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Akron Public Schools Converts North High into a Career Tech Academy Partnered With Akron Children's

photo of David James, Bill Considine
Akron Public Schools Superintendent David James (left) and Akron Children's Hospital CEO Bill Considine announced the $400,000 investment to turn North High School into a health and human services academy.

Akron Children’s Hospital is making a major investment in North High School to turn it into a health and human services career academy.

In his annual “State of the Schools” address, Akron Superintendent David James said the hospital is pledging $250,000 – with another $150,000 from in-kind donations – toward the project.

James says the decision to focus on healthcare careers came from conversations with North High students and faculty. He also notes that the district’s career-tech students have an 82 percent graduation rate -- about 13 percent higher than the general graduation rate.

“When kids get interested in a career path, they're more likely to persist in school and move on to graduation and do something in that post-secondary world."

James says the district's goal is to eventually convert all of its high schools to career-tech academies, which will blend with the career-tech focus of Gov. Kasich's preliminary budget. He also plans to recommend that North High School be renamed for Akron Children’s Hospital.

During the speech, James also took a moment to comment on what he called a recent government “controversy.”

Room for foreign-born students
Citing Akron’s large Bhutanese, Burmese and other refugee and immigrant populations, James said the district will continue to provide education to all students regardless of their -- or their parents’ -- immigration status, race or gender identity.

“I do understand the balance between our national security and opening up our arms to help those in need. But the America I believe in can do both.”

James also said he wants to see national leaders eliminate student debt and focus state testing on college readiness.

The text of the speech is available here, and the audio is below:

2017 Akron "State of the Schools" address

Kabir Bhatia is a senior reporter for Ideastream Public Media's arts & culture team.