Thursday, 24 January 2019 11:34

City Apologizes for Snow-Covered Streets

Winter Storm Harper dumped more than a foot of snow across most of Akron Saturday and into Sunday, leaving a lot of residents stuck over the weekend. 

It's understandable, especially when it comes all at once as the snow did over the weekend. 

Monday was the Martin Luther King holiday for Akron Public Schools and Tuesday was declared a "snow day" by Superintendent David James. By Wednesday, students were ready to head back to school, but the city wasn't. By the end of the day Wednesday, a report from APS spokesman Mark Williamson was that a total of 19 school buses wound up stuck in snow and needed assistance getting out. (Update: Thursday morning 8 more school buses were stuck, according to Williamson.) Williamson said not only is it up to the city to clear the streets, but it's also up to Akron residents to clear their sidewalks, to help the students who walk to school get their safely. Otherwise, Williamson tells us, there are students walking in the streets, which is obviously dangerous. 

Back to the roads, Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan spoke with the Ray Horner Morning Show on 1590 WAKR, saying there is no excuse for the excess snow that remained through the holiday and into Wednesday, and that the city is doing everything to prevent a repeat. 

Read the full statement from the City of Akron below: 

First, an apology. We have failed to provide a timely level of service to all City streets in response to this storm, and we are sorry.

We apologize to the Akron community for the inconvenience and frustration our response has caused. The level of service we provided has fallen short of what our residents rightly expect. While we have devoted 100% of our available City resources 24/7 to plow and salt all primary, secondary and residential streets following Winter Storm Harper, the results of these efforts have been unacceptable. We appreciate the patience the Akron community has extended this week. We have heard your concerns and we will do better in the future.

Mayor Horrigan has directed the City to immediately reassess every policy, procedure, agreement and route and to make necessary changes to our approach to ensure that future snow events are addressed effectively and efficiently from day one.

What we are doing right now:

The City has deployed every single vehicle and piece of City equipment capable of removing snow and ice to work to clear City streets and plow every residential neighborhood as soon as possible. The City has deployed 7 private contractors to augment the City’s efforts and plow residential streets in tandem with our crews. They will use graders, backhoes, plow trucks and bobcats to increase our snow removal capabilities. We have established emergency mandatory overtime with the ultimate goal of opening every street in Akron before the next weather event. The County of Summit is also assisting with available truck and equipment. Public Service has called in all city workers from Sewer, Water and Public Works that are not in plow trucks to start the process of cleaning storm inlets. All together there are more than 100 vehicles currently activated within Akron to remove snow and ice from city streets.

The City will be enforcing the parking ban when necessary to clear streets. Some cars will be towed. Residents are reminded not to park on the street until the ban is lifted and all streets are clear. Due to rainfall and melting snow, there are areas of standing water. Drivers are reminded to drive slowly and cautiously in these areas.

The City has been experiencing intermittent failure of both the online 3-1-1 portal and our 3-1-1 phone line. However, every City street is on the list to be plowed, whether a 3-1-1 request is received or not. Streets are prioritized based on traffic patterns, and all streets will be plowed as soon as possible.

What is coming next:

Winter Strom Indra and freezing temperatures are on the way. Icy streets are expected in the coming days. Residents are urged to prepare accordingly. The parking ban on primary streets will likely remain in place until the accumulation from Winter Storm Indra has been cleared. The City’s all-hands-on-deck approach, including the use of private contractors will continue through the next storm event.

Published in Local

Akron Public Schools and Bridgestone Americas are teaming up to further advance the district's College and Career Academies program. 

On October 30th, about 100 students at East Community Learning Center will be part of a new, hands-on experience working with top-of-the-line automotive technology at the new Automotive Training Center, thanks in part to the Firestone Complete Auto Care program. 

