New East High principal works to address student tardiness

Denise Vaclav-Danko met with the Youngstown Board of Education after East High School students and parents raised concerns

The new East High School principal met with the Board of Education Friday night to discuss challenges she and her team have faced during their first week on the job.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The new East High School principal met with the Board of Education Friday night to discuss challenges she and her team have faced during their first week on the job.

Youngstown City Schools Superintendent Stephen Stohla reassigned former East High Principal Tryvan Leech, and replaced him with Denise Vaclav-Danko, a former teacher at the school. She says she wants to get the school back to basics.

“Our focus is academics. Our focus is attendance. Get students to school, get students to class on time.”

Danko and her new assistant principals told the Board that student tardiness is a priority they’re addressing right away. In their first week, they’ve conducted “hall sweeps” to make sure kids are in the classrooms.

“I’m seeing students run to class, which is exciting,” Danko said.

The Board President called Friday’s special meeting. It comes after East High students and parents raised concerns at a board meeting on Tuesday. Youngstown’s NAACP says adults in positions of power retaliated and intimated students for speaking up at the meeting.

Danko says she was not there and didn’t comment. Stohla says he received a letter on Friday and will discuss it with his legal counsel.

The first item on his agenda is getting a plan in place to move from half-day to all-day preschool. The Board needs to tell the state where the preschoolers will be by March 12, or they’ll lose out on funding.

“We’re talking about taking them all out of their neighborhood school and take them to a central location,” Stohla said. “We’ll find out what the parents want.”

That plan could also include a relocation of sixth-grade students. Stohla says it will be a big topic at school board meetings on March 1 and 8.

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