Founded by Edward W. Crosby and Emma Jean
quid ex Africa!
On These Principles We Stand!
he Ida B. Wells Community Academy (hereinafter referred to as "the Academy") is established in Akron, Ohio, in association with the Task Force for Quality Education and sponsored by the Ohio State Department of Education. It is designed to serve low-income students residing within the Akron metropolitan area. Moreover, the Ida B. Wells Community Academy addresses its curriculum also to the needs of underrepresented youths eligible to attend the Akron Public Schools. The Academy's decision to maintain a low 15:1 student to teacher ratio will strengthen its efforts to increase these students educational performance while at the same time diversifying educational content. The Academy's intent is to eventually serve students from Kindergarten to High School. In its first year, which began in August 1999, the Academy will enroll only students in kindergarten through the 2nd grade, adding on average one grade per year during its initial five years in operation.
1. Student Profile
The Ida B. Wells Community Academy's intended students will be from 5 to 11 years old and be enrolled in the following grade levels over the course of five years:
Projected School Enrollment (at 15 students per grade level)
Total Certified Teaching Staff during the Five-Year Period
Student:Teacher Ratio: 15:1
The Academy's reasons for addressing its programmatic energies to the education of low-income young persons and to the development of an innovative educational paradigm is strengthened by contemporary societal problems. Some of these problems are spoken to in the following passage:
Some people are concerned that the reform movement has emphasized job-related skills at the expense of promoting social awareness and values. Futrell (1990) states that education"must enable [students] to think complexly and creatively, to act responsibly, and – when necessary – to act selflessly. . . education must help the United States meet both economic and moral imperatives (pp. 264-265)." Some researchers argue that school policies, practices, and curricula must prepare students to live in a culturally diverse society (Pine and Hilliard, 1990), while some religious groups contend that a renewed emphasis on character development is required. Perhaps these concerns should be incorporated into discussions of ways of being "at risk." It may be that young people who leave school with poor behavioral and academic skills are not the only students at risk – pleasant, productive young workers who understand "21st-century" technologies but fail to grasp the significance of social and ethical issues may also place themselves, their communities, and the nation at risk.2. Educational Program
The Academy's mission is to educate youth (5 to 11 years of age) in Kindergarten through the 6th grade in an innovative and holistic and intellectually challenging atmosphere that (1) is personalized, problem-posing and problem-solving, (2) is devoted to the provision of quality instruction in the humanities, mathematics, the physical and natural sciences, citizenship, the arts, the social sciences, and African and world culture studies, (3) emphasizes preparing students to pass at the 75th percentile or better on the fourth, sixth, ninth and twelfth grade proficiency tests, (4) is a fully democratic and participatory educational process and (5) has a well conceived policy outlining the Roles and Responsibilities of Walimu (Teachers) and Wanafunzi (Students) and also the Rights and Responsibilities of Parents, Teachers and Administrators.
The Academy addresses its curriculum and educational services specifically to the needs of all youths eligible to attend the Akron Public Schools. Recently, however, the Academy learned of the possibility of enrolling students through an "Open Enrollment Program" who reside outside the Akron School District provided their home school districts agree. Admission is FREE. Busing is to be provided by the Akron Public School District. In the event that does not happen, the Academy will contract with a private transportation service. The Academy's decision to maintain a low 15 to 1 student to teacher ratio will strengthen its efforts to increase these students educational performance while at the same time diversifying educational content. The Academy's intent is to eventually serve students from Kindergarten to High School. In its first year, which began in August 1999, the Academy has enrolled only students in kindergarten through the 2nd grade; in subsequent years, the Academy will add on average one grade per year during its initial five years in operation.
The Academy's Educational Program and Goals
The Ida B. Wells Community Academy introduces its students to a culturally integrative curriculum designed to infuse content that is at once nurturing, stimulating, intended to engage students' intellectual curiosity, and imbue in its students a mutual respect for learning proficiency, competence and self direction not only in traditional learning objectives but also in the attainment of knowledge of their cultures, traditions and values. Students will also learn to appreciate themselves, their fellow students, their families, their community and their nation. The Academy's goals include creating a responsive and innovative and cooperative earning environment that will instruct students based on these programmatic objectives:
1. to prepare all students to function competently and productively in
an ever more complex and technological global society;
emphasis on this communal relationship, will demonstrate to parents and significant others that the Academy is able to provide children with a quality education; that the Academy is an appropriate school of choice, and that parents should avail themselves of the Academy's socio-cultural services and enroll their child(ren). To promote this notion in the public's mind, the Academy's developers have already and are now conducting a community-wide canvass to announce its existence and to document community choice. We believe the personalized educational program, the student-friendly curricular structure, its emphasis on full participation of all constituencies, and its democratic program design and delivery system will be a major attraction.
