Youngstown school parents list concerns for CEO

By Denise Dick


They talked about a lack of structure at East High School, a need for extracurricular activities at the elementary level and the need for more parental involvement.

Six people, most of them school district employees, showed up for CEO Krish Mohip’s morning meeting Wednesday with parents. More than 30, however, including some teachers, attended the first afternoon session for community members.

“I’m just trying to get a pulse of how things are going,” Mohip, district chief executive officer, told attendees to the afternoon gathering.

He’s a believer in neighborhood schools, a concept the city district has moved away from in recent years.

“Regardless where you live, you should be able to walk to a school and there should be a lot of activities,” the CEO said.

Kerry Ann Thomas believes the schools need to offer more after-school activities for children. She favors sports that would allow her son, Gabriel Ferguson, to burn off energy. She also wants activities that would keep the 10-year-old boy, a fifth-grader at Martin Luther King Elementary School, engaged. He’s very smart and he needs a challenge, Thomas said.

Mohip said he’s exploring options for after-school activities. A letter is expected to be sent this week to district parents to gauge their interest in an elementary school after-school program.

Between 3:30 and 6 p.m., the children would participate in academic programs. The district would feed them and then transport them home by bus.

No decision has been made to implement such a program, though.

Lanay Merriwether, 16, a junior at Youngstown Early College High School, believes some students act out because they aren’t getting the attention they need at home.

She believes district schools should offer activities for parents and students. “It would make them bond more,” she said.

A parents’ spelling bee was one of her ideas.

Mohip said each school is required to stage two parent events per month. Parents shouldn’t only come to the school for parent-teacher conferences or if their child is in trouble or struggling in school.

“Parents should have the opportunity to engage in the schools in a fun way,” he said.

Those at the morning session, Coffee and Conversation, at East High School included parents, grandparents, an aunt and a volunteer. Most of them also worked in the city schools.

They talked of teachers struggling to maintain order, students who aren’t engaged and school personnel who don’t respond timely to the public’s inquiries.

Mohip said the school district plans professional development where teachers will learn effective ways to deal with difficult situations with students.

Wednesday was the first in a series of meetings Mohip has scheduled with parents and members of the community.