Hearing on Helen Thackston charter scheduled for 10/17 has been canceled

The hearing officer has granted the joint request from counsel for both the Helen Thackston Charter School and the School District of the City of York to cancel a public hearing scheduled for 10 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 17. The hearing is continued until Friday, Oct. 20 at 10 a.m.

School District Of The City Of York

Meeting notice: Dec. Reorganization meeting set

Posted on November 30th, 2017

MEETING NOTICE

The Annual Reorganization Meeting of the Board of School Directors of the School District of the City of York, Pennsylvania, will be held on Wednesday, December 6, 2017, at 6:00 p.m. in the Board Room of the Administration Building, 31 North Pershing Avenue, York, Pennsylvania for the purpose of reorganizing and any other matters to come before the Board.

Mindy A. Wantz, Board Secretary
Board of School Directors

MEETING NOTICE

The Board Meeting of the Board of School Directors of the School District of the City of York, Pennsylvania, will be held Wednesday, December 20, 2017 beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the Board Room of the Administration Building, 31 North Pershing Avenue, York, Pennsylvania.

Mindy A. Wantz, Board Secretary
Board of School Directors

Official academic growth data reflect significant gains for York City students

Posted on October 20th, 2017

The School District of the City of York has received official data from the Pennsylvania Department of Education that indicates our Recovery Plan strategies to improve student achievement are working.

For the first time since Pennsylvania started using the Pennsylvania Value Added Assessment (PVAAS) measure of student academic growth, district-wide data reflect that York City students in grades 4-8 met the standard for PA Academic Growth in English Language Arts and exceeded the standard for PA Academic Growth in Math.

From an individual building perspective, data show that six out of seven district K-8 schools met the PA Academic Growth standards in both English Language Arts and Math. At the William Penn Senior High School, growth measurements indicate that students met or exceeded PA Academic Growth standards on the Keystone Exams in Algebra 1, Biology and Literature.

The district is also pleased to report increases in School Performance Profile (SPP) scores for six of eight district schools.

“This data tells me that the School District of the City of York has turned a corner,” Superintendent Dr. Eric Holmes said. “Real change does not happen quickly, and we still have a long way to go. But I believe we are moving forward in the right direction.”

Growth data are reported through PVAAS, which is a statistical analysis that measures the academic progress of groups of students over time. The most recent data reflect students’ performance on the 2016-17 Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA).

While York City students’ overall performance on the PSSA test remains well below the state average, 2016-17 test results also harbor evidence of progress.

“I see significant numbers of students moving from the ‘below basic’ level to the ‘basic’ level across grades, schools and subjects,” Holmes said. “That means we are making significant gains from year to year, and I believe we will start to see more students move into the ‘proficient’ and ‘advanced’ levels in the coming years.”

Holmes encouraged the community to evaluate students’ test performance and the school district’s progress in the context of the severe socioeconomic circumstances that manifest as obstacles to academic achievement.

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.

Last year, 86 percent of district students qualified for free-and-reduced lunch under federal guidelines. Nearly 370 district families self-reported as homeless.

Between the beginning and the end of the 2016-17 school year, 1,328 students registered as new students in the district. During the same time period, 1,274 students withdrew from the district. Those numbers do not include building-to-building transfers. Enrollment during the 2016-17 school year hovered around 5,500 students.

Of those 5,500 students, 37 percent qualified for English Learner services as students learning English as a second language.

At the beginning of the 2017-18 school year, the district administered an assessment that measures a student’s Kindergarten readiness. About 62 percent of the district’s Kindergarten students tested “below” or “well below” benchmark.

“The majority of our students come to us in Kindergarten needing intensive academic support. We do not turn them away, and we do not make excuses. We embrace the task of catching them up as quickly as possible,” Holmes said. “So when I see significant numbers of students moving from ‘below basic’ to ‘basic’ on the PSSA, I know we’re delivering the high-quality education York City’s children deserve.”

The School District of the City of York has been working since the 2015-16 school year to implement the ambitious strategies of its Recovery Plan, which is designed to improve student achievement over time.

Those strategies include the opening of the Edgar Fahs Smith STEAM Academy in August 2017; the implementation of a new teacher-developed K-6 curriculum in 2016-17; the piloting of a district-wide teacher looping program in 2016-17 with full implementation launched for 2017-18; commitment to a Distributed Leadership program started in 2015-16; launch of the Freshman Academy in 2015-16; continued support and expansion of the district’s Pre-K, After School and Communities in Schools programs; commitment to improved communications strategies launched in 2015-16; overhaul of the district’s discipline policy and implementation of a Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports program in 2016-17; and commitment to addressing students’ social-emotional needs through the hiring of social workers and behavior specialists in 2016-17.

District, Helen Thackston Charter School agreement serves best interests of students and taxpayers

Posted on October 20th, 2017

The governing boards for the School District of the City of York and the Helen Thackston Charter School have reached an agreement on the charter school’s future that serves the best interests of York City students and saves significant taxpayer dollars.

