Community Connect for June 2018

Take a Breath
Posted on 06/07/2018
Image of Superintendent David JamesJune. Ahh, June. This is the time of year that educators began dreaming about -- back when they were coming to work in the dark and going home in the dark (Read: winter). Many revel in the idea of warmer weather, sunlight, driving without sliding, and yes ... vacation. Oh, and some just can't wait to have a break from the rigors of being an educator. Those of us who are administrators, as am I, feel similarly even though the rigors of the job are a bit different and we don't have the summer off.

But fewer and fewer teachers in this day and age -- at least here at APS -- are taking the traditional break that lasts all summer. We have extended teaching and learning in Akron Public Schools with summer enrichment programs -- special offerings that take kids into outdoor educational opportunities; special camps for students to have fun while learning about science, math, theatre, English and reading; and more.

Learning should not stop in summer. Some of us have discussed for years the idea of year-round school. Students who keep learning in summer do better when everything gears back up in the fall. That's not surprising. So it is with Akron Public Schools. We have more kids involved in learning over summer and more of our educators sticking around to keep the learning process alive. I think it's wonderful -- summer learning. Let's not even call it summer school. That might make it even more fun.

As I spend my time between the end of this school year and the start of the next, I have much on my mind. We'll be opening our newest community learning center. Case CLC is a wonderful, modern facility for students and teachers, and we're excited for the Case family to leave the swing space behind at 400 W. Market St. and begin making their mark in the new school on Garman Road.

Their leaving opens up 400 W. Market St. for the exciting, new I Promise School we are developing in partnership with LeBron James and the LeBron James Family Foundation. You'll be hearing quite a bit about this over the next several weeks as classes begin there July 30.

We are working on constructing the new Ellet CLC and making plans for the new high school to serve the Kenmore and Garfield clusters of schools.

Our 1:World initiative is making sure all students have the best technology at their fingertips here at school and at home as we equip each student with a Google Chromebook.

Our most ambitious effort remains our College & Career Academies of Akron (C&CAA). This transformation of high school education in Akron is being received with an enormous amount of enthusiasm from our community of families and our business community. I fully expect the enthusiasm to continue to be high as we keep you up to date on how many partners are becoming our allies in education. College & Career Academies of Akron has more than a dozen corporate partners already, and we're just getting started.

The benefits we are already seeing, even as this program is still early in its development, are the connections our students are making with potential employers, career opportunities and higher education. We have made the connection now between education and careers that our city has struggled with up until now because it did not have a strong connection between school and business communities.

There are many exciting announcements in the pipeline, as we say, that will be coming out of our C&CAA in the coming months. The influences of these programs are soon to be trickling down throughout Akron Public Schools so that our families will benefit from K through 12 from this team approach to educating our children. This is very exciting.

I'm going to keep this fairly brief because, well, it's a nice day and you probably have a few other things to do to perhaps plan some time off for yourself and your family in the coming weeks. Enjoy yourself, be safe and look for me to reconnect with you with more exciting news in a couple of months.

Best Wishes,
Image of David James signature
David W. James
Akron Public schools
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