Akron to create arts-focused high school programs with Kent State University

AKRON, Ohio – Kent State University and the Akron Public Schools will create a College and Career Academy in the district’s 10 high schools that focuses on fashion, arts, architecture and design.

The partnership was announced Tuesday at a ceremony naming the district as a Ford Next Generation Learning community.

Ford learning communities, which include the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, are a national network supported by the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Co. to transform public high schools into career-themed academies to better prepare students for college and professional success.

In order to be designated a Ford NGL community, Akron developed a five-year master plan to increase the number of students learning in career academies and broaden its reach through affiliations with business, education and civic leaders.

“This is an ambitious project that will strengthen our schools, families and the very future of our students for generations to come,” Akron Superintendent David James said in a statement. “We are grateful for Ford NGL’s leadership and how it is inspiring past, current and future partners right here in Akron to be part of this endeavor.”

In February the school district announced it would prepare students for high-demand jobs by transitioning its traditional high schools to career and college academies.

Akron remakes high schools as career academies, starting with North

North High School has two pilot academies underway: the Academy of Global Technology and Business and the Academy of Health and Human Services, which Akron Children’s Hospital gave $250,000. Children’s will provide another $150,000 in in-kind services, such as internships and shadowing programs at the hospital.

James was joined by Kent State President Beverly Warren to announce the new partnership.

“This collaboration benefits the entire region by providing Akron’s students with access to an experiential learning environment focused on design thinking and innovation,” Warren said in a statement. “This distinctive approach to problem solving prepares students for success wherever their dreams and aspirations take them.”

The new academy will specifically offer instructional support and experiential learning opportunities in the 10 high schools in:

  • Visual and Performing Arts
  • Interior design
  • Fashion
  • Film
  • Visual Communication Design
  • Architecture and Environmental Design

The plan also calls for creating week-long summer camps at Kent State for student. Micro-scholarships will also be offered to students who earn high marks in specific high school classes and who later enroll at Kent State University.

About 200 Akron public school graduates enroll at Kent State each fall, officials said.

Currently, the school district and Kent State have partnerships including teacher development within the International Baccalaureate program, artistic programs with Kent State’s Wick Poetry Center, a healthcare exploration program and an initiative to provide math and English assistance to high school students.

James said his partners for the College and Career Academies also include the GAR Foundation and ConxusNEO.

Read original article here.

Farkas, Karen. (2017, May 16).  Akron to create arts-focused high school programs with Kent State University.  Retrieved from