The directors of each organization voted Oct. 19, 2017 to approve a legally binding agreement that guarantees the charter school’s closure on or before June 30, 2019.

The agreement stipulates a Jan. 31, 2018 deadline for the charter school to complete and approve at a public meeting independent financial audits for the years ending June 30, 2014; June 30, 2015; and June 30, 2016. The agreement also stipulates an April 1, 2018 deadline for the completion and approval of an independent financial audit for the year ending June 30, 2017.

If the Helen Thackston Charter School fails to meet any of the audit deadlines, then the school will cease operations no later than June 30, 2018, according to the agreement.

If the charter school remains open for the 2018-19 school year, the charter school has agreed not to enroll a 6th grade class and to cap its total enrollment of grades 7-12 students who reside within the school district’s boundaries at 400.

District and charter school representatives negotiated this agreement in good faith with a mutually shared goal of avoiding an expensive, time-consuming and emotionally taxing legal process that would have likely taken two years to complete under the requirements of the Charter School Law.

As the entity responsible for holding York City charter schools accountable to state laws and the obligations of individual charters, the school district has spent several years attempting to resolve serious concerns with the Helen Thackston Charter School.

In 2014, the district’s Board of Directors approved a 5-year renewal of Helen Thackston’s charter with an extensive list of conditions to be met. Those conditions included, for example, improved student performance on PSSA and Keystone tests and implementation of the unique Homeland Security programming and opportunities promised in its charter application. Helen Thackston officials agreed to these conditions with the acknowledgment that failure to comply could form the basis for charter revocation or nonrenewal.

Earlier this year, following a lengthy review of the charter school’s operations since the 2014 renewal, district administration recommended and the Board of School Directors agreed to begin charter revocation proceedings. Public hearings were scheduled to begin Oct. 13, 2017 but were canceled as district and charter school representatives negotiated the resolution approved by both entities today.

“We have a duty to hold charter schools accountable to the public. We also have a responsibility to the public to spend their tax dollars wisely,” Superintendent Dr. Eric Holmes said. “This agreement allows us to meet both of those objectives.”

Act 80 days scheduled for teacher professional development

Posted on October 18th, 2017

The Board of School Directors for the School District of the City of York has approved a schedule of Act 80 days to give district teachers time for professional development.

On an Act 80 day, the school is closed to students. All other schools, unless otherwise noted, are open.

The following is a schedule of upcoming Act 80 days:

Ferguson K-8: Tuesday, Oct. 24

Devers K-8: Thursday, Oct. 26

William Penn Senior High School and Cornerstone: Tuesday, Oct. 31

Goode K-8: Wednesday, Nov. 1

Jackson: Thursday, Nov. 2

Davis K-8: Tuesday, Nov. 7

Edgar Fahs Smith STEAM Academy: Tuesday, Nov 7

 

Special board meeting scheduled on Helen Thackston Charter School

Posted on October 17th, 2017

SPECIAL MEETING NOTICE

The Board of Directors of the School District of the City of York, Pennsylvania will hold a Special Board Meeting on Thursday, October 19, 2017 at 6:30 p.m. relating to Helen Thackston Charter School and any other matters that may come before the Board.  The meeting will be held in the Board Room of the Administration Building, 31 North Pershing Avenue, York, Pennsylvania.

Mindy A. Wantz, Board Secretary

Board of School Directors

Bearcat basketball returns to Philadelphia on Dec. 15

Posted on October 9th, 2017

Bearcat basketball fans are invited to support the boys basketball team Friday, Dec. 15 for a game against Cedar Crest at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. The game is scheduled for 2:15 p.m.

Then, at 7 p.m., the Bearcats and their fans will watch the Philadelphia 76ers take on the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Tickets are on sale now. Click here to order yours!

thumbnail of basketball in philly

 

Interactive ‘STREAM Fair’ for preschool students offered Oct. 7

Posted on September 29th, 2017

The School District of the City of York’s Pre-K program is among organizations offering a free interactive educational event for students in the birth-to-Kindergarten age range on Saturday, Oct. 7.

The Extreme STREAM Fair will begin at 10 a.m. at the York Expo Center’s Horticultural Hall, 334 Carlisle Ave.

See the flyer below for more information.

thumbnail of STREAM Flyer – Full page

 

Free Saturday lacrosse clinic offered to York City students

Posted on September 22nd, 2017

The City of York is inviting students in grades 2-5 to participate in a series of Saturday lacrosse clinics starting Sept. 23.

The six-week program held at Memorial Park Field #6 is free and open to both boys and girls. The clinic will begin at 10 a.m. for 2nd and 3rd grade students and 11 a.m. for 4th and 5th grade students.

Pre-registration is required. Contact Hugh Ortner at (717) 849-2276 or hortner@yorkcity.org.

See the flyer below for more information.

Our Schools