Akron Schools Superintendent Prioritizes Connecting Community To Classroom

Akron Schools Superintendent David James gives his speech to a packed room at the Tangier.
Akron Schools Superintendent David James giving his annual state of the schools speech. [Darrielle Snipes / ideastream]
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Akron Schools Superintendent David James says the district is working to train its students for the workforce by connecting the community to the classroom.

For the last 11 years, David James says he's faced many challenges as superintendent. The latest challenge is transforming the district into a talent pipeline in several industries, including healthcare and IT, that are facing a talent gap.

In his state of the school speech Thursday, James announced that beginning in the next school year, all nine high schools will have specialized curriculum to prepare students for college, a career or the military.       

“This means every 10th through 12th grader in our district will be selecting one of 57 career pathways,” he said. “Students will be able to earn industry credentials and credits in these pathways before they graduate.” 

During his speech, James handed over the microphone to the GAR Foundation which announced a $1.2 million investment in the district. The funds will be used to send students in Pre-K through fifth grade on field trips that include the Akron Zoo and Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens.

The superintendent also addressed recent outbreaks of violence at a high school that lead to the arrest of six students and a fight caught on camera at a middle school.

James announced the re-establishment of a discipline committee to deal with student behavior.

“Over the past 12 months, this committee representing the board, community members and our staff has concluded that social and emotional issues are primary factors in supporting student success,” said James.

James says of the 21,000 students in the Akron public school, 16 percent are involved in an incident each year.



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