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West Side Education News & Notes

10/31/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

APS teacher investigated, on leave for Facebook postings

DOWNTOWN AKRON — Akron Public Schools (APS) has put a veteran music teacher on paid administrative leave as the district conducts an investigation into postings he reportedly made on Facebook.

On Oct. 27, 51-year-old David Spondike reportedly posted comments on his personal Facebook page following a night of trick-or-treating by children visiting his neighborhood, according to a press release from APS. Spondike has taught the core academic music curriculum for the APS Visual and Performing Arts program at Firestone High School since 1998, according to the school’s website.

“His comments were unprofessional and unbecoming a teacher,” said APS Superintendent David James. “Regardless of whether he was on his own time and own account doing this, he is a teacher; and his actions influence children. This is serious.”

APS officials stated Spondike’s alleged racially insensitive comments appeared to reflect his anger over the actions taken by young people trick-or-treating and, according to his Facebook writings, urinating on or near his property and in front of his children.

His comments have been removed and his account deleted, according to APS officials. After removing the comments and prior to deleting his Facebook account, he apologized “to those who are sincerely offended,” according to APS officials. Spondike added his comments on Facebook were directed at the teen who exposed himself in front of young children, APS officials said.

According to information on Firestone’s website, part of Spondike’s role is supervising the sound crew for theatrical productions and conducting the spring musical.


City of Akron PeaceMakers partnering with APD, APS, UA to mark Red Ribbon week

AKRON — The Akron PeaceMakers is celebrating its sixth annual Red Ribbon Week through Nov. 1. The group is partnering with the Akron Police Department (APD), Akron Public Schools (APS) and The University of Akron (UA) to educate youth in the community during this weeklong anti-drug and anti-violence awareness campaign.

The 95-member Akron PeaceMakers have students in each of the participating high schools and will ask their high school peers to sign pledge cards denouncing drugs and violence. APS and other area schools have given PeaceMakers permission to have a table in special designated areas to do their pledge sign-ups. All APS high schools will be involved in the program, as well as Akron parochial schools and high schools in Tallmadge and Green.

UA will do the same with its students. The UA students have been signing anti-drug and anti-violence pledge cards, and UA also will have an anti-drug and anti-violence Red Ribbon Pledge Party today, Oct. 31, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. featuring music by a local DJ and refreshments.

The APD will participate by handing out red ribbons to students while on duty in Akron middle and high schools.

“I am extremely proud of the work our Peacemakers are doing to make their schools better, to make their peers accountable for their actions and to bring the community closer together,” said Mayor Don Plusquellic. “They really get it. They are making a difference.”

Red Ribbon Week began as a reaction to the kidnapping, torture and murder of U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena in 1985. He and other DEA agents were assigned to monitor and stop drug trafficking along the U.S. and Mexican borders. Soon after his body was found in Mexico, red ribbons became a symbol for prevention in hopes of reducing the demand of illegal drugs.

Slogans on this year’s ribbons read “We Rule, We Are a Bully & Drug Free School,” “One School, One Goal, Bully & Drug Free,” “Friends Don’t Let Friends Bully or Do Drugs” and “Our School Rocks, Bully & Drug Free.”

For more information, call Willa Keith, program coordinator, at 330-375-2712 or Billy Soule, assistant to the mayor for community relations, at 330-375-2660.


Revere High School plans Veterans Day Assembly

Dr. William Moats
BATH — A Veterans Day Assembly will take place Nov. 11 at Revere High School. A complimentary breakfast for veterans and their guests will take place at 9:15, with the school-wide program beginning at 10 a.m. in the gymnasium.

The special guest speaker will be Dr. William Moats, who served as a captain in the U.S. Army.

Moats graduated from Revere High School in 1954 and pursued his undergraduate degree at Wooster College. Moats then went on to The Ohio State University College of Medicine, graduating in 1962. Moats had just started his medical practice when he was drafted by the U.S. Army in 1966. He served as the brigade surgeon for the 3rd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division of the U.S. Army from March 1967 to March 1968 while deployed in Vietnam. 

The school’s veneration of American veterans will include a presentation of special music by the Revere High School Symphonic Choir, a POW/MIA Ceremony, multi-media presentations and a time of recognizing those present who have served this country.

All residents of the community are invited to attend. Veterans who would like to attend the breakfast with their guest may contact Claudia Sarcyk at 330-523-3202 or Jack Cooper at 330-666-4155, ext. 633318, by Nov. 7. Assistance for guests with disabilities will be available. Parking will be reserved on the south side of the building closest to the football field.


2013 Summit County Teacher of the Year announced

FAIRLAWN — Summit County’s 2013 All-County Teaching Team was honored and a countywide Teacher of the Year was named Oct. 28 during the Summit County Education Celebration at the St. George Family Center.

Jim Tressel, from The University of Akron, was the featured speaker at the banquet, which was sponsored by Akron Children’s Hospital, the Summit County Educational Service Center, Clear Channel Radio, Akron Beacon Journal and Ohio.com, and Shannon English Marketing.

The 2013 All-County Teaching Team members were nominated by the community and chosen to represent their school systems by a selection committee, comprised of superintendents of each Summit County school district. The team is comprised of: Michelle Jones, Akron Public Schools; Melissa Walker, Barberton City Schools; Cathy Hoover, Copley-Fairlawn City Schools; John Murray Jr., Coventry Local Schools; Ryan Petraitis, Cuyahoga Falls City Schools; Irish Kuwatch, Green Local Schools; Stacy Koneval, Hudson City Schools; Scott Cantrell, Manchester Local Schools; Angela Francis, Mogadore Local Schools; Kathy Kotecki, Nordonia Hills City Schools; Tricia Pletcher, Norton City Schools; Maria Schlenk, Portage Lakes Career Center; Lawrence Petkovsek, Revere Local Schools; Kristine DiLauro, Springfield Local Schools; John Moyer, Stow-Munroe Falls City Schools; Lindi Long, Tallmadge City Schools; Donna Houston, Twinsburg City Schools; and Doug Greenleaf, Woodridge Local Schools, as well as the parochial schools representative, Dave Dages, a teacher at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, and the private schools representative, Cathy Shafer, a teacher at Chapel Hill Christian Academy.

One member of the Teaching Team was announced as the 2013 Teacher of the Year during the banquet, along with a Rookie of the Year and Lifetime Educator Award recipient. Twinsburg City Schools’ Houston was named Teacher of the Year. The Rookie of the Year is Daniel Vincent, an intervention specialist at Barberton Middle School.

Also, the Lifetime Educator Award went to Marco Burnette, former Manchester Local Schools superintendent and former member of the Barberton Board of Education.


Kathleen Folkerth, Ariel Hakim and Stephanie Kist contributed to these reports.

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