By Amanda Tonoli
More numbers – and harder results – are what Academic Distress Commission Chairman Brian Benyo requested CEO Krish Mohip provide, and that’s what he got Tuesday during the distress panel’s meeting.
Not all of the presentation was positive.
Mohip, with his senior leadership team, unveiled a number of results for what Benyo refers to as the CEO’s “baseline year.” Mohip had been asked by Benyo during the April commission meeting to provide the statistics.
The commission selected Mohip as district CEO pursuant to House Bill 70 enacted last year. Under its provisions, the school district is being led by a chief executive and overseen by the state-appointed academic distress commission. Its elected board of education stays in place but with less power.
One of the most notable results revealed Tuesday is a sharp decrease in days missed due to discipline.
Mohip unveiled a new student code of conduct in March that implemented Positive Behavioral and Intervention Supports and restorative practices. PBIS allows for all students to receive education rather than be excluded for wrongdoing.
Mohip implemented the system to address a high number of out-of-school suspensions – in the 2015-16 school year, students missed 7,424 days due to a disciplinary practice.
In 2016-17, students missed 4,324 days due to a disciplinary practice – a 42 percent decrease.
But the numbers reveal fewer students are enrolled for the upcoming school year, and test scores are falling.
Enrollment is predicted to drop in 2017-18, from 5,251 students to 5,123, according to the Ohio Department of Education data, which is a 2.5 percent decrease from 2016-17.
Also, there was a 0.66 percent attendance decrease, from 90.97 percent attendance in 2016 to 90.31 percent attendance in 2017.
In addition to attendance and enrollment decreases, test scores also decreased.
For grades 3-8, math scores decreased 2 percent from 29 percent at or above grade level to 27 percent.
English Language Arts test results for third- through eighth-graders, however, improved 3 percent from 23 percent of students scoring at or above grade level to 26 percent.
For Chaney High students, assessment test results went down 3 percent from 35 percent of students scoring at or above level to 32 percent.
East High students’ scores also showed a 2 percent decrease from 8 percent of students scoring at or above level to 6 percent.
The sharp difference between at or above-level students at Chaney and East – which has more than 90 percent of East students below level – bothers Mohip.
“Its not OK to take the highest-achieving students and put them in one school and put everyone else in the other,” he said. “The reconfiguration is working to fix that.”
The reconfiguration will place students in schools closer to their homes rather than haphazard placement, Mohip said.
Despite the drop in test scores, the average high-school grade-point average increased by 0.19 points, from 2.26 measured in 2016 to 2.45 measured in 2017.
But Benyo is ready to see more.
“I feel there needs to be more connectedness between some things laid out within [Mohip’s] strategic plan and actions being taken,” he said. “I’d like to connect the dots more. I predict we will see more and more moving into next year.”
Some of the next steps in Mohip’s plan include having more community meetings, putting newsletters on the district website, creating a parent resource room, increasing participation in PRIDE – Parents Realizing Involvement Determines Education – and initiating a review process for individualized educational plans.
In addition, Tyrone Olverson, chief academic officer, said the district is still looking for about 55 teachers – 10 for math and science and a number for various subjects including physical education, music, drama, STEM and foreign language.