The Academy's Curriculum and Curricular Focus
The Ida B. Wells Community Academy's curriculum will provide instructional content that is nurturing, intellectually stimulating and intended to imbue in its students a mutual respect for learning not only those learning objectives or benchmarks recommended by the Ohio Department of Education's competency-based learning outcomes for mathematics, social studies (citizenship), science (physical and natural), comprehensive arts, language arts and literature, a foreign language, e.g., Kiswahili (the lingua franca of East and Central Africa), but also the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Educational Research and Improvement where feasible. An additional Academy goal includes the establishment of a learning environment supported by a curriculum that relies in part on the learners' experiences at home, in their neighborhoods, in the community, and in the society in general as far as possible and prudent. The Academy will instill an awareness and mutual respect for other people(s), their cultures, aspirations, traditions and values. In short, the curriculum will help students recognize how their learning is integrally related to their lives in the present and in the future. The Academy's and the general public's focus on increased academic expectations, moral and social responsibility, and increased proficiency ratings will influence parents to enroll their child(ren) in the Ida B. Wells Community Academy. It is important here to state categorically that the Academy's educational program relies on the research of scholars in the field. The Academy bases its structure and design on the work of Dr. Asa G. Hilliard III, Fuller E. Callaway Professor of Urban Education, Georgia State University, and Dr. Janice E. Hale.
In Hilliard's Alternatives to IQ Testing: An Approach to the Identification of Gifted Minority Children. Final Report to the California State Department of Education (1976), he stresses, along with others, that schools and schooling must view low-income and underrepresented children through a different set of glasses. That is to say, poor African American and white students respond differently to standard and non-standard intellectual stimuli. This position is underlined in Janice Hale's Black Children, Their Roots, Culture, and Learning Styles (1986), in which she reports the findings of Laura Lein's research (1975) on speech behavior and linguistic styles of African American migrant children as follows: "Demanding examples of good speech from students in tests or in the usual classroom situations is not necessarily an effective way of finding out what students know. Listening to exchanges between peers and peer evaluations of such exchanges is an important part of discovering how children speak. Also, it is a reasonable mechanism for learning how children interpret and react to speech. Teaching teachers the skills of anthropological observation and analysis may be one helpful way of enlarging their understanding of what is happening in the classroom."
Even though these references to educational research are directly related to African American children, the Academy understands that there is a commonality of educational experiences and barriers that obtain for all depressed classes of Americans. And that it is the Academy's job to see that every child – black or white, poor or disabled – receives a quality education and learns what it means to strive to be excellent in all their endeavors in school, at home, in the neighborhood, in sports, in art, in music and dance, in reading, writing and arithmatic.
The Academy's curricular content at each grade level will be structured to produce the following expected and measurable performance outcomes as cited in the Ohio Board of Education's mandated learning objectives. Broadly speaking, these learning objectives include modes for reading, writing, mathematics, science, and civics (citizenship) and social studies. It must be emphasized here, however, that these performance objectives represent only the minimum curricular foci of the Ida B. Wells Community Academy. It should also be emphasized that since the Academy will design structured learning activities based on individual student interests and needs, the performance outcomes enumerated do not and cannot to reflect all of the faculty's anticipated performance expectations. To be sure, they are no more than indications of comprehensiveness of the Academy's curriculum. At the risk of redundancy, given the Academy's emphasis on allowing its students to grow at their own pace, we expect over time a number of students will show even higher levels of performance.
At the End of Kindergarten Students Should Be Able . . .
Before the Ida B. Wells Community Academy goes into operation or as we add additional grade levels, we will draft an upgraded listing of performance outcomes indicating the expected end competency results as mandated by state-required proficiency tests, etc.
The Academy's Instructional Design and Educational Philosophy
Students will be taught a basic skills program with an interdisciplinary (holistic) learning focus. The Ida B. Wells Community Academy is committed to engendering in its students intellectual curiosity and will stress high academic standards and rigorous performance expectations. To accomplish this aim, the Academy has an educational philosophy that emphasizes in its program structure and instructional design the following essential curricular and procedural ingredients:
1. Small classes that are holistic and culturally integrative, and designed
to enhance at all levels the students' proficiency in the basic skills
and mastery of standards adopted by teachers, parents and students;
The Academy's instructional philosophy and program structure are open-ended so that it can maintain curricular and operational flexibility, recognizing that over time it may have to incorporate revised or different learning and operational strategies. The Academy is intent on infusing into its curriculum a diversity element with the emphasis on African America, Africa, Native America, Latin America and the world. This element is not standard in public or private school education but is, from our perspective, vital given our anticipated student population, not because they will be children of color but rather because most children (and most educated Americans regardless of race) have not been exposed to the history, culture and aspirations of the African and other persons of color in America.
