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Air Bear trumps touch-a-truck any day

By John Higgins Published: May 18, 2012

Akron Children's Hospital offered Case elementary school an ambulance to show kids on the school's Big Truck Day Thursday. Then the hospital offered its medical helicopter, Air Bear. Would the school like them to send the helicopter?  Uh, yes. Please send the helicopter. Teachers hope to create moments that kids will remember fondly at their 20th high school reunions. The teachers at Case hope their students will start a conversation like this some day: "Remember when the helicopter landed at our elementary school? Wasn't that awesome?" My Story in ABJ today.

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Tarle's third act: founding an Akron charter school

By John Higgins Published: May 17, 2012

I've got two front page stories today on former Akron city councilman Ernie Tarle's mission to open a charter school in Akron. Click here for the main story. Click here for a sidebar about some recent research of the "no excuses" approach Tarle hopes to emulate. The research is interesting because it takes advantage of the lottery system some charters use for admission to create a natural "control" group (kids who weren't chosen in the lottery) to test charter school effectiveness against traditional district schools. Click here for the MIT study I refer to in the story.

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Best. Field. Trip. Ever.

By John Higgins Published: May 16, 2012

Six Rankin elementary school third-graders got the field trip of a lifetime when LeBron James had them flown to Miami last Saturday to sit in the audience while he received the NBA's Most Valuable Player trophy. Here's my ABJ story. Oh yeah, he gave them the 2013 Kia Sorento, too ( the program gets the car, not the third-graders).

See the whole ceremony on YouTube here. Around the 20 minute mark he mentions Wheels for Education and his committment to Akron Public Schools.

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Akron juniors all taking ACTs today at no charge

By John Higgins Published: April 24, 2012

Every junior in Akron is taking the ACT college entrance exam today, free of charge, thanks to one-time federal Race to the Top money. Board president Jason Haas mentioned the tests at the school board meeting Monday night..The basic fee to take the ACT is $34. Haas said this year may be a one-time offer to provide the test free of charge. 

This is also the week that students take the Ohio Achievement Assessments (OAAs), which will determine state report cards for buildings and districts. Here's a video after the jump produced by Akron Public Schools of the STEM Middle School getting pumped for the tests:

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Social network links teachers and brain scientists

By John Higgins Published: April 17, 2012

Education Week's Sarah Sparks reports from the annual educational researchers meeting in Vancouver B.C. that "speed dating" is one model for sharing information:

"Doris Alvarez, the director of the Educator Network at the University of California San Diego, has a novel answer to the call for closer teacher-researcher partnerships: Speed dating.

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The ZR12 is no go-kart

By John Higgins Published: April 17, 2012

The University of Akron Zips Racing Team unveiled the race car it built for international competitions later this year in a ballroom ceremony Monday at the UA Student Center.

“On behalf of the 25 students that it took to make this car possible, with 20,000 man hours invested over the past nine months, I’d like to present to you the ZR12,” team captain Dan Lough said as team leaders removed the black covering to reveal a sleek open-wheel race car about a fourth of the size of an Indy 500 car.

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Derby gets FirstEnergy donation

By System Administrator Published: March 28, 2012

The All-American Soap Box Derby is getting a financial shot in the arm from FirstEnergy, but isn’t saying for how much.

The power company and youth racing organization announced Wednesday that the Akron-based company would be the title sponsor for the next three years.

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Akron doubles incentive to boost retirements

By John Published: March 26, 2012

Akron is using federal Race to the Top money to double the retirement incentive for teachers from $500 to $1,000.  So far, the district knows of 90 teachers who say they're retiring, about 20 to 25 more than usual, said human resources executive director Kathy McVey, who updated the Akron school board tonight on labor matters. It's too soon to say whether that will offset the 140 teaching jobs that must be eliminated for the next school year to avoid a $22 million deficit.

"We have to match up the people who are retiring with the openings that we'll have," McVey said. "We expect it will offset some of the layoffs that we have to do, but probably not all of them."

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Celebrations March 25

By admin Published: March 24, 2012

All aboard for learning

By admin Published: March 23, 2012

Seven school buses pulled into the Botzum railroad station in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park on Thursday morning.

Then 229 first-, second- and third-graders from Romig Road Community School climbed aboard the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad train to learn about animals that live in the park.

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