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Criteria being developed for new UA scholarships for APS students

1/31/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Becky Tompkins

The Innovation Generation Scholarships — the result of the ground-breaking deal in which the Akron Public Schools (APS) sold Central-Hower High School to The University of Akron (UA) in exchange for scholarships for APS students — are becoming reality.

The APS Board of Education voted Jan. 28 on the first basic criterion: To be eligible for one of the scholarships, the senior must have attended an APS high school for four years.

UA has already outlined academic requirements for the scholarships: The student must have at least a 3.0 grade-point average (GPA) and a score of at least 27 on the ACT, or be in the top 10 percent of his/her class with a 26 ACT, or have a 3.5 GPA and at least a 24 on the ACT.

APS Superintendent David James said UA has estimated that around 40 APS seniors meet the academic criteria for the full tuition, four-year scholarships and have expressed interest. He urged the school board to create a basic attendance policy so they could begin offering the scholarships to qualified seniors, who are making their college plans now, he said.

From this start, James said he can create some administrative guidelines for the scholarships. He said based on past records of students’ ACT scores and GPAs, APS officials estimate there will be 40 to 50 qualified students per year.

In other news, the King School PTA has donated $44,550 to be used for technology at the new King Community Learning Center (CLC), which is under construction. Principal Mary Dean said that amount was raised “through many years of hard work” by the PTA.

The money is to be used to purchase 22 Smart Light Raise Interactive Projectors for classrooms and three replacement pens for the projectors, according to the PTA.

Board President Jason Haas, in thanking the PTA, called it “an extraordinary gift” and said it would have a long-lasting impact at King.

In other King news, teacher Patricia Gonzalez was honored for achieving the renewal of her National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certification.

Assistant Superintendent Ellen McWilliams said of Gonzalez, “We have a pretty remarkable teacher in our district,” one who not only went through the rigorous program to earn national board certification, but then became the first in the district to go through the process again to renew that certification.

Dean said Gonzalez is a true proponent of lifelong learning who is always “looking for ways to reach every child and instilling a love of learning.”

The board postponed voting on approving the schematic design phase of the Firestone/Litchfield CLC that is being planned. At a community meeting about the progress of the planning Jan. 24, several people commented that the proposed facades of the building were not interesting. [See related story on Page 1.]

Paul Flesher, APS director of facility planning and capital improvements, said as a result, “we’re doing some minor tweaks” to the outside of the building before submitting the schematic design for approval.

The student chosen to lead the Pledge of Allegiance at the meeting was Katherine Klika, a seventh-grader at Miller South School for the Visual and Performing Arts. Katherine has a 4.0 GPA, said Haas, and won first place in the 2012 City of Akron Holocaust Writing Contest.

The board’s next regular meeting is scheduled for Feb. 11 at 5:30 p.m. at the Sylvester Small Administration Building, 70 N. Broadway St. in Downtown Akron.

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