A night custodian at Helen Arnold school in Akron has been arrested on sexual assault charges involving his daughter.

41 year-old Kevin Dasen is accused with possibly sexually assaulting his 19 year-old daughter.

School officials say Dasen has no contact with students at Helen Arnold CLC in his job as a night custodian. He's worked for the district since 1999.

A letter is being sent home with students assuring parents that Dasen was never around students, arriving for work after they left for the day.

Published in Local

Akron East will have a new boys basketball coach this upcoming season, and for basketball fans it's a familiar name in most hoops circles in Northeast Ohio.

Willie McGee will be the new head coach of the Dragons pending board approval from the Akron Public Schools.

McGee joined the Sam Bourquin Show Monday to talk about his new challenge and how he plans to impact the young people's lives on and off the court.


McGee was an assistant at Chowan University in North Carolina. He was also notably part of the St. Vincent-St. Mary Fab 5 which featured Dru Joyce III, Sian Cotton, Romeo Travis, and of course Cavaliers star and 4-time NBA MVP LeBron James.

Willie says he looks forward to meeting the young men that will be making up the Dragons' basketball roster and knows that while it will be a work in progress, he looks forward to the challenge.

Published in Sam Bourquin
Tuesday, 28 April 2015 18:57

AUDIO Vassalotti Named APS AD

A familiar name to high school sports fans in the area will be serving as the athletic director of the Akron Public Schools.
Former Tallmadge head football coach Joe Vassalotti will be the new AD after a long interview process earlier in the year.

Vassalotti joined the Sam Bourquin Show Tuesday to talk about his new opportunity.

"I'm looking forward to a great challenge," says Vassalotti.

"I was looking for an administrative opportunity, and that wasn't going to happen in Tallmadge, but I'm looking forward to knowing all the coaches, administrators, and student athletes with the Akron Public Schools."

He also said he will enjoy working with Ron Linger, who served as the interim AD, Dan Rambler, and Superintendent David James as well.

Vassalotti will start his duties in the middle of June.  He says he's always had respect for the Akron Public Schools, the city series, and the traditions they have had throughout the years.

Vassalotti coached at Tallmadge for 13 seasons.


Published in Sam Bourquin

Two Akron high schools will get some college level courses, thanks to help from a grant and Kent State University.

The $480,000 grant will fuel a partnership called "College Today", using KSU instructors at Akron's Ellet and Firestone High Schools to teach college-level courses in English and Math.

The partnership with Akron Public Schools targets "at-risk" students who otherwise might not meet academic requirements to enroll in basic college English and math classes.


(Kent State University, news release) Reading, writing and arithmetic are getting a college-styled makeover in two Akron, Ohio, high schools.

Through a $480,000 grant from the Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation, the partnership called College Today will send Kent State University instructors into Ellet High School and Firestone High School to teach college-level English and math.

The initiative is collaboration between Kent State's College of Education, Health and Human Services, College of Arts and Sciences and Akron Public Schools.

The partnership targets at-risk students who might not otherwise meet the academic requirements to enroll in first-year basic college English and math classes. These students can include traditionally underrepresented populations, such as low-income students, students of color and first-generation students. Typically, the students either do not get accepted into college or are required in their first year to take remedial classes in which they do not receive college credit.

"The exciting feature of this project is that we'll be delivering college-level instruction to high school juniors on a daily basis," said William Kist, Ph.D., Kent State's principal investigator of the grant who serves as an associate professor in Kent State's College of Education, Health and Human Services. "But this instruction will be designed and delivered in ways that meet their individual needs."

The program also will provide a year-round support system to guide the students including tutoring, mentoring, shadowing, review and practice sessions, summer camps, and one-on-one and small group interventions.

"At the end of the junior year, all students will have the chance to take the College Level Examination Program (CLEP)," Kist said. "If successful, they will receive college credit for the first English and math course upon entry into college."

This will be repeated at the end of the senior year and, depending on the student's CLEP scores, might enter college having completed all first-year English and math requirements. Students who have not successfully passed the CLEP test will repeat the coursework and receive additional tutoring to prepare them for the next round of CLEP testing.

College Today will recruit students starting in May 2015 based on EXPLORE test results in reading, English and math, GPA, recommendations and course work.

Published in Local
Friday, 24 April 2015 16:48

PARCC Tests Ramp Up Again

Some students are fretting over the second round of the controversial "PARCC" state standard tests that are getting underway.

The first round was back in February and March, the so-called "Performance-Based Assesments" with longer answers.

