Posted on May 18th, 2018
The School District of the City of York Advisory Committee Meetings as part of the Recovery Plan for the School District of the City of York previously advertised to be held at the School District of the City of York Administration Building, Board Room, 31, North Pershing Avenue on Wednesday, June 13, 2018, Wednesday, July 11, 2018, and Wednesday, August 8, 2018 have been canceled.
Mindy A. Wantz, Board Secretary
Board of School Directors
Posted on May 16th, 2018
Recent media reports have highlighted the School District of the City of York’s status as the most under-funded Pennsylvania school district on a per-student basis, according to Equity First.
You can read a York Dispatch article here. An article from The York Daily Record is here.
In response to media inquiries, Superintendent Dr. Eric Holmes issued the following statement:
At the School District of the City of York, we believe that all children deserve access to an education that fully prepares them to lead healthy, happy and productive lives. We are focused on delivering that level of high-quality education to the nearly 6,000 students who attend our schools.
Since the 2015-16 school year, the district has been implementing its current Recovery Plan of 23 specific strategies designed to improve student achievement. The hard work continues, but we are beginning to see significant, measurable results. We are also committed to maintaining financial stability. For the fifth year in a row, the administration has proposed a balanced budget that does not raise property taxes.
Our students do not need us to make excuses for them. They are just as intelligent, talented and capable as any group of Pennsylvania students. But they do need an education system that allocates resources equitably so that every student can meet his or her potential.
The reality is that 55 percent of York City students live in acute poverty, 20 percent receive Special Education services and about a quarter are learning English as a second language. Since the beginning of this school year, more than 1,600 students have enrolled in the district and almost 1,000 have withdrawn. That is nearly equivalent to the entire population of William Penn Senior High School changing in one school year.
The School District of the City of York is the most under-funded district in Pennsylvania on a per-student basis with a deficit of $51.7 million. If this district received that allocation of state funds, we could significantly reduce the local property-tax rate and still have the resources necessary to transform this district and provide our children with a 21st Century education.
Posted on May 7th, 2018
The deadline for students to submit applications to the Edgar Fahs Smith STEAM Academy for the 2018-19 school year has been extended to Friday, May 25.
The STEAM Academy is accepting applications for grades 3 to 9. Students must reside within York City to apply but do not need to be currently enrolled in the School District of the City of York.
Many openings remain for grades 3 and 4, and the district especially encourages parents of those students to submit an application.
The STEAM Academy will maintain a wait list for each grade level throughout the 2018-19 school year.
Current STEAM students do not need to reapply. Students who remained on the 2017-18 wait list must submit a new application for the 2018-19 school year.
Applications are available in the main office of each district school, as well as in PDF version below. For more information, contact the STEAM Academy at (717) 849-1240.
NOTE: The April 30 deadline indicated in the application has been extended to May 25.
STEAM application grades 3-4
STEAM application grades 3-4 (Spanish)
STEAM application grades 5-9
STEAM application grades 5-9 (Spanish)
Posted on May 2nd, 2018
Martin Library and the School District of the City of York have partnered to offer the community’s children a safe place to enjoy story time and eat lunch this summer.
The 2018 Summer Reading Program kicks off Monday, June 18.
School libraries throughout the city are open on designated days of the week from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Lunch is served at noon. Children under 8 must be accompanied by an adult or a sibling over 12 years of age.
The program’s final day is Thursday, Aug. 2.
The weekly schedule is as follows:
Tuesdays: Goode, Ferguson and McKinley
Wednesdays (except July 4): Devers and Hannah Penn
Thursdays: Davis and McKinley
Posted on April 27th, 2018
By Eric B. Holmes, Ed. D.
Superintendent of Schools
The most ambitious school recovery plan in Pennsylvania history is working.
The independent education experts at Mass Insight — whose evaluation and recommendations framed the strategies the School District of the City of York has been using since 2015 to improve student achievement — have concluded, three years later, substantial progress has been made.
