County career center earns passing grade

LISBON – Although it is not graded in all the same areas as other local schools, the Columbiana County Career and Technical Center received a report card in three areas.

Director/Assistant Superintendent Jeremy Corbisello explained the results of the new grading system to the board of education this week. While other districts’ report cards are based on 2012-13 school year, the current results for CCCTC are actually based on 2011 graduates.

In the area of four-year graduation rate, based on those students who were ninth-graders in 2008 and graduated in 2011, the CCCTC scored 96.8 percent, which is an A letter grade. However, in the area of five-year graduation, those students who were ninth-graders in 2007 and graduated in 2011, the CCCTC scored a 93.2 percent, which is a B.

Corbisello explained those students with special needs or Individual Education Plans (IEPs) are allowed additional years to complete transitions goals. Provided they do not accept their high school diploma, those students can continue working toward their goals until age 23.

“I’m willing to get a lower grade when we are tasked with creating a workforce,” Corbisello said, adding it is more important to him to get those students ready to work.

However, the final area was the CCCTC’s lowest score. Those students finding employment, going on to post-secondary education, entering the military or an apprenticeship program within six months following their graduation from the career center only equalled 71.9 percent. Although technically an F on the chart, the CCCTC received additional points for knowing where 100 percent of its former 2011 graduates are, and the score was bumped up a letter grade to a D.

With an unemployment rate in the county between 15.2 percent in 2010 and 9.7 percent in 2012, Corbisello pointed out it is difficult for anyone starting out to find employment. He said the career center has instituted a program to help train students to search and interview for jobs. He also is encouraging staff members to make additional partnerships with local businesses.

He is also looking at additional ways to keep in touch with former students.

“We have a great staff here and now that we know what we need to work on, I guarantee we are going to do better,” Corbisello said.