Youngstown schools citizens coalition, Mohip debate calendars
By Amanda Tonoli
Youngstown schools CEO Krish Mohip was happy to be back in the conversation and debate of the Citizens Coalition meeting Thursday evening.
The main topic of discussion revolved around balanced or all-year school calendars versus the traditional calendar.
Balanced calendars are calendars in which the typical summer vacation of 12 weeks is reduced to eight weeks throughout the school year – normally August or September through the following June.
A traditional calendar gives students 21/2 months off in the summer.
Mohip said although he is allotted the “authority to unilaterally make decisions” in House Bill 70, that is not his practice and he values community input from the coalition meetings.
HB 70, commonly referred to as the Youngstown Plan, was signed into law by Gov. John Kasich in July 2015. It enabled a state-appointed academic distress commission to hire Mohip to lead the district, and gives Mohip complete operational, managerial and instructional control.
Mohip refers to the elected board of education as an advisory panel.
Parents were split as to which calendar they favored, with concerns ranging from sports schedules, students being able to transfer in and out of the school and clashing schedules with parents who are teachers in other districts and their children.
Several parents said although a balanced calendar may be better for students academically, the concerns may cause more pushback than it’s worth.
Mohip said as someone who saw both calendars in place in his former position as principal in Chicago Public Schools, he considered balanced calendars to be a success.
“Students and teachers were happier and we were better able to provide proper interventions earlier on,” he said.
Since his departure, Chicago Public Schools have switched back to a traditional calendar.
All-in-all, Mohip said he felt rejuvenated by the conversation and offered kudos to the group.
“It’s so refreshing to be able to ask questions in a room of adults and have a conversation and be able to just talk to one another,” Mohip said. “It’s just wonderful, and this is why I value so much of what you guys bring to the table.”