“On nearly every element of the plan, the district and the individual schools have done what they committed to doing, and in most cases, there is evidence that the work has made a difference,” Mass Insight said in its report delivered to the district earlier this month.
Hired by the state of Pennsylvania, Mass Insight visited the district in early March to observe classroom instruction and interview district staff and community stakeholders to gauge their sense of the district’s progress. They also collected surveys from more than 300 employees and reviewed district data and documentation.
They found increased trust between teachers and administrators and a growing belief among all district staff that “we can do this” and “we’re on the right track.”
Quoted in the Mass Insight report, several teachers said, “They have done what they said they were going to do.”
Mass Insight’s report addressed the priorities it set for us back in 2015 – support for instruction, communication, talent, resource alignment and performance management. They found that nearly all of these priorities have already had a measureable positive impact and, of the 23 strategies identified in the four-year plan, 11 have been fully implemented and the other 12 are moving toward completion.
We asked this enormous organization of more than 5,000 students and 800 employees to make a commitment to change. We asked them to trust in a plan that had the potential to transform the way we do things around here, and they’ve done it.
We have brand new curriculum written by our teachers, customized for our students. We have committed ourselves to open lines of communication with the community and within the organization. We have prioritized leadership training for our principals and teachers. We have implemented teacher looping at the elementary level and launched career academies at the William Penn Senior High School and at the Edgar Fahs Smith STEAM Academy.
This district has a top-notch team of educators and support staff who have chosen to believe in the potential of children who deserve every opportunity to lead happy, healthy, productive lives.
The first sign of district or school transformation is the reduction of students scoring below basic in math and ELA on standardized tests. Last fall, the district received our first measureable evidence of significant academic progress.
The data from our students’ performance on the 2016-17 Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) confirmed that York City students are growing academically.
In 2017, district-wide growth in both math and ELA for grades 4 to 8 exceeded the state standard for academic growth. The district had been falling short of that standard for many years prior.
“The most encouraging student assessment data available at the elementary level is the decline of students at the below basic level on the ELA PSSA,” Mass Insight reported.
Since 2014, six of our seven elementary schools have reduced the number of below basic students, bringing them into basic in ELA PSSA testing. Three of our schools have increased the number of students in advanced and proficient by more than 5 percent.
When it comes to PSSA Math scores, we’re significantly reducing the number of students in below basic and increasing the number who are advanced and proficient. Our PVAAS data shows that our students are meeting the state standard in ELA and exceeding growth in math.
At the high school level, Keystone Exam data show that York City students are meeting the state standard for growth in literature and exceeding it in algebra and biology.
I believe and I hope we will see evidence of continued academic growth reflected in the 2017-18 PSSA data when it is reported later this year.
Our challenges remain stubborn and significant.
Of all 500 Pennsylvania school districts, the School District of the City of York has the highest percentage – 55 percent — of students living in “acute poverty,” a category of extreme poverty that influences the state’s newest education funding formula.
That formula uses socioeconomic data to calculate the funding needs of a school district’s students – but it only applies to new money.
If that formula were applied to all education funding, the School District of the City of York would receive an additional $51.7 million from the state, according to a new report from Equity First, an organization that fights for equality in Pennsylvania education.
On a per-student basis, York City is the most under-funded school district in the state with a per-student deficit of more than $6,500.
Nonetheless, with our current resources, the School District of the City of York is implementing our recovery plan with fidelity.
We will continue to strengthen the curriculum, recruit and retain talented teachers, develop school leadership, support student readiness to learn and tell our story of growth and promise.
“Moving forward, (Mass Insight) recommends that the district stay the course, doubling down on its theory of action, core values, and those initiatives that will have a direct impact on strengthening the instructional core – the interaction between the teacher, the student, and the content – where learning happens.”
You can find the full Mass Insight report on our website here.
You can also find this column in the York Daily Record here.