A careful review of the Academy's educational philosophy and curricular plan reveals that we approach education from a quality perspective that agrees with Edward Wilmot Blyden's description of our educational needs as a people in 1878:
". . . Great stress is being laid and not without reason upon the facilities of education now within reach of our people in the United States and the book learning which many of them are now receiving. This is certainly a matter for congratulation. But we must not lose sight of the important fact to be gathered from the very etymology of the word education, viz; that book learning is not the most essential part of our educational needs as a people. You do not educate a man when you merely fill his mind; but you do educate him when you lead out his powers. You do not educate a man when you merely tell him what he knew not; but you do educate him when you make him feel what he ought to feel; the one is mental, the other affectional. The one teaches him to lean upon others, the other teaches him to "retire upon himself." All this latter lesson is what the Negroes of America need more than all the literature of the schools.Carter G. Woodson's admonition in his The Mis-education of the Negro (1933) is very instructive with regard to serving the educational needs of the people:
"The element of race does not enter here. It is merely a matter of exercising common sense in approaching people through their environment in order to deal with conditions as they are rather than as you would like to see them or imagine that they are. There may be a difference in method of attack, but the principle remains the same. . . . History does not furnish a case of the elevation of a people by ignoring the thought and aspirations of the people thus served."W.E.B. DuBois continues this educational argument with the following comments excerpted from his The Education of Black Folk: Ten Critiques, 1906-1960:
"First of all, we must note among American Negroes certain persistent culture patterns: the determination to educate their children; . . . the refusal, despite overwhelming temptation, to adopt entirely white American standards as to the good, the beautiful and the true" (1948). . . . "Take for instance the current problem of the education of our children. By the law of the land today  they should be admitted to the public schools. If and when they are admitted to these schools, . . . Negro teachers will become rarer and in many cases will disappear. Negro children will be . . . taught under unpleasant, if not discouraging, circumstances. Even more largely than today they will fall out of school, cease to enter high school, and fewer and fewer will go to college. Theoretically Negro universities will disappear. Negro history will be taught less or not at all and . . . Negroes will remember their white or indian ancestors and quite forget their Negro forebearers. . . . long before the year 2000, there will be no school desegration on the basis of race. The deficiency in knowledge of Negro history and culture, however, will remain and this danger must be met or else American Negroes will disappear. . . ."Amilcar Cabral, the late President of Guinea-Bissau, expresed similar thoughts in Return to the Source: Selected Speeches of Amilcar Cabral (1973):
". . . To dominate a people is, above all, to take up arms to destroy, or at least to neutralize, to paralyze, its cultural life. For, with a strong indigenous cultural life, foreign domination cannot be sure of its perpetuation. The value of culture as an element of resistance to foreign domination lies in the fact that culture is the vigorous manifestation on the ideological or idealist plane of the physical and historical reality of the society that is dominated or to be dominated. Culture is simultaneously the fruit of a people's history and a determinant of history, by the positive or negative influence which it exerts on the evolution of relationships between man and his environment, among men or groups of men within a society, as well as among different societies."Blyden, Woodson, DuBois and Cabral penned these words many years ago and their words are still on point. Very few educators, most of them persons of color, have tried to adapt their contemporary educational strategies to these critical "common sense" principles. Those educators and the retrogressive general public who believe that, if they were to do so, they would have to admit that pluralistic educational strategies are required. Or, if they were to embrace educational pluralism, they would also have to renounce their cultural, racial, geopolitical and educational hegemony. Ida B. Wells Community Academy, however, feels the time has come for it to answer an educational problem that has been dogging people of color in this country – African Americans, Native Americans, and Latin Americans – for a long, long time.
The African American represents, for example, the largest non-white racial group in the United States; unfortunately it also represents the group whose history, culture, languages, traditions and contributions to American civilization have been most neglected in school curricula from kindergarten to the PhD. The Academy will, therefore, correct this oversight by the infusion of curricular diversity. The Academy does not resort to the exclusion of instruction on other ethnic and racial groups. The fact is that Americans regardless of ethnicity or race must learn to live and work with each other. This need has been evident, although ignored, since the inception of the nation. It is now incumbent on the nation's educational system to reflect in its curricula this necessary national emphasis. The Academy will, then, offer public school children in the city of Akron a well-balanced education where academic skills are taught in combination with mutual respect and cooperation among those diverse Americans who are destined to maintain the American experiment. It is time for the Acacemy to join with parents and the general community to take matters into our own hands and stop wondering about whether to call our schools African-centered or European-centered and get to work delivering to our youth and their parents and the Akron public school district what their taxes should have delivered a long time ago: A QUALITY EDUCATION designed for the 21st century!