Of the new venture, APS Superintendent David James says the new East CLC Automotive Training Center will offer a full-service Firestone Autocare center where students will "be learning about automotive technology, but also the retail side of a regular Firestone Autocare store. "They have a critical need for automotive technicians across the country," James says, "as their employee population begins to age (and near retirement)." 

The East CLC Automotive Training Center will officially open with a ribbon cutting ceremony on October 30th. 

Published in Local

(Akron Public Schools) Today Akron Public Schools (APS) formally welcomed Stark State College (Stark State) as a sister college to Kenmore-Garfield High School. The partnership is part of the growing community of businesses and organizations engaging in the new College & Career Academies for APS high schools. More than 100 business and community leaders gathered at Stark State College for the announcement. 

Modeled after "Sister Cities" that were launched by President Dwight Eisenhower's administration in 1956 to help cities share best practices, a sister college will give support and provide resources to APS students as they explore various college and career options. Stark State College will work with teachers at Kenmore-Garfield to develop career-themed classroom content; design and present "problem-based" learning opportunities; provide parent and student workshops and assistance on the college admissions process; and offer valuable enrichment opportunities. 

APS Superintendent David James said at today's announcement, "We are thrilled that Stark State College has agreed to be the first named partner for Kenmore-Garfield High School. Its partnership will enhance the academic experience for our students and guide students and families on a path toward higher learning." 

Kenmore-Garfield Principal Kathryn Rodocker added, "Whether a student's path is employment, enrollment in college or enlistment in the military, Stark State College will help ensure that he or she is prepared." 

"We welcome this new partnership with Akron Public Schools as an extension of our current collaborative efforts with the district," said Stark State College President Para M. Jones, Ph.D. "Stark State College is proud to work with Kenmore-Garfield as a 'sister school' to support college and career readiness and success for all students. We look forward to working with students, teachers, parents and staff to achieve these important goals, which align with APS career academy goals and the economic development plan for Akron and Summit County." 

The partnership between Akron Public Schools and Stark State College was formed with the help of United Way of Summit County. Last year, APS announced that United Way would serve as a link between the College and Career Academies of Akron and local businesses to provide hands-on learning opportunities for students and to strengthen the education-to-employment pipeline in Summit County. 

"This partnership represents an incredible opportunity," said Jim Mullen, president and CEO of United Way of Summit County. "More than ever before, post-secondary education and career training are essential to the success of our youth. By helping prepare the students of Kenmore-Garfield for college, Stark State is bringing them one step closer to a successful career, a stable livelihood and the chance to make their mark on the future of our community." 

APS was designated a Ford Next Generation Learning Community in May 2017. Ford Motor Company Fund, the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company, is supporting the transformation of public high schools into career-themed academies to better prepare students for college and professional success in today's competitive global economy. College and Career Academies of Akron are supported by the following key strategic partners: GAR Foundation, United Way of Summit County, ConxusNEO, Summit Education Initiative and Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce. 

***

About Akron Public Schools: 
Akron Public Schools (APS) enrolls more than 21,000 students and employs 3,000 teaching and non-teaching professionals in Northeastern Ohio. The district, one of the state's largest and most diverse, covers 62 square miles in a city of 195,000. APS educators are committed to rigorous teaching and learning, safe learning centers, and community engagement to prepare young people to be well rounded and ready for the challenges of learning that follow in life. The goal of APS is to be the #1 urban school system in the United States. For more information about Akron Public Schools, visit AkronSchools.com

About Stark State College: 
Stark State College focuses on affordable, quality higher education that propels students to career success or launches them toward advanced degrees. The College offers more than 230 associate degrees and certificates in business, education, engineering technologies, health, human and public services, information technology, liberal arts, mathematics, and sciences. Stark State also works closely with business and industry to train a skilled workforce in meeting talent pipeline needs for in-demand jobs. The College enrolls more than 14,000 students, about a quarter of whom are from the Akron area. Stark State College Akron is a new 50,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility at 360 Perkins St. Learn more at starkstate.edu/akron

About United Way of Summit County: 

United Way of Summit County takes on the issues that matter most to children and families in Greater Akron. We pursue Bold Goals through forward-thinking strategies, innovative programs and hands-on work in our community. We team up with private and public leaders, local businesses, and thousands of volunteers from across our community to create change that matters. Together, we are hand raisers. Game changers. Because there's a better future in store for Greater Akron, and the time is now to make it happen. Learn more at uwsummit.org.

