Kenmore-Garfield High School in Akron and the University of Cincinnati enter into partnership

AKRON — Akron high school students interested in careers in information technology can get a boost in college thanks to a new partnership between three educational institutions.

Akron Public Schools, Stark State College and the University of Cincinnati on Thursday announced a way for Kenmore-Garfield High School students to earn enough college credits in high school to be automatically admitted into the Cincinnati computer science program.

The program would save students a year of tuition and give them the chance to get a job while in college at a Cincinnati co-op.

“This program will respond to the rising cost of education and prepare our students for high-paying, high-demand careers in computing,” Akron Public Schools Superintendent David James said during an interview. a presentation announcing the new high school curriculum on Thursday.

Kenmore-Garfield High School principal Kathryn Rocker, left, Dr. Hazem Said of the University of Cincinnati, school principal of information technology, public school superintendent of Akron, David James, and Student Council Member Chandler Forshee listen to Dr. Para Jones, President of Stark State College speak during a partnership announcement program at Kenmore-Garfield High School Auditorium on Thursday, February 20, 2020 in Akron, Ohio.

It was music to the ears of Rodney Thompson, the father of a current middle school student from Innes who will be attending Kenmore-Garfield in high school.

“I think it’s a great opportunity,” he said. “It’s something we’ve never had.”

While career planning is still a few years away for his son, seventh grader Isaiah Thompson, science might be a good fit, his father said. The two love watching documentaries about the solar system together.

Thompson said he got a bachelor’s degree and because of student loans he was still paying it off at 40.

“Student loans are like a bad dream,” he says. “I think this program keeps them from having to go through that.”

He was also impressed to learn that Kenmore-Garfield was the only school chosen for the program.

While it starts there, the opportunity could expand to other schools that have the IT track, said Rachel Tecca, director of College and Career Academy.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for kids and it really helps our community fill some of those computer jobs,” Tecca said. “Hopefully this is the start of something really special at Kenmore-Garfield.”

The school also accepts open enrollment, so students not zoned to Kenmore-Garfield who wished to attend for this program could do so.

Starting this fall, students will begin the program in 10th grade by taking free college classes at Kenmore-Garfield through Stark State. By the time they graduate from high school, they can earn a year of college credit. Those who do so will be automatically accepted into the Cincinnati computer science program, provided they have a GPA of 2.0 or higher.

They also have the option of completing an associate’s degree at Stark State after graduating from high school, which would only require an additional year.

“It brings the whole package to students,” Stark State President Para Jones said.

Next-year juniors and seniors can also take the program and earn college credit, but wouldn’t have enough time to cut enough classes to bypass their freshman year of college and wouldn’t be automatically accepted into Cincinnati. .

Any student who takes the Kenmore-Garfield IT pathway is eligible for the program and can still apply to Cincinnati even if they do not earn a year of college credit while in high school.

The university also has a unique co-op program for its computer science students to help them find jobs to help offset tuition, Tecca said. The cooperative helps students write their CVs and conduct interviews, and has a network of companies looking for help with IT support.

Dr. Hazem Said, director of the School of Information Technology, University of Cincinnati, speaks during a partnership program announcement at Kenmore-Garfield High School auditorium on Thursday February 20, 2020 in Akron, Ohio.  At left is Dr. Para Jones, president of Stark State College.

Professor Hazem Said, director of Cincinnati’s computer science degree program, said the partnership between the three educational entities is about creating pathways for students to succeed if they also invest.

“We come together to remove all barriers in front of the student and say to the student, ‘we are going to create a path for you, and the key to success in that path is, are you ready to practice?’” he said. said.

Contact educational journalist Jennifer Pignolet at, 330-996-3216 or on Twitter @JenPignolet.

Excerpt from the Akron Beacon Journal: Kenmore-Garfield students can get college boost through IT partnership

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