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State of the Schools - Race to the Top

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Race to the Top

Winning access to new avenues of funding, like President Obama’s Race to the Top Initiative (RttT), represents a solid victory for us and the children we serve.

“America will not succeed in the 21st century unless we do a far better job of educating our sons and daughters … and the race starts today.”

Race to the Top LogoWith those words, President Obama introduced the Race to the Top (RttT) fund in 2009. Signed into law as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the Race to the Top fund is a $4.35 billion competitive grant program designed to encourage and reward states that create and maintain conditions for substantial gains in student achievement. In August, Ohio was selected as one of 10 states to receive a portion of the fund and was granted a $400 million award.

As part of our application for the RttT grant, a Transformation Team of more than a dozen APS teachers and administrators developed and submitted a Scope of Work plan that set out to:

1. implement rigorous national and state standards and assessments;
2. use enhanced electronic systems for data analysis to improve instruction;
3. provide all students with great teachers and leaders; and
4. turn around the lowest-achieving schools.

Our scope of work was one of only six across the state that was approved with no revisions required.

Having been awarded the grant, our Transformation Team is now moving forward to implement the strategies and programs required to achieve these goals.

Race to the Top will enable us to accelerate our work and develop new innovative strategies particularly in the area of developing great teachers and great leaders. Over the next three and a half years, we will:

  • create a new annual staff evaluation system to drive excellence and demand high performance;
  • develop new innovative methods to assign, recruit and support highly effective teachers and leaders in low performing schools;
  • expand the STEM strategies from our NIHF-STEM school into all of our middle schools; and
  • implement new, rigorous, national, common-core standards in language arts and math and new Ohio standards in science and social studies.


Ohio   APS
Increase graduation rate by .5% per year Increase high school graduation rate by 1% annually
(76% to 80% over 4 years)
Reduce graduation rate gaps by 50% Reduce graduation rate gaps by 50% between under-represented and majority students
Reduce performance gaps by 50% Reduce performance gaps by 50% on national and state-wide assessments between under-represented and majority students
Reduce gap between Ohio and the best-performing states in the nation by 50% Reduce performance gaps by 50% in reading and mathematics as measured by national and state-wide assessments between APS and the best-performing districts in the state
More than double college enrollment for 18- and 19-year-olds Increase college enrollment of students ages 19 and younger from 34% within Ohio to 42% (+ 10% to 20% out-of-state)

Student Demographics

Average daily student enrollment 23,395
Black, non-Hispanic 47.1%
American Indian or Alaska Native .1%
Asian Pacific Islander 2.8%
Hispanic 1.7%
Multi-racial 7.4%
White non-Hispanic 40.9%
Limited English-proficient 3.4%
Students with disabilities 18.8%
Economically disadvantaged 84.4%

State Report Card 2009-10

Ranking: Continuous Improvement
Indicators Met: 4
Performance Index: 83.1
Graduation Rate: 76%
Excellent Ratings: Miller South (Excellent With Distinction), Akron Early College High School, Ellet, Firestone, Hatton, Hyre, National Inventors Hall of Fame® School ...
Center for STEM Learning, and Windemere
Effective Ratings: Betty Jane CLC, Firestone Park, Leggett CLC, Resnik CLC, Roswell Kent, King and Ritzman CLC
Improved 2 Ratings: Findley CLC and Leggett CLC
Improved 1 Rating: 10 schools

More details and your school’s report card can be found at www.ode.state.oh.us.

National Recognitions

  • King was named as one of the “Needles in a Haystack” schools by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.
  • North’s biomedical Project Lead The Way program achieved national certification, and Garfield’s architecture Project Lead The Way program earned its second national certification.
  • Akron Early College High School, Firestone and Windemere were named “Schools of Promise” by the ODE.
  • Firestone was selected as one of Newsweek’s top 1,500 high schools in the U.S. for the sixth consecutive year.
  • The STEM School was featured in the July issue of Newsweek and on CNN.
  • Bettes was named an American Reading Company National Honor Roll school.
  • The communications department earned seven national marketing awards.
  • Seiberling fifth-grader Rueben Durkee was nominated to attend the Junior National Young Leaders Conference.
  • Litchfield students Hannah Earlenbaugh, Anastasia Otto and Christopher Sickels won gold for their Project RISE service project at the national FCCLA convention. Hyre student Alicia Fisher earned silver with her Chapter Showcase Display.
  • Akron Early College High School student Rebecca Vang was one of three GLOBE Program nominees from Ohio to .participate in President Obama’s Science Fair at the White House.
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Admin. Building, 70 N. Broadway, Akron, OH 44308-1911, 330.761.1661, Fax 330.761.3225, apsnews@akron.k12.oh.us © 2009 Akron Public Schools | All Rights Reserved