The Academy again relies on the research and scholarship of educators such as Richard Long, Asa Hilliard, Janice Hale and Wade Nobles who writes: "The importance of culture is reflected in the curriculum by it (the curriculum) being sensitive to the ethnic heroes and holidays and aware of the groups songs and dance. Culture is not, however, simply a compilation of ethnic heroes and holidays nor is it only an awareness of other people's music and dance. . . . Curricula are tools of education and part of the problem has been in the way culture in general and the . . . African American culture in particular, has been defined and applied to the educational experience. . . . Culture is therefore the invisible dimension of all curricula. Hence, just as the nature of water (i.e., salt vs. fresh vs. polluted), influences the reality (i.e., survivability) of particular types of fish, so too do different cultural systems influence the reality of particular groups of people." Dr. Nobles goes on to say:
The fact of the matter is that when we look at the notion of culture and raise the question of accessing children to a core curriculum, we should be very clear that the core curriculum itself is cultural; and that the teaching methodology that we utilize in teaching the core curriculum is also cultural; and that the site leadership style is cultural, and that the guidance and counsel techniques are cultural, and that the instructional strategies are cultural, and that the school climate is cultural, and that ultimately the aim and purpose of education itself is cultural."The Academy finds ample support for its decision to infuse African and African American history, culture, languages, traditions and contributions to American civilization into its curriculum from kindergarten to the 12th grade. In terms of consistency, the Academy will also, as stated above, infuse the cultures of other underrepresented Americans, namely Native Americans and Latinos (see A Selected Bibliography).
A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform, A Report to the Nation and the Secretary of Education, United States Department of Education by the National Commission on Excellence in Education, April 1983, offers this on-point testimony as to why the Ida B. Wells Community Academy development team have decided to enter the educational reform struggle and have designed their educational delivery system and support services as they have. We quote extensively selected passages from the Commission's report:
1. "Our society and its educational institutions seem to have lost sight
of the basic purposes of schooling, and of the high expectations and disciplined
effort needed to attain them. This report, the result of 18 months of study,
seeks to generate reform of our educational system in fundamental ways
and to renew the Nation's commitment to schools and colleges of high quality
throughout the length and breadth of our land. . . . That we have compromised
this commitment is, upon reflection, hardly surprising, given the multitude
of often conflicting demands we have placed on our Nation's schools and
colleges." . . .
The educational dimensions of the risk have been well documented in testimony taken by the National Commission on Excellence in Education. We list here some of the risks the NCEE noted that the American community faces on national, state and local levels. They are:
". . . Of course, . . . the average citizen today is better educated and more knowledgeable than the average citizen of a generation ago – more literate, and exposed to more mathematics, literature, and science. The positive impact of this fact on the well-being of our country and the lives of our people cannot be overstated. Nevertheless, the average graduate of our schools and colleges today is not as well-educated as the average graduate of 25 or 35 years ago, when a much smaller proportion of our population completed high school and college. The negative impact of this fact likewise cannot be overstated."Finally, recent reports on schooling in America show that the nation in general continues to be at risk as reported in The Third International Mathematics and Science Study (February 1998) and in The Thomas B. Fordham Foundation Report on State Standards (July 1998) which found "that only 1 state had truly rigorous and clear standards in English, 1 in history, 3 in geography, 3 in math, and 6 in science. . . . twelve out of 28 states with English standards failed, 19 out of 38 states with history standards failed, 18 of 39 in Geography failed, 16 of 48 in math failed, and 9 out of 36 states with science standards failed." Indeed, when it comes to African American, Native American and Latin American youth the educational statistics are undoubtedly even more depressed (see the Akron Public Schools Audit for a case in point). Hence, the Ida B. Wells Community Academy will strive to deliver high quality instruction and concern itself with creating more "public" public schools, i.e., "schools public in character, in operation and in purpose."
This discussion illustrates that you do not have to be African American, poor or a person of color to be at risk. All young people attending the nation's schools are in similar circumstances and, if change does not come, will continue to be at risk well into the next century. The Academy commits itself to do its part to prepare and educate its student body, parents, faculty, administrators and the community at large to make certain they avoid this pitfall.
