By Denise Dick
An Ohio Department of Education report reviewing six areas of the city schools is expected to be completed by the end of this month.
“In the report there will be findings — both positive and negative,” said John Charlton, an ODE spokesman. “The findings will serve to be used by the academic distress commission to update the recovery plan, which has to be revised every year and adopted by the commission and approved by the state superintendent.”
A team of six reviewers, all of whom have worked at a district or school level, visited the school district in early May.
The review will address six areas: leadership and governance; curriculum and instruction; assessment and use of data; human resources and professional development; student support; and fiscal management.
The completed report will be presented to the city school board by the end of this month by either John Richard, ODE associate superintendent, or Joffrey Jones, the newly-appointed chairman of the Youngstown School District Academic Distress Commission, Charlton said.
Richard Atkinson, school board president, said he’s not looking for anything specific in the report but hopes it includes information that’s useful for the district.
“We’ll take a look at it and hope it gives us an idea where we’re weak and where we’re strong,” he said.
Charlton said the goal is for the commission and the city school board to work together for the betterment of the district and the positive growth of the students.
The ODE reviewers looked at district documents, visited and observed classrooms to see instruction practices and curriculum implementation, talked with personnel and examined student data.
The review will be done annually with a follow-up expected later this year.
A review is underway in Lorain Schools as well, the only other Ohio school district where an academic distress commission is in place.
By law, a district that fails to make adequate yearly progress for four or more years is designated in “academic emergency” and a state commission is established. Youngstown’s academic distress commission was established in 2010.
The commission is charged with developing and overseeing a plan for the district’s academic recovery. That academic recovery plan is updated annually.