Wednesday, 04 March 2015 10:32

AUDIO: Tom Cousineau Teaming Up With Akron

Tom Cousineau joins Ray to talk about helping in Akron Public School's Athletic Department. Cousineau says that Akron is his home and he wants to help the community. He tells Ray that sports are meant to uplift lives and inform kids and he wants to make sure that's exactly what they're doing. Cousineau wants to blow life into the sports programs to help make kids better, well rounded people and to help them become better leaders, friends, and even parents.

Cousineau tells Ray that sports are too focused on winning. When the message is simply to win at all costs, that is not helping the kids grow and mature. Cousineau tells Ray that he really wants to help make a difference.


Published in WAKR RAY HORNER

Superintendent of Akron Public Schools, David James, joins Ray Horner to talk about the OHSAA investigation. James talks about the transfer students having the most problems. If paperwork is not properly filled out, athletic eligibility can be affected. James says that they are trying to work with the Athletic Association to get the situation worked out. James tells Ray how all of this started.

James tells Ray that everything started with a conversation with the General Council and a representative of the Athletic Association. The conversation lead to a discussion about the low number of eligibility requests. Eligibility requests should be higher than they have been with such a mobile district as Akron Public Schools. James also discusses what kinds of moves and transfers may enable a student to be eligible. He also explains that he wants to make sure that students and parents understand the rules and requirements when moving or transferring their children.


Published in WAKR RAY HORNER
Monday, 02 March 2015 10:09

APS Moving From 'Days' to 'Hours'

Akron Public Schools is moving forward with the plans to switch the district's calendar from days to hours in order to add extra calamity days to the school year.

The Akron School Board passed a resolution last week that would change the current school calendar from "days" to "hours" to align with new state regulations, which sets a minimum number of hours that each grade level is required to complete.

According to the Ohio Department of Education, school districts, joint vocational school districts and chartered nonpublic schools must be open for instruction for a minimum of:

- 455 hours for students in half-day kindergarten;

- 910 hours for students in full-day kindergarten through Grade 6; and

- 1,001 hours for students in Grades 7-12.

But some schools, like Akron Public Schools, are in session for more than the minimum number of hours required. The extra number of hours they're in session -- translates to about 19 snow days for high school students.

Superintendent David James said the calendar switch would add 12 snow days to the calendar for elementary students and 22 days for middle schools. The move would add more flexibility on how the district decides to make up work, including the use of blizzard bag days and online homework.

James says even though they're in good shape so far this year, he'll still consult with teachers to discuss whether or not students have spent enough time in the classroom.

Published in Local
Wednesday, 25 February 2015 08:46

AUDIO: Superintendent David James State of Akron

Akron Public School's Superintendent David James joins Ray Horner to talk about his State of Akron Speech. James touches on his thoughts of changing the school calendar to a year-round calendar. He tells Ray a few advantages of changing the calendar for teachers, students and parents. He also talks about Akron Public School's sports programs.

James talks about the idea of bringing Tom Cousineau in to help out with sports programming. He would like to make sure that the coaches have the training that they need and working on character building. James tells Ray that he would like to put a board together to talk about athletic issues and ways to improve.



Published in WAKR RAY HORNER

It's been quite a year for the Akron Public Schools, and the district is dealing with ongoing changes at the state level.

That's one of the messages in APS superintendent David James' 2015 "State of the Schools" address, given today at Akron's Quaker Station.

In his speech, James says "nothing much" has changed about the frustration over changing state rules, though there may be fewer mandated state tests ahead and another new education funding formula.

The Akron school superintendent says the district is reaching out to a former Cleveland Browns star.

Former Brown Tom Cousineau has been tapped to be a community advisor, to bring improvements to the APS Athletic Department.

Published in Local

The arctic blast of winter has cancelled schools all over the region, and that's no different in the Akron Public Schools, who have a host of athletic events and other activities.

Interim athletic director Ron Linger spoke with Sam Bourquin during their live broadcast at TD's Tailgate Grill in Canton.

"It's been a busy time here, and fortunately, tomorrow there's a parent-teacher conference day scheduled for Akron Public Schools, and weather permitting, we'll still have our Boys City Championship tomorrow between Ellet and Buchtel."

That game is scheduled for 7pm, and barring any unforeseen weather events going on in the next 24-48 hours, the game will go on as scheduled at Kenmore High School.

Published in Sam Bourquin
Tuesday, 17 February 2015 21:34

AUDIO: Akron Schools Prepping For PARCC

The controversial PARCC standardized tests come to the Akron Public Schools next week, and students across the district are getting ready.

Amy Kirsch, Assessment Specialist for the district, has been going around to the schools to observe test preparations. She says schools are focusing their efforts in a variety of areas including practice tests, test-taking strategies, test day procedure, and training for the computer-based version of the test.

Next week, students will take test each day that are about 75 minutes in length. Kirsch says there is legislation under consideration in Columbus to reduce the amount of time spent on testing.

Reports of parents opting their children out of the tests, which are part of the new Common Core education reforms, have popped up around the state. Kirsch says there have been APS parents who have inquired about opting out of the tests. The law is somewhat vague on whether students can be opted out, so Kirsch tries to stress the importance of taking the tests.

Published in Jasen Sokol
Wednesday, 11 February 2015 19:24

AUDIO APS Names Linger Interim Athletic Director

After the retirement of longtime Akron Public Schools athletic director Joe Howard, Ron Linger will be stepping into that role on an interim basis to help grow the APS athletic brand, and look to maintain that standard of excellence.

Linger spoke with WAKR's Sam Bourquin Wednesday to talk about this new opportunity.

"We want to make sure we maintain our accountability with the state of Ohio, and we've done a pretty good job with that."

It's a busy time for the Akron Public Schools on the athletic front, with the Girls Basketball city championship this week, the Boys City Championship next week, the wrestling tournament, and post season play just around the corner.

Linger was a graduate of the Akron Public Schools (East) in 1976, and served as the Athletic Director of East in addition to teaching and coaching within the district for over 30 years.

Published in Sam Bourquin
Wednesday, 11 February 2015 08:59

Spondike Loses Firing Appeal

WARNING graphic language

Another blow for former Firestone High School teacher David Spondike, fired over his racist post of Facebook.

His appeal of his dismissal by the school district was denied by Summit County Common Pleas Judge Tom Teodosio, who found little to agree with from Spondike's legal filing that the firing was unconstitutional. The ruling upholds an earlier ruling by a referee that Spondike's termination was proper for "good and just cause."

 In addition to the original Facebook postings, Spondike also took to YouTube in a series of videos where he first denied making the posts and instead attributed them to the son of an acquaintance.

Spondike was a music teacher at Firestone High School. 

A .pdf copy of Teodosio's ruling is included for viewing at the link below.

Editor's note: since the original posting remains central to the case, we made the editorial decision to include the graphic on this story for those readers who were not familiar with the case. 

Published in Local

Akron Public Schools Superintendent David James joins Ray Horner to talk about school funding. The new budget plan, introduced by Governor John Kasich, will provide more funding to the Akron Public schools. However, some schools will lose some of their state funding.

David James tells Ray Horner that he does not know what the increased dollar amount might be. If the budget passes through legislation, James hints that he would like to improve extracurricular activities for the students. He also says that he would like to boost the curriculum and keep the classrooms up to date on the learning techniques of the twenty-first century.

Published in WAKR RAY HORNER