With Akron Public Schools officially out for the summer, the board of education used Monday’s regular meeting to tie up loose ends and begin preparing for the upcoming year.

Preparations included small steps toward the district’s overhaul of its current educational model with the upcoming College Career Academies and I Promise School.

The board voted unanimously to enter into a contract with Sander Contracting Inc. to renovate portions of North High School to accommodate its two academies: the Akron Children’s Hospital Academy of Health and Human Services and the Academy of Global Technology and Business.

The $491,900 renovation will convert a “massive” room, which has been used in the past few years for career education, into four classrooms. Two other classrooms will have walls removed between them, and learning materials specific to the academies, like a three-compartment sink, will be installed.

“If you are traveling by North this summer, it will be a very busy site,” said Debra Foulk, the district’s executive director of business affairs.

North was the pilot school for College and Career Academies, becoming a freshman academy in 2016 and implementing wall-to-wall academies this year.

Starting next school year, six Akron public high schools will become freshman academies, where students will spend ninth grade deciding on one of 57 pathways to focus their education. In the 2019-2020 school year, 10th-graders will embark on the path they chose as the rest of the high schools in the district become full four-year academies.

The board also voted unanimously to accept a grant for $343,000 from the LeBron James Family Foundation to provide four additional teachers to reduce class sizes at the I Promise School, which is set to open at the end of July.

In addition, the board also approved entering into a service agreement with the LeBron James Family Foundation and its College of Education at the University of Akron to help provide field experience to I Promise School teachers and help with their professional development training, which will take place every Wednesday throughout the school year.

As part of the agreement, the College of Education will also designate and cover the costs for a full-time faculty member to serve as the I Promise faculty adviser.

While board members looked ahead for a portion of the meeting, a majority of it was spent reflecting on graduation, along with the rest of the year and its successes.

“There are many things to be grateful for this school year … now here we go, preparing for another one,” Board President Patrick Bravo said.

Retirees took part in that reflection, as the board presented an award to nine retirees with the most years of service in their respective departments. Together, they had a combined 314 years of service.

Theresa Cottom can be reached at 330-996-3216 or tcottom@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter @Theresa_Cottom.