Youngstown School District outlines progress, how far it still has to go

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Tuesday afternoon, Youngstown Schools CEO Krish Mohip and his staff laid out in great detail the accomplishments and the many challenges still confronting the district.

They presented it to the Academic Distress Commission during a meeting that lasted over two hours.

State of the Schools: April 2017-July 2017 Progress Update

Mohip opened the presentation with accomplishments — preschool expansion, after-school programs, the shift to neighborhood schools, and the revamping of busing.

But he also talked about the problems.

“We still see about 50 — well, say 50 to 60 — positions that are open right now that we need to fill before September 5.”

Enrollment is down 221 students over two years while the number of discipline days fell from well over 12,000 to 6,600.

The school system’s overall GPA rose from 2.26 to 2.45 but other indicators showed a system that still has major academic problems.

From 2016 to 2017, math scores in fifth through eighth grade all fell. Only 4.46 percent of Youngstown’s eighth graders are proficient in math, so the way math is taught is being changed.

But one statistic that really highlighted the deficiency of the school system was that only one student at East High passed the proficiency test in geometry.

Afterward, Academic Distress Commission Chairman Brian Benyo said Youngstown was blessed to have Krish Mohip.

“In any organization undergoing the extent of changes that this school system has seen, it is easy to find talking points to criticize. It is hard to find solutions.”

Teachers union President Larry Ellis was the only person in the audience that spoke, reminding the commission that teachers have taken pay freezes and to keep a close watch on finances.

“I appreciate you saying you’re taking a hands-off approach but I think the commission does need to take a hands-on approach and be involved as the overseeing agent of the district and not giving all the power to one person,” Ellis said.

Part of the presentation also dealt with solutions. Teachers and administrators will be coached, parents and the community will be pushed harder to get involved, and more of an effort is being made to make sure students are bused as safely and quickly as possible.