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William Holmes McGuffey PK-8 Elementary School third-grade teacher Marc Ellis presents a math lesson to students in September 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic sets in. Many students spent most of the 2020-21 school year learning at a distance.

According to the 2020-21 Ohio School Reports, the three largest schools in the Mahoning Valley had some of the worst attendance rates and some of the least impressive graduation rates.

Released by the Ohio Department of Education on Thursday, the reports are different from previous years, with no written notes. Enrollment figures, attendance rates, graduation rates, and performance and teacher statistics have been released, but no overall rating or rating for districts or buildings has been given, in accordance with to a law passed by state lawmakers recognizing “the various barriers to education that the pandemic has presented,” according to ODE.

PRESENCE, DIPLME NUMBERS

The school districts of Austintown, Warren and Youngstown are the three largest in the valley, each with over 4,000 students. Youngstown is the largest district, with about 4,700 students, and has the worst attendance and graduation rates of the two counties – a graduation rate of 87.3% and an attendance rate of 78.4%.

Youngstown City Schools CEO Justin Jennings said that although attendance and graduation rates are low, the district has the highest four-year / five-year graduation rate of all Distressed School Districts in the State or Ohio 8 – a group of eight urban Ohio school districts that include Akron, Cleveland, and Columbus.

“Although we are very disappointed with the numbers, we will continue to work to improve the learning of our academics. It’s an ever-changing process, ”Jennings said.

The district has been hit by the pandemic as it stole attention, he said. However, administrators will study the data to identify where and how to improve, Jennings said.

No other school district in the Mahoning Valley has an attendance rate below 90 percent, except Warren, at 85.4 percent.

Austintown District at 91.2%, Struthers and Campbell have some of the lowest attendance rates in Mahoning County, while Liberty Schools in Trumbull County are the lowest with Warren.

Pete Pirone, superintendent of schools in the town of Struthers, said the pandemic had hit schools hard.

The district has implemented a summer school, after-school intervention program, tutoring and other monitoring programs and systems to identify and help late children, Pirone said.

Children who start school already behind on kindergarten and first grade skills often have the most problems, Pirone said. Socio-economic issues exacerbate the problem, he said.

However, the district has alternative programs and improvement programs to catch up with students and prepare them for life after graduation, he said.

While Youngstown is the largest city and largest school district in Mahoning County and has the lowest graduation rate, the smallest county school district in Sebring is not far behind with a rate of 89.5. %. This figure has improved by 7.1 percentage points since the 2020 report.

Toni Viscounte, superintendent of schools in Sebring, said that a small class of graduates – only 383 students are enrolled in the district – means that even one or two students disconnecting at age 18 “has a huge impact on the percentage of graduation. “.

The district is making efforts to improve, she said. The data is one year behind.

“We have identified the students most at risk and implemented specific targeted strategies to ensure our students have the right path to graduation. Although we are not finished, our efforts are paying off, ”said Viscounte.

The local school district of Jackson-Milton has the second highest graduation rate at 98.4% and the district of Lowellville has the highest at 100%, a figure matched by Bristol schools in Trumbull County.

“We are very proud and committed to academic success alongside safety, as our first and foremost priority. Our Kindergarten to Grade 12 staff work transparently to ensure that children graduate at the highest percentage rates (and) that they are ready to achieve any of their aspirations, ”a said Eugene Thomas, superintendent of schools in Lowellville.

The districts of Poland and the Western Branch also had graduation rates of 98% or more in 2020.

In County Trumbull, besides Bristol, LaBrae District, Weathersfield and Maplewood schools had the highest graduation rates, all 97.7 or higher.

“We are always proud of the great work our entire district does for graduate students at a high rate. The district continues to work as a team to maintain high standards of graduation and attendance, ”said Damon Dohar, Principal of Weathersfield Schools.

John Vitto, deputy superintendent of Canfield schools, said the district was “proud” of its graduation and attendance rates. The district has the third highest graduation rate of any district in Mahoning County with 98.2%, one of the highest in the valley as well. The rate increased 0.2 percentage points from 2020. The district’s attendance rate is the third highest in Mahoning County at 95.5%.

Vitto said in-person training with online options for quarantined students was part of the key to their success. He also said that the high expectations set by teachers, parents and the students themselves have led to student success.

“Getting his high school diploma on time is an expectation in our community,” said Vitto.

Other aspects not measured by the report card are also important to the success of a school district, Vitto said.

“These indicators are not the only indicators that measure a good school community. School climate matters – extracurricular opportunities, social and emotional variables – things a report can’t really measure, ”Vitto said.

STATE SUPPORT

“While we don’t have as much information as usual, schools and districts can use the data from this year’s report cards to guide decisions about where and how to focus time, effort and resources that will best serve their students amid the challenges of the pandemic, ”said Dr. Stephanie K. Siddens, Acting Superintendent of Public Education.

Visit reportcard.education.ohio.gov to explore the data.

The ODE provides resources and support to help districts make “student-centered decisions that lead to improvement”.

The state’s educational community has shown great perseverance throughout the pandemic, Siddens said.

“The entire educational community continues to be a model of perseverance, dedication and resilience despite the challenges that still exist inside and outside the classroom. I applaud districts and schools across the state for their commitment to innovation and creativity as they continue to ensure that students, educators and staff are healthy, safe. and succeed every day, ”she said.

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