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Akron teaches 802 students speaking 35 different languages

By John Published: February 8, 2010

Going through the school board packet for tonight's meeting (5:30 p.m., 2nd floor board room, 70 N. Broadway), I found this item noted by Treasurer Jack Pierson curious:

Akron teaches 802 students speaking 35 different languages. This school year, Akron is teaching 283 refugees and 56 are in their first year in U.S. schools (not counting kindergarten). 219 students in grades 3-12 have been in U.S. schools less than three years.

 The largest single native language spoken in Akron Public Schools  is Karen/Burmese with 163 speakers. Spanish is second with 149. Sixty students speak Arabic, 57 speak Vietnamese and two speak Uzbec.

Akron, for the first time, is getting state money to help with these students ($300,000), but it's far short of what the district is spending ($1.6 million), says Treasurer Jack Pierson, who is part of a finance committee  that is digging into the governor's new school funding formulas (Evidence Based Model).

More after the jump, including a link to an interesting NYT story about Early College programs like the one APS has.

Jack also has some concerns about money for gifted students, where possibly over-generous (or over-restrictive)  funding appears to be outstripping Akron's ability to spend the money because of  state requirements.  (Update: Ok, Akron can always find a way to spend the money. I think the point Jack is making is that the restrictions on this funding in the governor's model will leave Akron with plenty of money for gifted programs, but not nearly enough to handle the influx of students who are learning English as a second language).

Also on the agenda tonight:

Akron has received nearly $11,000 from the Service Learning Resource and Development Unit at Cleveland State University for Akron Early College High School to fund the "students paying it forward" program. Akron Early College High School students will provide tutoring to elementary and middle school students.

This caught my eye because the New York Times has a story on Early Colleges, which, like Akron's, are designed to give students who parents didn't go to college a leg up on college credit.

Until recently, most programs like this were aimed at affluent, overachieving students a way to keep them challenged and give them a head start on college work. But the goal is quite different at SandHoke, which enrolls only students whose parents do not have college degrees.

P.S. The Joint Board of Review (city and school officials who oversee the school construction program) will meet today at 4:15 p.m. at the CitiCentre building, 5th floor conference room, 146 S. High Street,  next to Akron City Hall.  The city officials want to try alternating the location of the JBR meetings so they don't have to schlep all the way to the school admin building every other Monday on the same day they have City Council committee meetings and the evening council meeting.
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