Liberty school officials seek input at open forum

By Samantha Phillips


Liberty students spoke their minds to school officials about their perceptions of their school district at an open forum Tuesday evening.

The school district started its strategic planning sessions, with the intention of giving a voice to students, parents and staff on the changes they would like to see occur in the district.

“We can only get better from you. You are our clients. You are who we serve on a daily basis. We need you to help us and give us information,” district Superintendent Joe Nohra told students.

Nohra, along with school board members Diana DeVito and Calvin Jones, high school principal Akesha Joseph and retired YSU assistant professor Joanne Franks met with alumni and parents, and then with students ranging from grades four to 12 and some who graduated last year.

The facilitators asked questions regarding the strengths and weaknesses of Liberty schools, whether students feel prepared for the workforce or higher education based on their experience in the schools and how well the district communicates with students.

Students said they enjoy the extracurricular and sports activities. Fourth-grader Trenton Long said he loves robotics, but he would like to see more programs such as woodworking and outdoor summer programs.

“I like how there are extracurricular things, like robotics. I go to robotics every day when it’s close to competition. I look forward to it because I see my friends and I get to do what I’m really good at – building stuff, and the sky is the limit with robots,” Long said.

Along with extracurriculars, students said they want to have classes to prepare them for the future, such as ACT prep, speech classes and more college credit plus.

Fifth-grader Katie Earnheardt suggested having more hands-on projects in classrooms, and said teachers should be more receptive to students’ ideas and feedback. Senior Moaud Elouaddi said it’s important to retain teachers and help the newer ones who have a lot on their plates, so they are better equipped to handle their class and provide a good learning environment. A few students expressed frustration with tests, saying they want to slow down in classes so they feel better prepared.

Eighth-grader Emily Benson said communication has improved since Joseph and Nohra started their positions, and multiple students said they feel supported by fellow students and staff at the school.

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