Akron Promise Founder Says Programs Energize Public School Students

On March 12, the National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF) STEM High School won the 2022 Ohio VEX Robotics Competition. This is the school’s second consecutive state championship. Additionally, Firestone High School finished in the top 10. These wins qualify both schools for the World Championships, and all of the competitors and their families, teachers, and coaches deserve hearty congratulations.

Akron’s public schools are consistently ranked at the bottom of all districts in the state, but these rankings do not accurately measure academic achievement, opportunity, social-emotional learning, or myriad other components that make up quality education.

Rather, state rankings most closely measure parental income. In 2019, the median income for A-ranked districts was $95,423. For F-ranked districts, the median was $32,658. Across all districts, on average, students with economic advantages outperform students without these advantages in the ranking criteria.

There are many reasons why children from households struggling with poverty score poorly on state ranking criteria, such as housing instability, poor nutrition, and poor health habits in the home. family, lack of books at home, generational trauma, etc. , unfortunate circumstances do not have to determine their future. In Akron, students from difficult circumstances enjoy many opportunities and many break the cycle of poverty.

For example, students who choose Akron Public Schools have the opportunity to receive an education focused on their interests and desires. APS offers an almost unlimited number of programs that often exceed those found at other local schools. Only one of these resides in the STEM cluster – as demonstrated above – not to mention Arts, International Baccalaureate, Medicine, Marketing and Machining, among dozens of other pathways available to students .

All APS students who excel academically (3.0 GPA or higher with a qualifying ACT score) are eligible for a full scholarship to the University of Akron. I Promise School students who meet the requirements are eligible for full scholarships to UA or Kent State University.

Graduates of Kenmore-Garfield High School are eligible for Stark State College Akron Promise scholarships and books. The GRAD Akron Project, AVID College Readiness System, and other programs operate to facilitate preparation and access and some offer post-secondary scholarships. Students attending Akron Early College High School earn both a high school diploma and an associate’s degree, saving them two years of tuition to earn a bachelor’s degree if that’s the path they choose.

APS is clearly the neighborhood of choice for local education. Don’t let Ohio’s state rankings fool you.

Tom Ghinder is the parent of Akron Public Schools graduates and founder of Akron Promise. In 2017, Akron Promise began the process of implementing direct programs for students at Kenmore-Garfield High School. These include the Student Success Team, ACT Testing Support Programs, and the Kenmore-Garfield Stark State College Scholarship.

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