Soccer playing robots stole the show Saturday at Firestone High School.
The high school hosted the 5th annual Middle School Robotics competition, where students spent the day building robots to play in elimination soccer matches against each other.
Dan Spak, Firestone High School teacher and director of Project Lead the Way, organizes the annual event and has seen it grow over the years.
"When we started this five years ago, we had 8 teams, 3 schools. Now we have 7 schools and 19 teams. It's huge," says Spak.
This year's competition focused on getting girls involved in engineering. The group worked with Women in Engineering to help formulate the teams.
The effect of the event on its participants is evident in high school freshman Vi Truong, who participated in the event last year.
"I was never really into engineering because I thought it was so male-dominated," says Truong, who now has a goal to work in aerospace engineering. "After I went to this event last year, it really changed my perspective of that."
Project Lead the Way, a national organization founded in 1997, works to prepare and engage high school students for careers in engineering. Firestone's chapter of Project Lead the Way, started in 2003, organized the event.
In 2012, the school was listed as a model school in Ohio for Project Lead the Way.
Spak is proud and enthusiastic of the organization's success in Akron. He's got the numbers to prove it, too.
"To date, I've graduated my first graduating class in 2007," says Spak. "As of today, I have 64 confirmed engineers based on this program."
Akron School Board President Lisa Mansfield and board member Bruce Alexander spoke with WAKR's Ray Horner and morning news anchor Chris Keppler about the 5 of 8 rule, which has been a big topic of conversation as of late.
There is currently a proposal to eliminate the mandatory staffing levels for school districts to hire five full-time teachers for eight different areas, such as physical education teachers, art teachers, and music teachers, for every 1,000 students.
Both Mansfield and Alexander attended the Capital Conference in Columbus earlier Tuesday with various other school board members and superintendents who came together to discuss the 5 of 8 rule, among other items.
Numbers about the Ebola situation in Summit County are easy to find, but the Akron Public Schools are making those numbers easier to understand.
APS deputy superintendent Ellen McWilliams and head of elementary education Mary Kelly sketched out a "teaching tool" of concentric circles.
APS communications director Mark Williamson says it was made into a graphic that shows in visual terms how the Ebola situation in Akron affects the area and the schools.
"Exactly how many people, what state they're in in terms whether they're being monitored, whether the health department knows about them," Williamson explains, "are they part of our school system, do they live in the county."
Williamson says the graphic is much easier to grasp than a lengthy, wordy document.
"We need some teaching tool for this, which is what teachers do," Williamson says. "They think of ways to convey concepts and ideas without having to write 700 words in a document."
The Akron district has a section with Ebola information on its website.
Michael Keane, the North High Boys Soccer Coach, spoke with WAKR's Ray Horner Tuesday afternoon.
The Vikings won their first playoff soccer match against Benedictine recently. It was their first playoff victory in nine years, and despite being eliminated from the playoffs, Keane praised his team's work ethic and dedication throughout the season.
He also spoke about the many international students that make up the team, and he said that no matter if their first language was English, or something else, the universal language was teamwork throughout the season.
Akron Children's Hospital will be offering flu shots this week to a number of Akron area schools.
ACH is partnering with the organization Health Heroes to provide the vaccine to children, with parental consent, regardless of their health insurance coverage. Teachers and staff will also be offered the vaccine.
The participating schools are as follows:
Akron Public Schools
Akros Middle School
Coventry Local Schools
Field Local Schools
Nordonia Hills City Schools
North Canton City Schools
Walsh Jesuit High School
Woodridge Local Schools
Wooster City Schools
UDS Steel Academy
"This is a win-win for everyone," says Michele Wilmoth, director of School Health Services for Akron Children's, "We can save parents a trip to the doctor and keep kids in class. If we get more kids immunized, we can reduce the risk of influenza in our schools and communities and we can especially reduce the risk for our more vulnerable children, such as those with chronic health conditions."
State licensed nurses will give the vaccine, which will be available by both traditional injection and the pain free FluMist nasal spray. The vaccines are provided at no cost to students, parents, schools or local/state government.
