Youngstown Schools CEO unveils strategic plan

Mohip says feedback from all the meetings he had with parents, teachers and community leaders played a part in his plan

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Youngstown City Schools CEO Krish Mohip has unveiled his strategic plan for 2016 through 2019.

The theme of the plan is, “working together, our students succeed.” It spells out five specific goals, strategies and how the district will measure progress.

Full strategic plan for Youngstown City Schools

Two goals from the strategic plan, academic achievement and supporting the whole child, are already happening as students get used to their routine for the new school year.

“Holding ourselves accountable to that premise, that every single day that our children are going to receive the high-quality instruction,” Mohip said.

Mohip says there needs to be a universal definition of what high-quality instruction is so everyone is on the same page. From there, classes will be tailored to certain standards and students will work together to solve problems.

“We need to give the teachers time to really digest it,” he said. “What we have to understand is that it takes time, right? We’re not just going to say, ‘Tomorrow this is how I want everyone to teach.’”

He wants to see reading and math percentages improve, and make sure each student is ready for the next grade.

Currently, the four-year graduation rate is 80 percent. Mohip wants to see it at 85 percent next year and 90 percent the following year.

Paula Valentini, a longtime Youngstown City Schools teacher who is currently in a second grade classroom at Harding Elementary, reminds her students of post-secondary education options every time they come to class.

“We want to make sure that our children have some plans as they graduate high school. Maybe it’s going to be going on the college track, maybe they want to go into a vocational field,” she said.

Community and parent involvement is also part of the strategic plan. Mohip says he listened to feedback from parents at his community meetings.

“How are we engaging our children? How are we providing high-quality instruction? How are we providing programming?…Those are things that are reflected in that plan. We’re looking to create high-quality instruction in every single school, and we want to give equal access to all of our kids.”

Valentini sees this goal as the most important.

“We really need to ensure our parents and our students, our families, are provided with supports that would improve academics for our children.”

The two other goals call for a world-class workforce, and the district operating effectively and being financially responsible.

“We are holding ourselves accountable from the CEO down to anybody that gets a paycheck from the city schools,” Mohip said.

After the Youngstown Education Association read over his plan Wednesday, the teacher’s union says they’re optimistic it could improve the district.

Valentini, who also serves as vice president of the teacher’s union, says positive change takes time.

She says she’s used to changes with the city schools and is welcoming those Mohip plans to implement over the next three years.

“We absolutely need to make sure that this plan has a focus on students and anything we can do to provide supports as instructors to help our students, needs to be the focus of the plan.”

Mohip knows there are going to be critics of his plan. The Academic Distress Commission will be giving him feedback on it September 20.

Once the plan is in place, the district will have one year to start making changes. If it doesn’t get a grade of a C or higher by then, the CEO can make staffing changes and even close schools.

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