Published in Local
The first day of school has descended upon Akron Public Schools. A clean slate, a fresh start for many, whether they are a student, educator, administrator, or even a facility itself.

David James, the superintendent of Akron Public Schools, joined the Ray Horner Morning Show in studio to discuss the scholastic year ahead. James and Horner talked about the new academies that have popped up recently, as well as the I Promise School and Case CLC.

James also touched on the athletics and the arts in Akron Public Schools across the board, as well as the steady enrollment.

Published in WAKR RAY HORNER
Tuesday, 24 July 2018 11:33

APS Adds to College, Career Academies

(Akron Public Schools) Today Akron Public Schools (APS) and Bridgestone Americas, Inc. announced the new Bridgestone Academy of Applied Engineering and Technology, which will bring a Firestone Complete Auto Care (FCAC) center to East Community Learning Center (CLC) in the Fall of the 2018/2019 school year. The center will give up to 100 students hands-on experience working with top-of-the-line automotive technology while learning business practices necessary to run a retail store. Bridgestone Americas will also become a Named Academy Partner in the growing community of businesses engaging in the new College & Career Academies of Akron for APS high schools.

Akron Public Schools will retrofit a portion of the existing Automotive Technology lab at East CLC in conjunction with Bridgestone Americas, which will donate materials, fixtures, and point-of-sale systems. The center will come complete with software programs, customer waiting area and equipment to service vehicles. Uniformed students will provide limited auto maintenance services to the local community while practicing exemplary customer service and business acumen. All revenue generated from service and sales will be reinvested into the program.

“The Automotive Technology program at East CLC has a long history of teaching students auto repair skills,” Chadwick Groom, East CLC automotive technology teacher said. “This collaboration with Bridgestone Americas will strengthen our curriculum by providing students with more advanced training while learning about customer service and business fundamentals.”

“Bridgestone is thrilled to be part of the College & Career Academies of Akron. This collaboration underscores our long-term, deep-seated commitment and ties to the Akron community and education in particular,” said Christine Karbowiak, Chief Administrative Officer, Chief Risk Officer, and Executive Vice President, Bridgestone Americas.“Bridgestone is a leader in innovation, and this training center is a tangible representation of Our Way to Serve, our corporate social responsibility commitment. The center reflects our dedication to educating the next generation of automotive and retail professionals, using the latest technology, operational procedures and business practices offered in our Firestone Complete Auto Care tire and automotive service centers.”

This new center was inspired by Maplewood High School Automotive Training Center, a public-private collaboration between Bridgestone Americas and Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools to benefit Nashville education. Since the beginning of the collaboration in 2015, Bridgestone has hired 17 Maplewood graduates as store teammates and 12 as interns at Firestone Complete Auto Care locations in the Nashville region.

“We are grateful for the investment Bridgestone Americas has made in our students at East CLC,” APS Superintendent David W. James said. “This collaboration marks another step forward in the transformation of APS high school education to College & Career Academies, providing all students with the opportunity to explore their world in greater depth and achieve success after graduation.”

APS was designated a Ford Next Generation Learning Community in May, 2017. Ford Motor Company Fund, the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company, is supporting the transformation of public high schools into career-themed academies to better prepare students for college and professional success in today's competitive global economy. College and Career Academies of Akron are supported by the following key strategic partners: GAR Foundation, United Way of Summit County, ConxusNEO, Summit Education Initiative, and Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce.

