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West Side Education News & Notes

11/28/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

Firestone teacher responds to district in letter, hearing does not take place

AKRON — Akron Public Schools Director of Communications Mark Williamson announced Nov. 21 that Firestone High School teacher David Spondike has opted out of the investigative hearing process and instead issued a letter. A hearing scheduled for Nov. 21, therefore, did not take place, as Spondike’s letter serves as his position on the matter, Williamson explained.

The veteran music teacher was placed on paid administrative leave as the district conducts an investigation into postings he allegedly made on Facebook. On Oct. 27, 51-year-old Spondike reportedly posted racially insensitive 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.

“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.”

In his letter, Spondike stated, “I take full responsibility for the postings on Facebook which were done in a moment of anger and with unnecessary haste. Follow up postings were done in answer to responses that I received from the first posting. I take full responsibility for the language used and which has resulted in acrimonious comments from citizens in Akron. It is, however, my position that I have the right to use such language in explaining my feelings about the general state of the community in Akron. These remarks were in no way directed at the Akron School District or, to my knowledge, any person involved in the district.”

He went on to say that in light of the matter, he sought professional counseling for anger management “and other matters that may have caused the outburst on Facebook.” He stated he will make no further comment to the media.

Williamson indicated the next step for Spondike is a termination hearing, which has been set Dec. 2. “From that hearing, there will eventually come a recommendation to the board, and the board will then render a final decision,” said Williamson.


Paper drive nets 25.62 tons of recycled paper at schools

AKRON — Akron Public Schools (APS) and selected private schools in the Akron area recently participated in Keep Akron Beautiful’s (KAB) fourth annual mixed paper drive competition.

St. Mary School, Innes Community Learning Center (CLC) and Kenmore High School were declared the winners of the month-long competition by recycling the most paper per pound, per student.

St. Mary School recycled 21.1 pounds per student, or 1.99 total tons of paper, to win a school-wide pizza party and $250 cash prize courtesy of the River Valley Paper Co. In the middle school division, Innes CLC recycled 4.26 pounds per student, which is equal to 1,730 pounds total. Kenmore High School recycled 3.848 pounds per student, or 1.35 tons total. Innes and Kenmore each won a $500 cash prize courtesy of the River Valley Paper Co. and a field trip tour of the River Valley Paper Co. plant for 50 students and faculty.

For the first year since the beginning of the paper drive, two new categories were added. With the most pounds of paper recycled overall, North High School was the overall winner, with 2.12 tons of paper. Case Elementary School was the winner in the Most Improved Category, recycling 1,900 pounds more in 2013 than in 2012.

Overall, 25.62 tons, or 51,250 pounds, of paper were recycled citywide.

To help celebrate America Recycles Day Nov. 15, KAB, in conjunction with the River Valley Paper Co., sponsored the fourth annual mixed paper drive competition in 19 APS schools and eight private schools in the Akron area. From Oct. 21 to Nov. 15, community residents and local businesses helped participating Akron schools attempt to win this competition by taking their magazines, phone books, paperboard, catalogs, junk mail, office paper, newspaper and cardboard to a school parking lot bin.

For the second year, KAB also sponsored a poster contest. More than 100 students submitted art for the poster contest. The winner was Montana Cheek, a student from Jodi Apple’s class at Innes CLC. Montana received a $50 American Express gift card, and Apple received a $50 American Express gift card. Montana will be the featured artist for the 2014 America Recycles Day campaign. All of the posters were hung for residents to see at Earth Fare in Fairlawn Nov. 1-15.


Stephanie Kist contributed to these reports.

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