Choices abound for Youngstown students

Choices abound for Youngstown students

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) — Youngstown City Schools Superintendent Dr. Connie Hathorn says when students choose their own academic path and programs, they have more success in the classroom.

School is no longer the traditional K through 12 path. Students in Youngstown City Schools have more options now than ever before and an informational meeting was held Wednesday at Choffin Career and Technical Center to explain some of those options to parents and students.

Lydia Walker lives in Youngstown. For four years, she sent her kids to Girard City Schools through open enrollment.

But this school year, they returned to their home district.

“We brought them back to Youngstown City Schools because of the Choice program,” Walker said during Wednesday’s meeting.

In fact, Superintendent Hathorn said 42 students are coming back to Youngstown City Schools.

“And that’s big. Because when I first got here, we were losing 300 to 500 students a year. But we stopped that bleeding. Now we’ve got some programs in place and kids are coming back,” Hathorn said.

This was the first year for the Discovery program at the old Kirkmere Elementary School on Kirk Road. In the fall, Youngstown School officials will re-open Volney Rogers Middle School as another Discovery program for grades 3 through 8.

In addition to core subjects, it lets kids such as Walker’s son discover other areas of study.

“More things, like Spanish, engineering, even dance,” Walker said.

Juniors and seniors already earn college credit at Choffin Career and Technical Center. But now they’re earning real-world experience, and money, by manufacturing 3-D printers, which are then sold to other educational institutions.

It’s a partnership between the district and Applied Systems and Technology Transfer in Youngstown.

“It’s their project, but they’re using our precision machining students, working after school making $12.50 an hour. The Chaney students are coming over and adding parts to it,” said Choffin Executive Director Joe Meranto.

School leaders hope they can build on this momentum going forward.

Parents and administrators still admit there is a lot of room for improvement academically in Youngstown City Schools. A year ago, the district got C’s, D’s and F’s on its state report card…

It is unknown how they scored in areas such as achievement, progress and graduation rate this school year, until the report cards are released in August.

Here are the options available to students in the Youngstown City School District:

  • Youngstown Early College: This program is targeted to students in grades 9 through 12 and is a collaboration with Youngstown State University. Students can earn their high school diploma and an associate degree from YSU. The program offers intense academic instruction, community-based learning activities, mentors, portfolio development, workplace readiness and critical problem solving skills.
  • Choffin Career and Technical Center: The school is offered for high school juniors and seniors and offers state-of-the-art opportunities to enhance their academic studies with specialized training in competitive fields. It offers 18 programs, including manufacturing technologies, arts and communications, health sciences, transportation systems, aquaponics, education, cosmetology, culinary arts, construction and technologies.
  • East High School: Students in grades 9 through 12 are offered traditional high school classes, as well as a variety of student clubs, band and sports. Students in grades 9 and 10 explore both college and career preparation programs. When they enter their junior year, they may select a two-year career program at Choffin or the college prep program at East.
  • Discovery Program at Kirkmere: The program is for students in grades 3 through 8 and centers around six interest areas, including Spanish, engineering/math, visual arts, performing arts, creative communication and investigative science.
  • STEM Academy at the Chaney campus: STEM offers students in grades 6 through 12 a curriculum focused on science, technology, engineering and math. Students learn by examining and solving real-world problems and compete in local and state competitions.
  • Visual and Performing Arts at the Chaney campus: VPA offers students in grades 6 through 12 a comprehensive academic curriculum and intensive pre-professional training in the arts.
  • Rayen Early College: This program is offered at the Chaney campus for students in grades 6 through 8, offering a rigorous academic, college-focused process in a safe, distraction-free environment.
  • College and Career Pathways: This program is offered to all students in grades 7 and 8 at both the Chaney and East campuses. Students identify and explore their interests in relationship to college or a career.
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