Dr. Margo Erme, Medical Director for Summit County Public Health addressed Ebola victim Amber Vinson's time in Akron, including her visit to the bridal shop. Dr. Erme says that the CDC and Summit County Public Health are still looking into new information into Vinson's whereabouts when she was in Ohio, including talking to family and friends, along with Vinson herself down the line.
Mark Williamson, the Spokesperson for the Akron Public Schools spoke with WAKR's Jasen Sokol Friday morning about the closing of Resnick CLC in Akron.
Superintendent David James said Thursday in a news conference the school will be closed Friday and throughout the weekend. The APS learned through the Akron Summit County Health Department that the mother of a Resnick student had spent time with Ebola victim Amber Vinson during her time in Ohio. Both the parent and the child are in quarantine at this time.
Dr. Terry O' Sullivan University Of Akron spoke about the overall response to the Ebola situation from health authorities in Summit County.
He says they've been doing a good job of attempting to calm people's fears about the disease and taking necessary precautions to ensure the public's safety.
Dr. O' Sullivan, like others, have emphasized there has been no diagnosed cases in Ohio at this time.
Dr. Shanu Agarwal, Infectious Disease Physician from Summa Health Systems spoke about if Akron hospitals including Summa, have an Ebola protocol in place in case of a diagnosis in Akron, Summit County, and the surrounding area.
About 20 parents and community members gathered at Firestone High School Thursday, asking about the closure of Resnik Community Learning Center through the weekend.
Akron Public Schools decided to close and clean the school after learning that the mother of a student had spent time with Amber Vinson - both mother and child are quarantined.
Akron school superintendent David James told the town hall that closing Resnik was done out of extreme caution...even though the student did not have contact with Vinson.
"We wanted to really be proactive in this," James said, "and really try to mitigate a much larger emergency, where kids are absent from school because of fear."
In addition to questions about Ebola, how it affects the schools, Akron and in general, some parents wanted to know what grade the student is in....that information wasn't offered. James cited privacy concerns.
Melinda Hicks, parent of four Resnik students, says she's disappointed with that, but says she's not concerned unless the situation changes.
"I'm more concerned about the fact that if symptomatics come with the other people that are currently being quarantined and one of those was the children," Hicks tells WAKR.net, "then I would become more concerned at that point."
Superintendent James says Resnik will open on Monday.
UPDATED 2:13 p.m. An Akron school is being closed through the weekend for cleaning after notification from the Akron Summit County Public Health Department that the mother of a student is among those who "spent time" with Ebola patient Amber Vinson.
Resnick Community Learning Center, an elementary school, will reopen Monday, October 20th.
Superintendent David James noted in a letter to parents the student did not hae contact but both mother and child have been quarantined as a precaution. James has scheduled a public meeting for 7:30 p.m. at Firestone High School's auditorium this evening to answer specific questions relating to the school district and Resnick CLC. There are no plans to close any other Akron schools at this time, the District reported.
The Summit County Health Department responded there was no "known threat" and the decision was not a public health decision but supported Akron Public Schools. The Health Department also noted a list of items parents needed to know, including children are not at risk for attending school in Summit County and the virus isn't contagious but requires contact with bodily fluids. A list of the points is included below.
In addition, FirstEnergy reported one employee had direct contact with Vinson over the weekend and another "self-identified" as having contact. Neither had interaction with the public, the Akron-based utility says, but both were put on 21-day leave as a precaution.
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(Summit County Health Department) At this time based on the information collected by Summit County Public Health there is no known threat to the public's health. Summit County Public Health is not advocating for the closure of schools and the cancellation of events. However, Summit County Public Health supports Akron Public Schools and their decision based on their assessment of the situation.
Summit County Public Health has released a list of the top things parents need to know about Ebola.
1. Your child is not at risk while attending school in Summit County. A risk for Ebola only comes when you come into close contact with a person suffering from Ebola. The health care worker who passed through Summit County did not visit any county schools.