The collaboration between Akron Public Schools and Bridgestone Americas, Inc. was formed with the help of United Way of Summit County. In May, APS announced that United Way would serve as a link between the College and Career Academies of Akron and local businesses to provide hands-on learning opportunities for students and to strengthen the education to employment pipeline in Summit County.

“United Way is proud to work with Bridgestone Americas, Inc. to bring the Bridgestone Academy of Applied Engineering and Technology to East CLC,” said Jim Mullen, United Way president and CEO. “Akron Public Schools, through their College and Career Academies, are transforming their educational model. Bridgestone’s investment will help them create exciting new learning experiences that will prepare students with valuable skills for future success.”

 

Published in Local
Tuesday, 13 February 2018 07:45

AUDIO: David James on Student, Teacher Safety

Ahead of David James's State of the Schools address on Tuesday at the Tangier, the focus has been on teacher safety and discipline. Several teachers claim the schools are not doing enough as far as disciplinary actions, and they lined up in protest in front of the Akron Board of Education on Monday night.

David James, the superintendent of Akron Public Schools, joined the Ray Horner Morning Show in studio sort out the outcries and give both the teachers union and the board a platform. James is concerned about the safety of the teachers, but also believes these assaults may be a case-by-case situations, as opposed to a widespread problem. He mentioned what is considered assault, which is a wide and varying scope, and that students have the opportunity for due process.

The APS superintendent mentioned the creation of alternative programs for certain students, including those who have special needs such as autism.

Published in WAKR RAY HORNER
Thursday, 04 January 2018 08:38

AUDIO: David James on APS School Closings

2018 has begun, but not for a lot of schools. With the extremely low temperatures, schools across Northeast Ohio have canceled classes for students, thus extending their winter breaks. But how will these dates be made up?

David James, superintendent of Akron Public Schools, talked to the Ray Horner Morning Show about schools’ protocol in calling off classes. In the past, the local districts had five allotted days to play with, but now high school students must have 1,001 hours to complete.

James says if Akron Public Schools has to miss more than the given calamity days due to weather or power outages, students will have to make up the time either after the school year or during spring break.

Published in WAKR RAY HORNER
The 2016-2017 school year has been over for a few weeks in the Akron Public Schools, and now they look ahead to the fall. However, they will do so with six schools consolidated to three, which means some will be without jobs.

David James, the superintendent of Akron Public Schools, joined the Ray Horner Morning Show to discuss these changes. The closures of Kenmore High School, Kent Middle School, and Bettes Elementary will result in over 70 job cuts, all due to consolidation. However, these administrators may not be completely out of jobs due to what is called “priority transfer.” According to James, there is a fluid process where the affected teachers or other administrators, based on seniority, can fill other positions where those in place had either resigned or retired.

As for the Kenmore-Garfield merger, the students at the now-former Garfield High School will move into the Kenmore building in the fall. Then as the old Garfield building gets demolished, plans for the new school construction will be underway.

Published in WAKR RAY HORNER
Tuesday, 27 June 2017 05:43

Akron Public Schools Announces Layoffs

The Akron Board of Education approved layoffs at their meeting Monday night, in the wake of the closures of Kenmore High School, Kent Middle School, and Bettes Elementary.

Those staff reductions consist of three admin positions, 31 teachers, 35 tutors, five office support staff, and more. Superintendent David James, says of the cuts, "In the end, this is what necessitates (being fiscally responsible with taxpayer money) for Akron Public Schools."

See the full statement from Akron Public Schools below: 

--  

Due to three building closures (Kenmore High School, Kent Middle School and Bettes Elementary) and the district’s continued efforts to operate in a fiscally responsible manner, the Akron Board of Education approved staff reductions for the 2017-18 school year at its regularly scheduled board meeting tonight, Monday, June 26, 2017.

