Superintendent's State of the Schools Address

Superintendent's State of the Schools Address
Posted on 02/13/2018
Image of Superintendent David W. JamesAkron Public Schools (APS) Superintendent David W. James delivered his annual State of the Schools address to the community today at The Tangier, focusing on community partnerships and innovations in education that are transforming public schools in the city.

His theme, Connecting Community to the Classroom, detailed partnerships with many organizations and corporations in Akron that are strengthening education for children in Akron Public Schools. The Akron Press Club sponsored the superintendent's address again this year.

James detailed the collaborative work with what he called community partners who are "enthusiastically embracing" APS students and the mission to prepare students for life by making a stronger connection with the community that exists outside of the classroom.

A portion of his remarks were directed at the excitement surrounding College & Career Academies of Akron. He called it "a transformation of our high school experience" that gives students more focus on college and career with specific pathways to follow. Learning, he said, will also take place in the academies in smaller learning communities that foster a "greater sense of belonging."

James promised a "special announcement about our next academy with Beverly Warren, president of Kent State University" is coming "very shortly."

The superintendent addressed the transition taking place for students at Kenmore-Garfield High School and at Innes CLC where students from the Garfield cluster of schools have joined students from the Kenmore cluster of schools in a consolidation of resources. James also talked about the beginning work on the construction of the next community learning center, a high school to be built on the site of the current Garfield High School.

Finances are solid, James said. "However," he added, "as many of you know, the trend to deficit spending will return one day." Superintendent James told the audience of 400, "On average, additional revenue is needed every six years. We are heading into our eighth year, and we have been able to actively manage our budge deficits and continue to push off the next levy request."

James gave an update on the development of the I Promise School, directed and supported by the LeBron James Family Foundation, which plans to open next fall at 400 W. Market St. with third- and fourth-graders the first to use the new school.

"The I Promise School will take everything that has worked to motivate, educate and inspire students in Akron and turn it into a brick-and-mortar school tailored just for them," James said.

Regarding recent calls for stronger classroom discipline by the Akron Education Association, James said work is beginning with an ad hoc committee, created by the school board and including community leaders, to address the concerns.

James told his audience, "There are due process rights afforded all students so their parents can see the evidence in a hearing conducted by our board. There are also federal privacy laws that protect our students, some of whom have disabilities that are the root cause for their disruptive behavior."

The 2018 speech script, State-of-the-Schools trifold, and Facts About APS may be downloaded below.
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