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Akron veteran awarded honorary diploma

7/25/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Becky Tompkins

Robert Daniels Jr. was unable to complete the requirements to graduate from South High School after he left school to join the military in 1971.

But Daniels was given a veterans honorary high school diploma at the Akron Public Schools (APS) Board of Education meeting July 22, because the APS District recognizes life experience of honorably discharged veterans like him in awarding belated diplomas.

Daniels, who served two years in the military, said he is now retired after working 36 years at FirstEnergy.

In other business, the board approved numerous policies and guidelines to bring the district into compliance with new state laws or Ohio Department of Education rulings.

Following a new law passed by the Ohio General Assembly, APS student-athletes who have suffered a hit to the head will not be able to re-enter the game unless medical personnel have cleared them of the possibility of concussion.

“No one wants to see the kids get hurt,” said Bruce Alexander, co-chair of the board’s Policy Committee. The ruling affects all school sports, he said, especially football and soccer.

A new reduction in staff policy also was prompted by state law, reflecting the changes in teacher evaluation coming to Ohio public schools as a result of the recently passed House Bill (HB) 59, Alexander said. When teachers are let go for budget or enrollment reasons, often some are hired back if circumstances change.

HB 59 — the new two-year state budget — eliminates seniority as a criterion for rehiring teachers, focusing instead on their students’ performance on standardized tests and evaluation of the teachers by their principals. The new APS policy, as a result, also eliminates seniority as a criterion in teacher evaluation.

Numerous administrative changes and promotions were approved in preparation for the start of school. Antonio Preston was approved to become assistant principal of Firestone High School.

Digging has begun at the site of the former Litchfield Middle School, according to APS officials. Drilling of geothermal wells on the property are taking place to tap into the Earth’s natural geothermal energy, to be used for heating and cooling of the new Firestone/Litchfield Community Learning Center, according to Paul Flesher, APS director of facility planning and capital improvements.

Workers are drilling many wells 500 feet deep in the area near the railroad tracks, which will be a parking lot for the future building, Flesher said. Building construction will begin farther west, on higher ground, he said.

The board’s next regular meeting is scheduled for Aug. 12 at 5:30 p.m. at the Sylvester Small Administration Building, 70 N. Broadway St. in Downtown Akron.

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