"They really had to utilize their problem solving skills," Aimee Kirsch with Akron Public Schools tells WAKR.net, "to write out their thinking about how they would solve a problem in the area of reading or math."

This time, Kirsch says the "End of Course" exams are closer to traditional tests.

But she says "PARCC" testing overall is much more rigorous than what students did in the past.

"A lot of that's because they're really calling on our students to utilize higher levels of thinking, having them really solve problems," Kirsch says, "and not only be able solve them, but describe how they are solving the problems."

Kirsch says the actual test taking is more flexible for students.

"They can take it more by themselves or in a small group setting," Kirsch says. "We're also able to allow our students to take breaks throughout the testing, so they don't have to sit there for the entire hour or two hours that the test requires."

The final results this year will combine results from both testing rounds.

Published in Local

Mrs. Traci Buckner, Director of Special Programs at Akron Public Schools, joins Ray to talk about Akron Public School's Stem School. Buckner explains that they started with young kids to get them hooked before they decided that they didn't like certain subjects. She tells Ray that there are many kids involved in this program. Buckner tells Ray how parents sign their kids up and how kids are selected randomly so that every child has an opportunity. Buckner explains the problem based learning curriculum to Ray.

The Stem School teaches children many skills such as critical thinking and other 21st century skills. She says that the learning coaches take the kids through the problem and the process step by step. As adults, this is a very critical skill for children to learn. She tells Ray that middle school students obtain high school credits before getting there.


Published in WAKR RAY HORNER
Saturday, 14 March 2015 06:42

School Fight Leaves Student In Hospital

North High School officials were forced to block off entry to the school after a fight broke out Friday afternoon.

The Beacon Journal reports eight girls are now facing suspensions or expulsions after a brawl that started with an argument between two girls. That fight left the principal with a bruised face and a student in the hospital with chest pains.

For about 40 minutes, North High didn't let in anyone, locking all points of entry. The Safe School Watch ended at about 2:10 p.m.

APS officials sent a letter home with students, and will make robocalls to North High families, with information on the incident.

On the web: www.ohio.com

Published in Local

Despite what you may have seen on social media this week, there's no asbestos concern at Akron's Ellet High School.

A picture of crews next to signs and caution tape saying "Danger: Asbestos" has spread quickly online.


But Akron Public Schools environmental services manager Robert Boxler says that was only a precaution because of what crews were actually doing at Ellet.

"We were removing loose ceiling tiles that we didn't want to fall on anybody," Boxler tells WAKR.net. "Because of what they were glued to, we took the extra precaution of calling in the proper personnel."

The process and signs were required by federal law. Boxler says nothing fell, and no asbestos was exposed to workers or anyone else at Ellet High School.

Boxler says when the picture was taken, crews were done working, and the door was open because they were about to leave.

He says constant monitoring is a part of the required procedure, and that the district follows all laws and safety measures.

Published in Local
Thursday, 05 March 2015 15:36

AUDIO: Open Enrollment Winners and Losers

While much of the focus on school choice centers on charter schools, many students also open enroll to public school districts other than their own. 

Dan Rambler of the Akron Public Schools says more than 1,700 students open enroll out from the Akron Public Schools to other districts. He says the district tries to offer other schools within the district as options to avoid having students transfer out. Rambler calls school choice a "powerful tool," but says families don't always know all of their options.

One of the main recipients of transfer students is the Coventry Local Schools. Superintendent Rusty Chaboudy says the district has had open enrollment since 1994, and has nearly 800 open enrollees this year. He points to the school's safety record and Excellence with Distinction rating as reasons why families send their students to his district.

Published in Jasen Sokol
Wednesday, 04 March 2015 23:01

AUDIO Linger Discusses OHSAA Investigation

The Ohio High School Athletic Association is investigating the Akron Public Schools as it relates to transfer students and athletic eligibility.

The OSHAA is looking into the volume of eligibility documents from student-athletes across the district.

Ron Linger, the interim athletic director for the APS joined Sam Bourquin in the studio Wednesday to discuss the ongoing issue of students transferring and making sure the district is compliant with the OSHAA.

"It's a difficult process, and you have to have good people in place," said Linger.

"We do have that here in the Akron Public Schools with our seven athletic directors at our high schools, they're going to continue and make sure we get through this process."

The APS is awaiting a decision from the OSHAA, and could face forfeiture of wins and fines if it's determined that student-athletes within the district were ineligible for competition.


He (Linger) says that the APS is working with and complying with the OSHAA to make sure that everything is in order for the district, the schools, and their athletes. 

Published in Sam Bourquin
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