Thursday, January 6, 2011

New Leadership for Youngstown's Schools

The Youngstown City Schools needs the new leadership and vision that Dr. Connie Hathorn bring, and I was excited to get to talk with him about his plans. His focus on communicating better with teachers and parents, professional development, and tracking students’ learning long before they take the annual state exams all makes sense. And having someone with no history with this community, and thus no associated baggage, should be helpful.

Yet I have to admit that I had hoped our conversation would be more concrete and specific. Perhaps it’s just that he’s still finding his way, exploring the conditions in the community and the schools, and developing strategies. Maybe he’s just not ready to make public statements about his plans. Still, I want to hear more. I want to know how the professional development he wants to offer will differ from what’s been done before. I want to know what it will take to implement his plans for constant assessment. I want to know how he plans to create change in how teachers, principals, and school staff members interact with parents and the community. Call me impatient, but the problems in Youngstown’s schools are serious, and we need to make real change.

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