Students Qualifying for D.P.I.A. Funds
It is difficult to state definitively the percentage of students qualifying for DPIA funds. Suffice it to say that the Academy expects 60 to 70% or more of its student body will qualify for these funds. The Ida B. Wells Community Academy's market research generated data supporting our expectations. There are sufficient numbers of so-called low-income and at-risk students, as defined above, residing within the metropolitan boundaries of the City of Akron and are currently attending Akron public and private schools. These data also attest to a pool of other children who will come of age and attend district schools within a few years. Moreover, a cursory examination of the District's suspension/expulsion percentages (see Table 4), the numbers of disadvantaged students (35.8%), the dropout rates (28.7 black and 24.4% white) and the number of low-income families black and white (the District median income is $21,006) undergirds the Academy's move to establish a student- and parent-friendly learning environment. According to the 1990 U.S. census, the total population of Akron had a median income of $32,000; the African American population by contrast has a median income of $18,709 with 50% of population below the poverty level (11,325) and 125% of the population (or 22,314 persons) below the poverty level. Of the 32,331 young people enrolled in the Akron public schools in 1997, 46.8 are African American (see Table 5). There are approximately 9,914 African American school-age youngsters between ages 5 to 14 years residing in Akron. Since the total population of the city is 223,019 and its residents enjoy a very modest median income, it is clear there is also within the white community a substantial number of youth that can be defined as "at risk" and under served. This view is augmented by the number of dropouts and suspensions, even though it is lower than that reported for African Americans. It is further strengthened by the disparity Table 3 shows in the average number of African American honors students (7.2%) when contrasted with white honor students (15.6%). Therefore, it is apparent that the Academy will succeed in recruiting a critical mass of low-income and other at risk students from the African American, white, Native American and Latin American inner-city communities (see Table 4).
3. Accountability System
Various psychometric instruments, e.g., the California Achievement Test, the Academy will be used to measure scientifically the degree to which its students exhibit the cultural, historical and social knowledge and sensitivities (sensibilities) the curriculum fosters. The inference here is that the Academy will establish frequent opportunities for staff to conduct structured assessments of . . .
1. how well students (and parents) are apprehending the Academy's curricular
structure, teaching style and methodology and the Academy's student-community-parent
The Academy's choice of methods to assess pupil progress is based on the following five beliefs about assessment:
1. In order to have a complete picture of a student's growth, different
types of assessments must be used. Assessments should focus on an individual
student's growth towards a proficiency standard rather than comparing a
student's performance against other students;
Intervention-Based Assessment (IBA) is a collaborative, problem-solving process which focuses upon a specific concern that affects the learner's educational progress within a learning environment. Individuals involved in this ongoing process include the learner, the learner's family and educators, who mutually define and analyze the concern(s), develop measurable goals, and design and implement interventions while monitoring the effectiveness of these through the use of performance data.The Academy will consult with Summit County's Special Education Regional Resource Center for advice on service delivery and for recommendations of validated and reliable assessment and evaluation tools and procedures for its special education students.
The Academy will use with other students a variety of performance-based assessment tools such as portfolios, demonstrations, and performance tasks. The Academy will also use standardized tests that compare individual student progress to state standards. These standardized proficiency tests are also intended to report the proportion of students at the Ida B. Wells Community Academy who have reached (or exceeded) the state proficiency standards in math, reading, writing, science, and social studies.
Tools for Assessment
Portfolios will provide one perspective for assessing student growth. A portfolio is a daily or weekly collection of representative work. Reading, writing, speaking portfolios, for example, will contain results of student performance on a variety of assessments in writing, reading, and speaking. Scoring ranges will be developed and staff will receive training on using these agreed upon scoring ranges. Student reflection will be an integral part of the portfolio. In addition, the portfolios will serve as one tool that lets teachers determine how well they meet Academy-adopted proficiency targets, say, in one language – English – and becoming semi-fluent in a second language – Kiswahili.The Academy's faculty as a group or individually will assess how well students can put into action what they have learned and experienced to construct, perform and carry out a meaningful service project designed to meet a community need within or without the Academy. The task will demonstrate the student's ability to integrate several expected and desired social, educational or historical-cultural outcomes for students. A possible task could be stated as follows:
"Identify a service opportunity to serve the community. As you prepare yourself to perform the service, research, read and comprehend what others have done under similar circumstances that is related to the service you have chosen. Develop a written proposal that describes the service and that persuades others that what you intend to do is worthwhile. Provide the service. Finally, describe the process in writing as well as through another medium that can be video, music, speech, a song, art, poetry, or dance. You decide which medium (media) you want to use."Standardized Assessment Tests that compare student progress to a proficiency standard will be used. These tests include the Ohio Board of Education Proficiency Test to measure reading, writing, and math, social studies and science proficiency in the 4th grade as grade levels are added, the Academy will use proficiency tests for the 6th, 9th and 12th grades. The Academy will consider the Language Assessment Scale for measuring gains in English proficiency; the California Aptitude Test (CAT); the Student Attitude Measure (SAM) to measure student motivation, student academic self-confidence, student sense of control over performance, and student sense of instructional mastery. The Academy will also use a battery of assessment tests normed on inner-city and disadvantaged youth (see Handbook of Tests and Measurements for Black Populations. Reginald Jones, ed. 2 Volumes. Cobb & Henry Publishers, Hampton, VA, 1996). In addition to these instruments, the Academy will use the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test (WIAT) and the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS). Other achievement test options will be used for groups: the CTBS, the MEA, the Metropolitan Achievement Tests, the Stanford Achievement Test; and for individual achievement: the Woodcock-Johnson, the Peabody Individual Achievement Test (PIAT), the Wide Range Achievement Test (WRAT), the Key Math, the Woodcock Reading, the Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children, and the Diagnostic Achievement Test for Adolescents.
