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Youngstown BOE lower’s Hathorn’s evaluation, but claims not personal

Published: Wed, March 27, 2013 @ 12:10 a.m.

Atkinson says district has improved under Hathorn but wants better rating

By Denise Dick



The city school board president acknowledges the district has realized improvements under Superintendent Connie Hathorn’s leadership, but the board wants the schools to climb out of academic watch.

“We’re still in academic watch,” Richard Atkinson said. “When I talk to parents, they say, ‘You’re still in academic watch. Why would I want to bring my child back there?’”

The majority of the school board on Monday signed an evaluation of Hathorn, rating him an overall 5 out of a possible score of 9. Last year, the same board members rated him a 7 out of a possible 9.

Atkinson said he believes the district is moving in the right direction, but he wants to see the district earn an “excellent with distinction” rating.

“I don’t think in a year from now we’ll even be having this conversation,” he said.

Board members Rachel Hanni, Lock P. Beachum Sr. and Michael Murphy didn’t sign the completed evaluation, which was dated Feb. 27. It was signed Monday by the board’s majority — Atkinson, Andrea Mahone, Marcia Haire-Ellis and Brenda Kimble.

“The superintendent has asked us to hold him accountable — and we have,” Mahone said. “Now I’m taking a stand.”

She pointed to the academic watch rating where the district has been on the last two state report cards.

“This is not personal,” Mahone said.

Hanni, Murphy and Beachum said they thought Hathorn’s score should have been higher.

But Mahone said the three board members who didn’t sign the evaluation participated in the evaluation process, and the scores they gave to Hathorn were included in the board’s final total.

“That’s like a tantrum to me,” she said of the three members’ decision not to sign.

The evaluation scored Hathorn a 5 in each of six categories: relationships with the board, community relationships, staff and personnel relationships, educational leadership, personal qualities and business and finance.

Under comments, the evaluation reads: “The Youngstown City School Board of Education believes Dr. Hathorn is working to improve the ‘Academic Watch’ rating the system has received for the past two years. Creation of the STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] and VPA [visual and performing arts] program are positive moves, however, at this time, the changes have not been in place long enough to demonstrate the improvements that are expected by parents, the board or the general community.

“We support additional restructuring and the student choice program recently introduced. These moves are designed to strengthen and promote continued improvement in the system,” the evaluation says.

It also says that board members want Hathorn to work with board members to develop an atmosphere of teamwork, create a leadership academy for current employees where possible, market positive program results to support student recruitment and retention, increase outreach with city schools stakeholders and provide periodic program accountability and evaluation reports.

Hathorn signed the document but wrote that his signature was only to indicate he’d received it.

“I do not agree with the content of this document,” the superintendent wrote. “No feedback was given or reason for the rating.”

Atkinson said reasons were given to Hathorn; they just weren’t put in writing.

“There were things that board members wanted him to do that he didn’t follow up on,” he said.

He said he couldn’t list them off the top of his head, but he said he’s asked Hathorn to promote individual successes of city school students and graduates as a way to market the district. That hasn’t been done, he said.


1Cubbies(37 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

"Atkinson said he believes the district is moving in the right direction, but he wants to see the district earn an “excellent with distinction” rating.

“I don’t think in a year from now we’ll even be having this conversation,” he said."

Atkinson apparently doesn't visit his school buildings on a weekly basis. The schools will not reach excellent within a year....students are 2-3 years behind grade level academically and the lack of discipline in the schools
hinders progress.

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2nipsy(161 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

How can a person run an institution that grades young people on their work when said person doesn't accept his own grade given to him in his evaluation of his work..Way to set the example Mr. Hathorn! Time to take your ball and go home to Arkansas...Oh, wait. You already tried that and they didn't take you.

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3NoBS(2763 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

The problem with the schools isn't Hathorn, it's the school board. They need to go, and the state is very close to doing just that.

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4Rooster(80 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

Let's see now, the Board don't like people complaining about being in academic watch, and they want to get to excellent, and they hire this Hathorn to get them there, but they want folks to know the Board don't support him? Atkinson says people want to know why they should send their kids to schools in academic watch. But he's not explaining why they should support Hathorn making the changes to get them there when he won't support him, himself. This paper never asks the questions that most folks would like to know the answer to. If this Board don't support old Connie, what are they going to tell those parents up in arms about the changes? Ask them that one. They got folks thinking the problem is making changes and the guy making the changes in the problem. Otherwise, everything would be excellent? I guess folks who elected these fools deserve them.

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5Millerh113(216 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

Dissolve the Youngstown school system and send the kids to the suburban schools. Those who do not want to go can enroll in the charter schools. Those who do not want to go to school at all, can get job. Oh wait. There are no jobs for the uneducated. Now that is a conundrum.

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6polhack(129 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

Nice to see that most of the responses to this article demonstrate a greater grasp of reality than that of the BOE. There's no way Yo. Schools will achieve the rating Atkinson 'wants' in a year. Public schools everywhere are stuck with the underachievers who won't learn because they find its more fun to disrupt the education of others with behavior that sewer rats would not tolerate. Meanwhile, the parents of the punks rail against the schools ( their babysitter of choice) when their kids fail to miraculously absorb reading, writing and arithmetic from unopened books.

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7One_Who_Stayed(240 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

It's a shame they didn't seem to take that same hard-ass approach to Wendy Webb when she was watching the system crumble 8 years ago.

Didi you notice the fact that Atkinson says that they "asked" him to do certain things and he didn't. He cant really remember what they were just now. Good thing they didn't bother to write them down or email them or take notes of any kind. If they did that, they wouldn't be able to make up things now.

This school board is pathetic and needs to go almost as badly as City Council does.

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