Central York seeks public comment on its plan for the next three years

Meredith Willse
York Dispatch

Central York School District is seeking the public's input on its comprehensive plan, which outlines its path ahead through 2025.

In addition to setting goals for academics, using Pennsylvania System of School Assessment scores, the plan also lays out plans for the larger school community, extracurricular activities and infrastructure.

“We know academics are important," said Kevin Youcheff, the district's assistant superintendent, "but we also know some children thrive in the performing arts, some children thrive on the athletic field.”

Superintendent Peter Aiken said the district put together a group of about 30 people, made up of school officials, community members and parents who have met five times since August to make this plan. 

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Youcheff said the plan prioritizes early literacy as well as math and science skills.

The plan outlines steps, goals and a timeline to achieve those goals. The district wants to research, evaluate and adopt a common English Language Arts resource for kindergarten through sixth grade by the start of the 2024-2025 school year. 

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By the end of that school year, the district wants those students to show a reading proficiency of 80% or higher on local and state assessments, such as PSSA. Kindergarten and first grade teachers have been trained on a program, Heggerty Resource, to help address “phonological awareness instruction and skills.” Teachers will monitor the progress through weekly instruction and assessments, according to the plan.

Youcheff said these steps are also supported by professional development plans. 

A resident informs the Central York School Board about her concerns regarding future policy changes Monday night.  Meredith Willse photo

The plan was posted after the meeting and is available for 28 days. The public will have a chance to give their feedback on the plan and the board will discuss it again during its Dec. 5 meeting before voting on Dec. 12.

Youcheff also informed the board that 85% of the class of 2023 met the state’s Act 158 requirements to graduate. 

“Which is a really good place to be,” he said. 

These requirements, which Gov. Tom Wolf signed in 2018, provide alternatives to the state’s requirements of “attaining proficiency on the three end-of-year-course Keystone Exams” to graduate, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Education. This is the first graduating class to be impacted by it.  

Sixty-one seniors haven't met the goals, he said, but the district is working with them. 

Board member Amy Milsten announced four students behind the Panther Anti-Racist Student Union in 2021 will be recognized on Jan. 14 by the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, based in Atlanta, Georgia. Milsten said it is a big honor for Edha Gupta, Christina Ellis, Renee Ellis and Olivia Pituch to be recognized by The King Center. Renee Ellis is currently a senior; the other three have graduated.

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Salary changes: Director of Human Resources Bobbi Billman told the board she raised the maximum and minimum salaries by 2.5% in the wage and salary guide. The guide is usually presented in June along with other salary-related documents but was pushed off from this past June as the board was working on support staff negotiations then. 

“We don't want to raise our minimum too high because that could get us into problems when we hire a new employee,” she said, adding the guide is based on today’s economy. 

The next school board action meeting is 6:30 p.m. Nov. 21. The meeting can be attended in person at their administration center at 775 Marion Road or on the district’s YouTube channel.

The public can read the district's comprehensive plan in its entirety at https://www.cysd.k12.pa.us/fs/resource-manager/view/061aad2f-800a-4e50-b362-d8f3f5485ee8.

— Reach Meredith Willse at mwillse@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @MeredithWillse.