2. Being near someone who is sick with Ebola doesn't mean you'll get infected. The disease isn't contagious like the flu or common cold. You have to be in contact with a patient's body fluids or blood, and you have to have a break in your skin or have the fluids touch your eyes, mouth or nose.
3. Ebola does not live long on surfaces or outside someone's body. Soaps, detergents and hand sanitizers are effective at killing the virus. Keeping your area clean and washing your hands will help prevent infections.
4. You and your children are really only at risk if you have traveled to West Africa, where Ebola is currently spreading.
5. There are currently no known cases of Ebola in Summit County or Ohio.
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(Akron Public Schools) As an extreme, precautionary measure, and due to the Summit County Health Department notifying us of the quarantining of a parent and child from Resnik CLC, Akron Public Schools has made the decision to close Resnik until Monday, October 20.
The health department informed APS this morning that a parent at the school had spent time with Ebola patient Amber Vinson when she visited the area this past weekend. Her child did NOT have contact with Ms. Vinson but has been quarantined as a precaution, with the mother and is being monitored by the health department.
As an extra precaution, we will perform a thorough cleaning prior to its reopening. The Summit County Public Health Department has given us no indication of anyone else within the APS district having had contact with Ms. Vinson. Therefore, we have no plans to close any other schools at this time.
Please be advised, tonight at 7:30 at Firestone High School auditorium, Superintendent David James will be available to answer questions regarding Resnik CLC.
For more information, you may call the APS Hotline between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. at 330-761-1661 or the Summit County Health Department Hotline at 330-926-3939. You may also go to the APS website www.akronschools.com and the health department site www.scphoh.org.
We will continue to give this our full attention.
David W. James
Akron Public Schools
(FirstEnergy Corp) FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) learned on Wednesday, October 15, that the second nurse who helped care for the Ebola victim in Dallas – and was later diagnosed with the virus – visited with one Akron-area employee of the company during her stay in Northeast Ohio. The employee was notified by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). A second employee has self-identified as possibly having contact.
These two employees do not have direct contact with FirstEnergy's customers. Out of an abundance of caution, the company immediately requested that the employees remain home from work, with pay, through the incubation period for the virus, which is up to 21 days.
The company will provide employees with access to medical information, respond to any employee questions and concerns and implement other measures as appropriate.
A pianist who's electrified audiences worldwide visits Akron today thanks to the LeBron James Family Foundation. Lang Lang is a household name in China and Europe -- and likely Akron too after his fingers tinkle the ivories and he talks with students at Miller South. On top of his status as a piano prodigy add "superstar" along the lines of rockers with powerful performances on the keys. He's hit the big time -- playing with orchestras in London, Berlin, and Vienna. And now Miller South.
In a letter to parents, Akron Schools noted Lang has been described as a master of the piano and among "...the most exciting young keyboard talent" in the world.
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(Akron Public Schools) We have an exciting opportunity for your Wheels for Education/Akron I Promise Student broughtto you by LeBron James and his LeBron James Family Foundation for this Friday! Lang Lang, a Chinese concert pianist who has performed with leading orchestras in Europe, the United States and his native China, will now perform for your student.
Lang Lang has given recitals and concerts in many major cities and was the first Chinese pianist to be engaged by the Berlin Philharmonic, the Vienna Philharmonic and some top American orchestras. A Chicago Tribune music critic called him "the biggest, most exciting young keyboard talent I have encountered in many a year of attending piano recitals". Lang has been praised by musicians and critics around the world – the conductor Jahja Ling remarked, "Lang Lang is special
because of his total mastery of the piano... He has the flair and great communicative power."
It is often noted that Lang successfully straddles two worlds – classical prodigy and rock-like "superstar", a phenomenon summed up by The Times journalist Emma Pomfret, who wrote, "I can think of no other classical artist who has achieved
Lang Lang's broad appeal without dumbing down."
Date: Friday October 10
Time: 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm
Location: Miller South School for Visual and Performing Arts: 1055 East Ave, Akron, OH 44307
Lang Lang has agreed to play for a period of time and the remaining time will be interactive with the students and time for Q&A.