The areas of reduction include:

- Three administrative positions

- Thirty-one teaching positions

- Thirty-five tutor positions

- Five office support positions

- Thirteen custodial services positions

- Three full-time, hearing impaired interpreter positions

- Three part time, hearing impaired interpreter positions

APS has already made numerous reductions through attrition (e.g., retirements, promotions and resignations). As additional openings occur, staff will be eligible for recall per their collective bargaining agreements and board policy. Superintendent David W. James said, after (Monday's) vote, “We must continue to be fiscally responsible with taxpayer dollars. In the end, that is what necessitates this eventuality for Akron Public Schools. It is most unfortunate that we must let go of outstanding educators and staff due to our economic position. My hope is that staff will be recalled to vacancies that occur to enable them to continue their service to our students and families.”

Published in Local
On Wednesday, the superintendent of Akron Public Schools addressed the state of the district over the last year and what is to come for the rest of 2017.

David James joined the Ray Horner Morning Show to recap what was brought up at Quaker Station. Among the topics were the health academy, the financial state of the district, and the update on the Kenmore-Garfield project.

A point of discussion was the research into students who may not necessarily be college material. James has been looking to help keep these students interested in the trades engaged and career oriented.

Published in WAKR RAY HORNER
Friday, 13 January 2017 05:12

West Thornton Victim ID'd

The name of the 17 year old shot and killed on West Thornton Street Wednesday has been released -- and the Akron schools are mourning. Ernest Anderson, Jr. was killed, a 19-year old wounded after an argument.

The Summit County Medical Examiner reported Anderson died from gunshot wounds to the head and the torso.

Anderson was a student at East High School; the district released a video of Anderson working

Akron superintendent David James said ""we are deeply aggrieved by this tragic episode. Another student, another life filled with promise has been extinguished by violence. We are thinking of his family and the entire East CLC community." 

 

 

Published in Local
Tuesday, 08 November 2016 08:53

AUDIO: APS Superintendent Faces The Community

In the continuing saga of the Akron Public Schools shakeup, members of the community have a long list of questions. Former mayor Don Plusquellic had one of those lists.

David James, the superintendent of APS, reiterated his thoughts on the consolidation on the Ray Horner Morning Show. James maintains his initial thoughts in that schools like Kenmore and Garfield cannot continue to operate if they’re less than half capacity.

The state of Ohio will foot the bill for 59% of the new CLC, and James says they will do their best to maintain the history and legacy of Kenmore and Garfield schools. In terms of the new site, the superintendent believes the issue is finding vacant land at a low price, if not free.

Published in WAKR RAY HORNER

The rumors of potential mergers in the Akron Public School district have swirled for some time, and now the news has been confirmed. Most notably, Garfield and Kenmore High Schools will join as one in the near future. David James, superintendent of Akron Public Schools, joined the Ray Horner Morning Show to discuss this particular merger. James and city council president Marilyn Keith have previously discussed plans for a brand new CLC, and the tenants would be the schools with a diminished population. At the start of the 2016-2017 school year, Kenmore High School is at 33% capacity. According to James, the project will cost $58 million, and 59% of it will be paid for by the state. Team meetings on where to build the new CLC will begin in 2017, as the plan is to find a site equal distance between Kenmore and Garfield.

Published in WAKR RAY HORNER
The proposals on what to do with Akron Public Schools’ consolidation continues, and six options are on the table being carefully reviewed. The state of Ohio will only fund one high school, which should have a capacity of over 1,000, and that would mean two of the smaller schools will have to be merged.

APS superintendent David James and treasurer Ryan Pendleton joined the Ray Horner Morning Show to recap Monday night’s meeting with Akron city council. James says the engineers are actively searching for property to build this new school, but due to high costs, the facility will most likely be constructed on APS property, specifically Garfield.

Pendleton says he feels excited about giving the Garfield and Kenmore areas new technology-rich facilities.

Published in WAKR RAY HORNER

What schools will be closing? What schools will merge?

