Education

Former Lorain City Schools Superintendent Jeff Graham will return to the embattled school district as the new CEO after a 5-0 Wednesday night vote of the district's Academic Distress Commission (ADC).

Graham, currently the Canton City Schools superintendent, beat out Galion City Schools Superintendent James Grubbs Jr. and Tracy Reed, the chief academic officer of Fort Wayne Community Schools in Indiana, for the position.

Graham previously held the position of the Lorain schools superintendent until the state takeover in 2017.  

a photo of the roundabout outside University of Akron student union
GOOGLE EARTH

The University of Akron is hosting a drive-by distribution for Spring 2020 graduates.

The University invites them to drive through the roundabout at the Jean Hower Taber Student Union between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. this Friday and Saturday. They will be able to pick up diploma covers, honors medallions, academic cords, and other celebratory items.

The three finalists for CEO of state-controlled Lorain City Schools will have an opportunity to differentiate themselves from the other candidates Tuesday night. They will convene for a public forum over Zoom and answer pre-written questions from a committee of community members.

a photo of the Kent campus
KENT STATE UNIVERSITY

In a letter to the campus community, Kent State announced Friday that the university will resume residential living and in-person classes at the Kent campus in August. The letter, from interim Provost Manfred van Dulmen, states, "We are developing several scenarios to ensure an outstanding and safe experience for our students, faculty and staff." 

photo of East CLC
EAST CLC

The COVID-19 pandemic has left high schools scrambling to create a commencement ceremony that follows social distancing protocols. While some schools have resorted to a virtual or drive-in ceremony, Akron Public Schools has come up with a way for more than 1,000 seniors to graduate in person.

Ohio’s K-12 schools are winding down their remote classes to end this unusual year. And Gov. Mike DeWine says he and school leaders are making plans for returning to in-person classes after summer break.

Updated Tuesday, May 26, 3:00 p.m.

Cincinnati State says its students will do remote learning this fall with the exception of required labs and skills learning. A Tuesday news release says those students will be able to socially distance.

Photo of the top of Tanisha Thomas' mortar board
TANISHA THOMAS / WKSU

Ohio college students just finished a spring semester that was anything but normal. Schools stopped in-person classes in March because of the pandemic. For those like Kent State University senior Tanisha Thomas, that meant going home to Columbus and finishing the semester remotely. 

Thomas, who was also an intern at WKSU, continued to work virtually as a member of the news department, right up until her graduation a week ago.  She kept track of her final days as a Kent State University student in this audio diary.

a photo of Akron campus
UNIVERSITY OF AKRON

Editor's note: This story has been updated with information about the sports that will be eliminated.

The University of Akron has announced that three athletics teams will be cut due to budgetary constraints caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

In a letter to UA community members, Athletic Director Larry Williams says men's golf, women's tennis and men's cross country teams are being eliminated. Williams said the cuts will save the university $4.4 million. 

The Ohio Supreme Court has let stand the law that allows the state to take over failing school districts, starting with the Youngstown City Schools in 2015.

Ohio’s more than 600 public school districts are taking $300 million in cuts as the state deals with a deficit of more than three quarters of a billion dollars. While that’s a reduction of just under 4% to K-12 education overall, school leaders say it’s a tough hit at the local level.

photo of Kent State
KENT STATE UNIVERSITY

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the Kent State University Board of Trustees has approved several cost-saving measures to try to close a growing budget deficit.

a photo of David James
M.L. SCHULTZE / WKSU

Every student in Akron Public Schools has a Chromebook. And Superintendent David James says most of them have connected via remote learning, but fewer than half are actively doing school work. The district is trying to get students more involved, but it’s also facing a number of other challenges from the coronavirus pandemic.

James welcomed the decision this week from Governor Mike DeWine to keep schools closed for the remainder of the school year.   

Urbana University, a private college in Ohio, announced Tuesday that it will close its physical campus and move classes online after the spring semester ends. It will also stop enrolling students at the end of the semester.

a photo of old Ellet High School
SCOTT TAYLOR / WKSU

When Akron students eventually return to classes at the new Ellet High School, things will look different around the building. The school district continues work to tear down the old Ellet High School building west of the new structure.

Akron Public Schools superintendent David James says there are plans for the site once the old school is razed.

photo of Kent State
KENT STATE UNIVERSITY

All throughout society, the coronavirus pandemic has meant upheaval, and that is certainly true in higher education. Universities and colleges have had to make drastic changes in how they operate: suspending in-person classes, sending all students home and shifting to virtual learning. How long will this last, how big of an impact will this have on schools and will they be able to survive this crisis? We spoke with Kent State University President Todd Diacon about the path forward for the university.

Updated: 4:59 p.m., Monday, April 13, 2020

A Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) survey found two-thirds of district’s families do not have a computer, laptop or similar device at home.

CMSD issued the survey Monday to assess need for technological assistance as its 37,700 students take on remote learning. The school system could need as many as 25,000 electronic devices, said Superintendent Eric Gordon.

Universities and community colleges in Northeast Ohio will receive millions in emergency funding under the CARES Act, the federal relief package aimed at helping the U.S. economy during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Under the CARES – or Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act – at least half the amount a university or college receives from the federal government must go towards emergency financial aid grants for its students. 

photo of Todd Diacon in the College of Architecture and Environmental Design
/ KENT STATE UNIVERSITY

Kent State University’s Board of Trustees approved a special tuition rate for out-of-state graduate students who earn their bachelor's degrees in Ohio.

President Todd Diacon said the lower rate came in response to a challenge from Gov. Mike DeWine.

Cleveland school CEO Eric Gordon
KEVIN NIEDERMIER / WKSU

Schools have had to make quick adjustments to try to teach students remotely. But that's not the only challenge they face, especially for large districts with high poverty rates like the Cleveland Metropolitan schools.

District CEO Eric Gordon talks about how the district is trying to keep the learning going, especially when it has limited contact with a quarter of its students.

Eric Gordon: We know that about 25% of our families do not have contact. That gives us some idea of the limits in our homes, right out of the gate.  

photo of children eating lunch at school
USDA

With schools closed during the pandemic, districts are trying to not only educate students, but feed them as well.

In Akron Public Schools, Child Nutrition Coordinator Laura Kepler said the district has had to adapt the types of food it is providing, but the schools still churn out 9,000 meals a day.

That’s about a third of what they do when students are in school.

The legislation making changes across a variety of state policies because of coronavirus also settled an issue that lawmakers had been struggling with for months. That’s the question of how many students would qualify next school year for the state’s largest private school voucher program.

a photo of May 4 logo
KENT STATE UNIVERSITY

Kent State has canceled plans on its campus to mark the 50th anniversary of the National Guard shootings that took the lives of four students on May 4, 1970. The University said it has made the decision "in the interest of the health and safety of the community," and also to comply with an order by state officials to stay home. The order takes effect Monday, March 23 at 11:59 p.m. and is aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus that is sweeping through the country.

photo of Kent State
KENT STATE UNIVERSITY

Kent State President Todd Diacon announced Friday that the University will suspend in-person classes for the remainder of Spring Semester.

The announcement comes just days after face-to-face classes were suspended through April 12th to slow transmission of COVID-19.

Professors began remote instruction of in-person classes earlier this week and will continue teaching students online for the rest of the semester.

Diacon said students living on campus will receive an appropriate refund of room and board if they move out by March 30th.

photo of classroom desks
SHUTTERSTOCK

Updated Friday, March 13 at 5:38 a.m. 

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