4. Effective Educational Practices
The Academy's decision to involve parents as equal owners of the Academy in meaningful and critical operational and managerial imperatives throughout the Academy's start-up and operational phases is not usually replicated in traditional public and private schools. These imperatives include teaching, administrative and governance functions, committee assignments of various sorts, e.g., discipline, curriculum design and delivery, student recruitment and admissions, faculty/staff hiring and training, transportation, fund raising, and facility management and identification. Their children will attend an educational program wherein they, too, will have a role in the program's operation and governance (see Sowande's "Program Harmony Model" above). The Academy's program structure and continuum of educational options and procedural safeguards will be designed to meet the needs of students with disabilities. The parents of these children will be integrally involved with these and other curricular and managerial aspects of the Academy. This full package of educational services will, therefore, help persuade parents that the Ida B. Wells Community Academy is a safe haven for their children and is intent on achieving excellence over and above some other educational program (see "A Selected Bibliography").
Classrooms are administered by a trained and experienced teacher-principal and individually managed by certified teachers or teaching teams in collaboration with teacher assistants. A trained special education teacher (or teachers) will be on staff. These teachers will construct matrices of teaching strategies that will encompass the following areas and a number of others, e.g., classroom control and conflict resolution, that will be introduced as necessitated by the needs of the Academy students.
1. Meeting students where they are socially, culturally and academically
and then moving them to higher and more intensive academic levels supported
by incorporating instructional themes such as the avoidance of threat,
meaningful and relevant content, learning style choices, sufficient time
to assimilate content, an enriched learning environment, student-to-student
collaboration, and immediate feedback;
Professional Development – Faculty, Parents and Administrative and Support Staff
All individuals actively engaged in the educational process — Governing and Advisory Board members, faculty, parents, and administrative and support staff — are required to undergo a comprehensive and ongoing training program and series of educational development workshops or forums. Since the Academy proposes to create a non-standard educational paradigm, and since it encourages innovation and rigorous academic standards, these training and development programs coupled with a set of Faculty Employment and Performance Expectations are essential to its proper and effective conduct and administration. Even though the Academy cannot force its students' parents to attend and participate in this program, we hope parents will see and act on the absolute need for them to be integrally involved so that they, too, can join in as knowledgeable partners and cooperate with the other members of the educational team. It is to serve this need that students, parents and faculty/staff are presented with a detailed handbook that clearly outlines their rights and responsibilities. Moreover, parents are, in the Academy's view, an essential educational support system for their children. They, too, must not only understand what is being done educationally but also be able to make suggestions to better the Academy's effectiveness.
The tentative style and content of the Academy's professional development program follows along these lines:
Phase I: Program Planning, Professional Development
Advisory Group Development and Orientation
Faculty, Staff, Parents, Student Training and Orientation
Currently, the Academy is jointly administered by Mrs. Emma Jean Calhoun and Edward W. Crosby, PhD. Later an experienced school administrator will be retained to be the Academy's primary on-site officer in-charge, i.e., principal. An oversight committee or Advisory Board composed of students, parents of students with and without disabilities, teachers, administrators, and community professionals will be formed. This Advisory Board will oversee the school's daily educational operation, i.e., teaching assignments, curriculum revision, teacher performance, textbook selection, student discipline, etc. In short, on-site management will be an operational imperative. In addition, the Academy will have a Board of Governors ByLaws composed of, say, officials from Kent State University and the University of Akron, e.g., deans and department chairs and faculty, as well as parents, professional educators, health officials, psychologists, school teachers and business persons. Where the Advisory Group will meet weekly or daily as necessary, the Governing Board will meet on a monthly schedule.