Those questions have been on the minds of Akronites for months as the Akron Public Schools decide how to proceed with the plan to build new buildings in the face of reduced funding from the state. A new option, the sixth option presented to the public, would lead to the mergers of Kenmore and Garfield High Schools along with the consolidation of Kent and Innes CLCs at Innes and the consolidation of Bettes and Harris CLCs at Harris. Superintendent David James joined Jasen to talk about the new option and when a final decision could be made.

Published in Jasen Sokol
The finishing touches are going into the new Firestone High School. Though not everything will be completed by the first day of school, according to the superintendent of Akron Public Schools, the bulk of the project will be all done.

David James, the APS superintendent, joined the Ray Horner Morning Show to gloss over the Firestone/Litchfield project. James says this has been a process directly from listening to the community as far as input in the school. He believes this building will serve a larger purpose for the surrounding community, not just for the students.

The open house at the new facility will be on August 28th.

Published in WAKR RAY HORNER
Some tough questions lay ahead for Akron Public Schools in the near and distant future. APS brass understands the concerns from the community on the future of the local schools, but can the buildings function with such decreased enrollment?

Superintendent of Akron Public Schools, David James, joined the Ray Horner Morning Show to recap his address at Kenmore High School from last night. Enrollment, or lack thereof, was at the forefront of the conversation, with talks of closing or merging schools being mentioned. A possibility brought up was having Kenmore merge with Innes CLC, among other brainstorms.

James was asked why not keep the status quo. The superintendent said some of these schools are only at half capacity, and by merging the students into a magnet school, it will help cut costs and save taxpayer money. James also said they will receive state funding from the state level soon.

Published in WAKR RAY HORNER
Friday, 24 June 2016 06:08

VIDEO Akron Loves The King

So much to share from last night -- Akron as you've never seen it or heard it, all for King James.

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Some accounts pegged the crowd at 30,000 people but others were in the 20,000-25,000 range after Lock 3 topped capacity of more than 7,000 packed in standing room only for the LeBron James Hometown Hero Celebration sponsored by the City of Akron and LeBron James Family Foundation.

Overflow crowds on South Main Street went into Canal Park and packed every seat to watch the ceremony on the stadium's big video screen, then enjoyed the fireworks show at the conclusion.

It was an all-Akron affair and more personal, unlike the massive parade and ceremony that drew 1.3 million people to Cleveland Wednesday. Local performers included the Miller South Choir; speakers included Mayor Dan Horrigan, who renamed the stretch of South Main from West Market south through downtown as "King James Way" to formative coaches Dru Joyce II and Keith Dambrot.

Others such as Akron Public Schools Superintendent David James noted the transformative impact on Akron LeBron's had, including programs for local elementary and secondary school students but also millions allocated to support scholarships at the University of Akron.

The Kenmore High School football team was on hand in their stylish Nike uniforms -- gifts thanks to LeBron last year.

One note for the summer: LeBron announced he will not take part in the basketball competition at Rio this summer, opting instead for rest. It's not like The King has anything to prove in the Olympics; even there, he makes history with two gold and one bronze medal with Team USA, one of only three players to play three Olympics. He's also the Team USA basketball all-time leading scorer, too.

 

Published in Local
In the last year, Akron Public Schools, like many districts, encountered its share of negatives, but the positives have been quite impressive.

David James, the superintendent of Akron Public Schools, joined the Ray Horner Morning Show to review his State of the Schools Address from Tuesday. James touched on the amount of growth and progress he has seen from the students across the board. Compared to other urban area school districts, APS has seen their test scores rise.

James took tours of the schools, and believes the improvements in the classrooms are “a testament to the teachers.”

A negative that was mentioned during the speech was the downtrend in the graduation percentage, but James also said he is impressed with the amount of scholarships.

Published in WAKR RAY HORNER

 

WAKR's Ray Horner talks to the Superintendent of Akron Public Schools, David James. James explains what plans have been made for the district. He tells Ray what how the consolidation will help save money and help the district in the long run.

Published in WAKR RAY HORNER