proficient or higher.

The value added measure, which schools and districts either meet, fall below or exceed, considers whether students have met a year of expected growth.

Statewide, schools demonstrated improvements in 14 of 26 indicators and met the state’s performance goal on 21 out of the 26 indicators, according to ODE. There were especially strong gains in eighth-grade math and science. The number of districts and schools exceeding expected value added growth also increased.

“We congratulate Ohio’s students, families and educators for making continued, solid academic progress,” said acting Superintendent of Public Instruction Michael L. Sawyers. “But we will need to set the bar higher to ensure that all of our students are prepared for a future that will demand higher skills. Ohio’s minimal competency system must continue to reform for Ohio’s students to be competitive with their peers.”

Boardman, Campbell, Canfield, Jackson Milton, Lowellville, Springfield and Western Reserve in Mahoning County earned the “excellent” rating.

Campbell’s report card data remains under review by ODE. The district is one of nine districts across Ohio where Auditor of State Dave Yost found that students were withdrawn improperly to improve the scores reported to the state. The report card release, typically done in August, was delayed and then done in segments because of Yost’s statewide attendance audit.

In Trumbull County, Champion, Girard, Howland, Hubbard, LaBrae, iberty, Lordstown, Maplewood, Mathews, McDonald and Newton Falls scored “excellent.” In Columbiana County, Columbiana, Leetonia, Lisbon, Southern Local, United and Wellsville were rated “excellent.”

Eleven school districts were designated “effective.” They are Sebring, South Range and Struthers in Mahoning; Bristol, Brookfield, Niles and Southington in Trumbull; and Beaver, Crestview, East Liverpool and Salem in Columbiana.

Two districts, Warren and East Palestine, received the “continuous improvement” rating.

The 2011-12 report cards are the last in the current format. Next year’s reports will change to a letter grading system of A through F and will include standards that measure whether students graduate ready for college and careers.


1formerdemliberal(182 comments)posted 1 year, 7 months ago

Go Youngstown! Stay stupid and don't forget to vote Democrat.


Dave Betrus, Bobby Hagan and the rest of your Mahoning Valley Democratic henchmen

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2Ytownnative(1041 comments)posted 1 year, 7 months ago

And $48mil in debt

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3fattynskinny(195 comments)posted 1 year, 7 months ago

i really dislike teachers as a whole, they're like a cult. but i would agree that you can only do so much with the kids that you have. the homes they come from, their attendance and their willingness to participate all work into these figures, which is not usually the teachers' fault and there needs to be some way to separate the good, bad and ugly from the statistics.

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4Lifes2Short(3877 comments)posted 1 year, 7 months ago

Can't blame the teachers. That's just another excuse for the lazy parent/s, etc. They need to get off there lazy as@#es and know what there kids are up to. Discipline them and make them study. But you know that will never happen, it's always someone else's problem. Can NEVER be held accountable, only put the blame on everyone else.

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5conservative4you(14 comments)posted 1 year, 7 months ago

great idea zz3, in order to be eligible for entitlements, you must be a high school graduate

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6formerdemliberal(182 comments)posted 1 year, 7 months ago

The dumber and irresponsible the parents (if any), the dumber and irresponsible the kids. Ignorance becomes a generational expectation.

Many Youngstown school kids have little if any parental discipline or guidance. Teachers' hands are tied in the classroom and the kids know it.

God knows how a teacher can foster a learning environment with students who have been conditioned with such low expectations in their life by elders, politicians feigning concern while promoting ignorance to maintain their power over others, and their cultural peers who value money over the the lives of themselves and others.

For those Youngstown parents/guardians interested in providing a better life for their siblings, unfortunately their only realistic choices are to send their children to expensive private schools (without government support vouchers or athletic ability nearly impossible) or look to open enrollment school districts outside of Youngstown to offer some kind of opportunity in a different culture that still recognizes the importance of learning and positively contributing to society.

No wonder public school teachers unions and politicians fear vouchers. Youngstown teachers would be left with teaching four walls, students would have a better opportunity to learn the gratification of contributing positively to society, and God forbid learn how to make their own decisions to improve their lives rather than being treated like puppets on a string by local Democratic politicians interested in dumbing down society to promote their own agendas.

Youngstown schools reflect the cesspool that much of the city has become. Forty years of single-party rule (Democrats) has seen to that. No competition, no new ideas, going nowhere in the future. Just like their students

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7timmy572(4 comments)posted 1 year, 7 months ago

It's not the teachers fault for these poor test scores. I am a proud graduate of the Youngstown City Schools. I have had some great teachers and great memories from the district. I agree with everyones comments but not only do I blame parents I also blame the lack of leadership the teachers have. The finger is always pointed at them but the district pays approximatey $120,000 to a leader who is job searching?

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8formerdemliberal(182 comments)posted 1 year, 7 months ago

Teachers must take part of the responsibility for these consistently low scores, but I do agree that there is plenty of blame to be shared by overpaid administrators more concerned with form over substance, along with a lackluster board filled with similar levels of education that teachers are attempting to overcome in their classrooms.

I have found over my teaching career that most highly paid administrators use their positions to create incoherent policies and edicts that that merely serve to justify their power positions to the detriment of actually helping to improve classroom learning conditions.

These power plays consistently come at the expense of actually making decisions in the best interests of the students that these same administrators so desperately want the public to believe they serve.

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9VINDYAK(1799 comments)posted 1 year, 7 months ago

I agree with many of the posters here and do not blame the teachers. You can only do so much with what you have.

It is a very telling fact of life that schools in poor urban cities tend to have the worst scores, as well as the highest crime statistics, including drugs and illegal gun usage.

This is something our current federal government administration should be looking at correcting. Past liberal federal policies created this mess and proves that government handouts for little in return other than idleness is not good public policy.

Now we have generations of children growing up in a system of illegal activity, such as trading food stamp credits, drugs, guns, gangs, pimps and prostitutes. What a wonderful way to raise children and it is so sad to see uneducated adults leading the way to their future. The real crime is we are allowing this to continue and become worse with each generation.

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