As outlined under "School Management" above, the Academy has developed a comprehensive "Network" of individuals who have been and will continue to be instrumental in its planning, professional development and orientation programs, and in its implementation processes. These individuals along with others may be consultants or members of the Board of Governors or members of the Advisory Board, i.e., the Site-Based Management Committee. As planning proceeds this Network will expand or contract. Presently, the following individuals have agreed or consented to be considered as members and will offer their professional services in the following areas:
Psychological, Assessment and Counseling Services
l Edward W. Crosby, PhD: Educational Reform Activism and Community Development
437 Silver Meadows Blvd
Dr. Crosby was born in Cleveland, Ohio and was one of the founders of the Experiment in Higher Education at Southern Illinois University in East St. Louis in 1965 and the founder and first chair of the Institute for African American Affairs and subsequently the Department of Pan-African Studies at Kent State University from 1969 to January 1, 1994, when he retired and became emeritus chair and professor, the Department of Pan-African Studies and professor emeritus, Department of Modern and Classical Language Studies (German). He currently serves in conjunction with Mrs. E. Jean Calhoun as a Co-Chairperson of the Board of Governors, Academy's Superintendent and Chair of the Personnel and Benefits Committee for the Ida B. Wells Community Academy.
Dr. Crosby received his BA and MA from Kent State in 1957 and 1959 in German and Spanish and earned his Ph.D at the University of Kansas in 1965 in German, Medieval German Literature and Medieval History. In 1957 he began teaching at Kent State and later, in 1958, at Hiram College also in Ohio. In 1962, while on a leave of absence, he taught at Tuskegee Institute (now University) in Tuskegee Institute, Alabama.
He returned to Hiram College a year later. In 1965 Dr. Crosby resigned from Hiram College, changed his career from teaching German and Spanish to serving the social and educational needs of Africans in America, and worked first as a volunteer and later became an associate director of Akron's recently organized Summit County-Greater Akron Community Action Council. During this period, he spearheaded among other cummunity projects the establishment of an Upward Bound Program on the Hiram Campus. This program was subsequently transferred to Walsh College and later in 1971 to Kent State University.
In 1966, after working in Akron for six months, he joined Southern Illinois University's Experiment in Higher Education (EHE) based in East St. Louis. As the director of education of EHE, he restructured the learning process and the curriculum of the last two years of high school and first two years of undergraduate education for 200 African American (90%) and white students (10%) who were assured scholarships to continue their college careers at SIU or any other college or university in Illinois or the United States in general. Two students studied in Africa.
While in East St. Louis, Dr. Crosby was instrumental in the establishment of the Danforth Foundation's Metropolitan Scholars Program and assisted in the national evaluation of UPWARD BOUND for urban youth and compensatory education programs for migrant and other agricultural workers through the South West Alabama Farmers Cooperative (SWAFCO) and worked with university faculty, administrators, and students to speed the establishment of African or Black Studies programs in California, Oregon, Missouri, Ohio, Texas and New York.
He returned to Kent in 1969 to found the Institute for African American Affairs and, in 1976, the Department of Pan-African Studies. From 1976-1978, while on administrative leave of absence, Dr. Crosby directed the Afro-American Studies Program at the University of Washington in Seattle. For twenty-five years, as aforementioned, Dr. Crosby was the chairperson of the Department at Kent State where he promoted African-centered education, and won the respect of students and faculty at Kent, across the state of Ohio, and around the nation. He believes academic, cultural, and socio-emotional holism helps place African American college and public school students at the center of the learning process and allows them to "retire upon themselves."
l Mrs Emma Jean Calhoun: Committed to Educational Activism
622 McKinley Avenue
Mrs. Calhoun is the inspirational leader of the Ida B. Wells Community Academy and serves in conjunction with Dr. Edward W. Crosby as a co-chairperson of the Board of Governors and director of recruitment and facilities management. She is a native of Sylacauga, Alabama and is married to Ira "Joey" Calhoun, Jr. They have resided in Akron for most of their lives and have two daughters and four grandsons. For 28 years, Mrs. Calhoun worked at Akron City Hospital as a Licensed Practical Nurse, during which time she developed her lifelong ambition to serve her people and humanity in general. She received "The Beautification Award" from Keep Akron Beautiful in 1995, The Catholic Commission's "Certificate of Recognition for Exceptional Work for Peace and Social Justice," November 23, 1993; "Award to an Outstanding Community Activist" presented by the African American Cultural Festival and Parade Committee, July 10, 1993; and "The Martin Luther King. Jr., FESTAC Institute Certificate of Appreciation," November 30, 1987.
As a life member of the NAACP, she has been working diligently over a period of years to increase the membership rolls of this very important community organization. She has served as a Girl Scout Leader at Trinity Lutheran Church. Her hobbies include reading and traveling. She has traveled to Egypt, Israel, Greece, Liberia, Senegal, the Ivory Coast in West Africa, Mexico, and various parts of the United States. Never one to forego learning opportunities Mrs. Calhoun attends the University of Akron studying among other things courses in the African American history and culture under the tutorship of Professor Neal Holmes. She along with Professor Holmes and a committee worked concertedly and with success to have an African American history course taught in theAkron Public Schools. This course is currently taught at Buchtel, North, East, Ellet, and Firestone High Schools. She is presently working with a Akron Public Schools multi-cultural education committee to infuse African American history content into all grade levels – K through 12 – in the Akron Public Schools. In 1989 the parents of school-aged students informed Mrs. Calhoun about the high rate of expulsions and suspensions in the Akron Public Schools. As a result, she requested and received data from the Board of Education which demonstrated the accuracy of this assertion.
