Foundation Makes News at State of the Schools

Superintendent Delivers State of the Schools
Posted on 03/01/2019
Image of APS State-of-the-Schools BrochureAn unprecedented amount of community support from businesses large and small, organizations and foundations led Akron Public Schools Superintendent David W. James to invest a good deal of his State of the Schools address focusing on how the Akron community has connected to its public school classrooms. Mr. James speech, at The Tangier, was sponsored by the Akron Press Club.

College & Career Academies of Akron has, in a few short years, already begun to transform education in Akron Public Schools (APS) high schools by aligning students with myriad college and career choices. The academy transformation gives students access to corporations, small- and medium-sized businesses, and other organizations at an unprecedented level. As the community enters our classrooms to enhance education, it invites our students to enter their environments to further the learning experience.

James also delivered promising news for the future of this kind of learning experience by introducing the President of GAR Foundation Christine Mayer and Sr. Vice President Kirstin Toth to unveil an exciting, new program for APS and its youngest students. The new $1.2 million investment, Essential Experiences, will provide every APS student in Pre-K through fifth grade with a meaningful, co-curricular experience outside the classroom.

Students will visit six local cultural and historical organizations to participate in educational programming directly connected to classroom learning. Host organizations include ArtSparks, Akron Art Museum, Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Akron Zoo, Hale Farm & Village, and Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens.

"We are witnessing, again today, the very evolution of education at Akron Public Schools,” said James. “GAR Foundation's considerable contribution with Essential Experiences fits our model of giving students more real-life experiences and real connections to the community and the world. GAR addresses the need for high-quality experiential learning and brings along with it strong partnerships with other local organizations.” (For more on this exciting news, go to the GAR press release.)

The superintendent also talked about what schools can give to their communities. “Economic development and an educated population go hand in hand,” James told his audience. “Everyone in our community has not accessed the full benefits of the improving economy.” He continued, “This is particularly true in our minority populations and especially in the areas of educational attainment and workforce training. This is important as we work to keep jobs here, help new business startups and grow our economy to where it needs to be.”

Addressing recent news about some physical conflicts in two area schools that made news, the superintendent reminded his audience 85 percent of APS students, this school year, have no discipline-related incidents. About 10 percent have one disciplinary incident. The last five percent represent the majority of discipline issues, with three or more incidents.

Recent reports indicating a handful of schools experienced more than 100 incidents of fighting in the past year were misleading. The numbers actually reflected how many students were involved in altercations, not the number of altercations.

James thanked teachers for their commitment to all students and congratulated many outstanding pupils for accomplishments in the arts, science, engineering, math and technology. He praised the achievements of the partnership between APS and the LeBron James Family Foundation that created I PROMISE School (IPS).

“It has not been without its bumps in the road,” he said, “but we are moving forward with a brand new model for elementary education.” James reinforced the message that I PROMISE proves that public schools in urban America can be successful. “Too many times we are told that public schools cannot be innovative and simply do not work. We are proving the critics wrong.” Among others, Superintendent James thanked the citizens of Akron for their ongoing financial support of IPS and all Akron Public Schools.

An important message James repeated was Connecting Community to the Classroom. “We work with so many organizations and companies who want to come in and help our kids. At the same time, we reach out into the community more than ever before. This new approach is working,” James said.

David James concluded with a challenge to help young people prepare for the revolutionary way the world is changing, “Jobs, technology, finance, society in general is evolving quickly. Please help so our students don’t wake up and find the world has passed them by.”

Click on the images below to go to the Superintendent's bio Web page, the Superintendent's message to the community, and the Facts & Stats rack card.
Image of David James  Image of State of the Schools brochure Image of Facts & Stats
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