Report shows Youngstown school kids continue to struggle with reading


By Amanda Tonoli

atonoli@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

Youngstown City Schools are in the midst of an onsite review by the Ohio Department of Education, said Tim Filipovich, the district’s chief of academics, accountability and assessment.

“They will give us some emerging topics on Friday and eventually give us a full report on where we are at as a district right now,” he said.

This announcement was one of many during district CEO Krish Mohip’s update meeting Monday evening. He is running the district because Youngstown schools are in academic emergency and under the auspices of a state-appointed academic distress commission.

Filipovich and John LaPlante, district chief information officer, discussed another review done by the district and LaPlante’s Illuminate program. Illuminate Education is an Irvine, Calif.-based company that specializes in software and other services that allow educators to make data-driven decisions.

LaPlante said the review of students’ performance at midyear, distributed during the meeting, is a composite score from recent tests in grades K-12 in math and reading. An end-of-the-year report will be done to gauge growth.

The report is a chart that has three or four measurements for each grade level, showing each school and where its composite score is in terms of a red-labeled “well below benchmark,” a yellow-labeled “below benchmark,” a light-green-labeled “on watch” and a dark-green-labeled “benchmark.”

The majority of reports for each grade level show more students that are “well below benchmark” than at “benchmark.”

“Obviously, the red bars are winning, and that’s not good,” Mohip said. “We want to see a shift here.”

To view a copy of the report, visit www.youngstowncityschools.org.

“Right now, all we’re doing is looking at students, where they are at the end of the year,” Mohip explained. “However, we have students that are two or three years or more behind grade level. And we have amazing teachers helping them accelerate their growth. ... We are finding ways to measure and honor teachers to say how successful we’ve been.”

Filipovich said the report provides an opportunity for parents and educators to be reflective in relation to students’ performance and how they compare to standards.

In other news, Mohip announced the retirement of district treasurer Sherry Tyson as of July 31.

“We are looking at different possibilities in regard to this position: hiring a new treasurer, consolidating some positions, etc.,” he said.

He added that he and the senior leadership team are looking into suspending contracts and consolidating work to “save dollars” for the district.

The district also appointed five educators to new positions: Anthony DeNiro, maintenance and operations deputy chief, $81,000 annually; Dominique Howse, school culture and community innovation deputy chief, $93,000 annually; Justin Kay, part-time Adult Basic and Literacy Education instructor, $22.35 per hour; and Abbie Lawrence and Andrea Seguin, limited contract teachers, $41,083 and $34,096, respectively.

Joe Nohra, chief operations officer, said in the 2017-18 school year, the district will be piloting a program that will bring breakfast to classrooms.

Also, Joseph Meranto, Choffin Career and Technical Center adult education administrator, announced Choffin will be hosting free adult student tests in April and May for those who want to change careers to become practical nurses, dental assistants or surgical technologists.

For information, call 330-744-8700.

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