Youngstown school board notes achievement gains

YOUNGSTOWN — After the dark cloud of a three-week teachers strike has passed, the Youngstown City School District welcomed a bit of positive news about forward steps officials say it is making.

That came in the form of progress based on some results in the state report card, released Sept. 14, for the 2022-23 school year.

The biggest area of improvement last year was a four-star rating in the gap closing category, up from a three-star rating for the 2021-22 school year, Greg Kibler, the district’s director of data, said during Tuesday’s regular board meeting at Choffin Career and Technical Center.

The gap closing component looks at where all sub groups of students in the district are academically compared to where they need to be while progressing through the state’s 10-year plan of efficiency. During the last school year, seven of eight sub groups exceeded state math progress goals, Kibler explained.

Also, even though 59.3 percent of students were chronically absent in the 2022-23 school year, according to the report card, that high figure is down more than 10 percent from the 70 percent rate the year before, he noted.

The report card also indicates the district as a whole received a 2.5-star rating for the last school year. No such ratings were assigned to the district’s buildings for the 2021-22 school year, but, based on technical documents guidance and formulas from the state, the rating likely would have been two stars, Kibler added.

In the five-star system that rates academic achievement, one or two stars indicates the need for support or significant support, three stars means state standards have been met and a four- and five-star rating shows that the standards have been exceeded or significantly exceeded.

Progress also was reflected on several fronts at Choffin Career and Technical Center itself.

The facility earned four- and five-star ratings for the 2022-23 school year in overall achievement, career and post-secondary readiness, the graduation rate and post-program placement that includes being employed, Principal Michael Saville told the board. Specifically, Choffin received five stars in career readiness, he noted.

In addition, enrollment jumped from 281 students in the 2022-23 school year to 457 this year, in part because of career-based intervention and additional marketing efforts, Saville said. He added that 60 to 65 of them are from outside of the Youngstown district.

The graduation rate from the 2021-22 school year to last year dropped slightly (91 percent and 90.6 percent, respectively) but Choffin still received a four-star rating in that category, Saville continued.

Superintendent Jeremy Batchelor said that noticeable progress in a school district often takes at least seven years, but added he’s pleased to see the Youngstown schools moving in the right direction.

“It is happening, it is strategic. So, is it happening overnight? Absolutely not, but it is happening with fidelity,” Batchelor said.

The superintendent noted that no plans have yet been put forth to extend this school year to make up for days lost because of the strike. He added that the official grading period began Sept. 18.


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