As a consequence of this involvement, Mrs. Calhoun organized the Task Force for Quality Education was formed with Ms. Debra Calhoun, program coordinator, the American Friends Service Committee, Dr. Neal Holmes of the University of Akron, Mr. Ken McClenic, director, West Akron Neighborhood Development Corporation, and Mr. Cazzell Smith, director, East Akron Community House. The Task Force for Quality Education has conducted a series of Community Education Forums at the East Akron Community House, on a wide range of topics some of which are indicated below:
The Academy is housed on the premises of the East Akron Salvation Army Post located at 1104 Johnson Street, P.O. Box 9187, Akron, Ohio 44305 (phone: 330.376.5169). This facility is more than adequate for the educational purposes we envision. It has several large to medium sized classrooms, a large gymnasium, a well equipped food service facility that is inspected monthly by the Summit County Health Department, a large fenced-in play area, and is fully accessible to those who are disabled. This facility already has some classroom furniture, exercise mats, sports equipment, etc., however, the Academy will have to purchase or otherwise provide room dividers, classroom furniture for small children, desks and desk chairs for teachers and staff, and school essentials.
8. Relationship with Akron Public School District
The Academy will not have any direct relationship with the Akron Public School District. The Academy will, however, rely on the District to provide transportation to and from school. The Academy will also seek to establish a working relationship with the District for the provision of other negotiated services such as food service, if necessary. In the short term the Academy will negotiate working relationships which will include training in responding to ODE's data collection and submission (EMIS) requirements, the delivery of special education services, among other things. As time progresses the Academy will seek from the District the ability for its students to participate in some District functions and/or facilities, e.g., the National Honor Society, varsity sports, natatoria, Glee Clubs, theatre and dance facilities, musical performances, speech declamations, debate societies, etc.
9. Continued Operation
The Academy's Board of Governors will be oriented toward developing funding networks, overseeing the preparation of grant proposals and exploring a variety of community fund raising ventures to sustain where necessary programmatic items contained in this proposal and beyond. The Board will put its emphasis on raising funds to support envisioned site construction and capital improvements, equipment purchases and upgrades, the establishment of a computer lab, the creation of a library and media center, and a number of other things. The Academy envisions becoming a full-fledged High School within a ten-year period or less. To accomplish this, the Academy's Board must be actively engaged in making certain that the Academy has the wherewithal to make this eventuality happen.
10. Admissions Process
The Ida B. Wells
Community Academy will serve students residing within the Akron City School
District. The Academy's student body will include low-income, under achieving,
under served, under challenged and under represented inner-city youths.
Even though the Academy's mission is to eventually serve students from
Kindergarten to High School, it will initially serve only students in kindergarten
through the 2nd grade, adding one grade per year thereafter. Students will
be admitted to the Academy in accordance with the Ohio Revised Code, Chap.
3314.06 which stipulates that "there will be no discrimination based on
race, sex, religion or handicapping condition.
Local newspapers have already announced on two occasions that the Academy has a Community School that will be up and running in September 1999. In addition to this the Academy network has already begun to canvass and distribute forms and brochures that request parental information and provide a summary of its mission statement, admission policy, educational program and goals and instructional design and educational philosophy. The Academy will initiate an intensive promotion effort slated to begin January 1, 1999. This effort will include public service announcements on local radio and TV, paid advertisements, bumper stickers, fliers and posters, announcements in church bulletins, community forums, and appearances at organizational, community meetings, etc.
Parents wanting to register their child(ren) in the Ida B. Wells Community Academy will be invited by mail to attend a public forum that will be held in March. The time and place for this forum will be announced in that letter and in the Akron Beacon Journal and the Reporter. Additional announcements will be made on local TV Channels and Radio Stations. Announcements will also be placed in church bulletins, grocery stores, barbershops and hair salons.
To register their child(ren) parents will be required to submit a Registration Form which will be used only by Ida B. Wells Community Academy officials and will be kept in the strictest confidence. Click on the button below to view and print out a copy of the Academy's Registration Form.
For More Information
Call: 330.376.4915 OR FAX: 330.376.4912
Send e-Mail to
Visit the Academy's Annual Report Web Site
We Are An Equal Education and Employment Opportunity Program!
Updated on November 24, 2000
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