College & Career Academies Add Leadership

New Administrative Format for High Schools
Posted on 04/17/2018
Image of College & Career Academies Logo(courtesy Theresa Cottom, Ohio.com/Akron Beacon Journal)

Akron School Board members worked out more details for the district’s upcoming College and Career Academies and I Promise School during the board’s regular meeting Monday night.

Members voted to accept a $30,000 grant from the Akron Community Foundation to support the transition of the district’s high schools into College and Career Academies. The vote was unanimous among the members in attendance. Board member Lisa Mansfield was absent.

Next school year, the district’s six high schools will contain freshman academies, where students will spend ninth grade deciding on one of 57 pathways to focus their education. Then, in the 2019-2020 school year, students will embark on their chosen paths as all the high schools become full four-year academies.

Board member Ginger Baylor said the grant will “support professional development launching this summer for the high school faculty as they learn how to integrate content across disciplines and into their career themes.”

The board also approved the creation of new principal titles for the College and Career Academies: Campus Principal and Academy Principal. Campus principals will act as principals do now, overseeing the entire school. Academy principals, similar to assistant principals, will each oversee one academy.

Each high school will contain three or more academies, including one freshman academy and at least two career-themed academies. Baylor said positions will be posted online this week, and selections will be made by the time school lets out this year.

The district also received a $5,000 grant for its upcoming I Promise School opening this July in collaboration with the LeBron James Family Foundation, which the board also voted to accept during the meeting.

The grant, from the Akron Community Foundation Women’s Endowment Fund, will support the school’s “illumination period,” which is where kids will have the opportunity to participate in clubs and extracurriculars. The grant aims to encourage young girls to “explore and discover through science and mathematics.”

“I just want to give a shout-out and appreciation and our thanks to the Akron Community Foundation for investing in our kids … we really appreciate the support,” Board President Patrick Bravo said.

In executive session after the meeting, the board also approved a memorandum of understanding with the teacher’s union regarding the altered work schedule and teaching conditions at the I Promise School.

The school will have different schedules and working conditions to better educate its population of kids who are at-risk of falling behind their peers academically.

The memorandum outlines the two-week extended work year for teachers, which includes four days before the school opens, four days after it closes and nine evening family events that amount to 15 hours. Teachers will also be expected to conduct four home visits per student household each school year to engage families.

I Promise teachers will ultimately end up working almost the same number of days as other teachers in the district, so they will receive the same salary, but they will be paid extra for the two-week extended work year.

The memorandum also states that the School Discipline Review Committee must create schoolwide behavior expectations, which should include a proactive discipline program that takes into account the struggles and traumas in students’ lives, along with consequences if they don’t follow those expectations.

In other news, the board:
  • Appointed Kimberly Sabetta as North high principal with an annual salary of $109,740.10. Sabetta has served as interim principal this year.
  • Unanimously accepted a $3,500 grant from the city’s Neighborhood Partnership Program to support educational programing at Leggett Community Learning Center.
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