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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.