The Ida B. Wells Community Academy
1180 Slosson Street
Akron, Ohio 44320-2370
COUNTY: Summit IRN: 133553
Annual Report for 2003-2004
October 20, 2004
Mrs. Angela M. Neeley, MBA
Chief Administrative and Fiscal Officer
Dr. Edward W. Crosby, PhD
Founder and Program Management Advisor
THE IDA B. WELLS COMMUNITY ACADEMY (HEREINAFTER “THE ACADEMY”) WAS CHARTERED BY THE Ohio Department of Education on May 4, 1999, and opened on August 30, 1999 as an independent, nonsectarian and public Community School in Akron, Ohio. It was incorporated as the Ida B. Wells Community Academy, Inc., a nonprofit corporation, on December 29, 1998, and was granted 501(c)(3) tax exempt status on May 19, 2000. On August 5, 2002, the Academy’s Learning Center and administrative offices moved to Mt. Olive Baptist Church, 1180 Slosson Street. In this facility the Academy enjoyed adequate space to house its complete academic program – classrooms for grades K to 6, a cafeteria and mutli-purpose room, staff and administrative offices.
In fiscal 2002-2003, the Board decided to make Ms. Anderson the Academy’s permanent CAO and Fiscal Officer in which positions she has served superbly. Dr. Crosby’s resignation as the Academy’s Superintendent necessitated this administrative change and caused the elevation of Mrs. Kelly Pack Crosby to Business Manager. In 2003-2004, Ms. Anderson, in concert with her faculty and staff and Board members, successfully met the challenge of ODE’s mandated fifth-year review. The Academy was accordingly approved for a continuing community school contract. Later, the Academy’s founder, Dr. Crosby in collaboration with Ms. Anderson led the transition from the sponsorship of ODE’s Office of Community Schools to that of the Lucas County Educational Service Center (LCESC). This transition was finalized on December 17, 2004 when Dr. Susan Tave Zelman signed the document assigning the Ida B. Wells Community Academy to the sponsorship of LCESC.
The transition to LCESC has allowed the Academy to reassess its entire administrative and program structure. The academic and programmatic results of this assessment will not be seen until the 2004-2005 academic year. It is the belief of the Board and the administration that changes in academic rigor, the installation of additional Governors, the activation of a middle school for grades 5, 6, 7 and 8, the addition of certified instructors and course work in Music, Art and Physical Education will uplift the education our students receive and also provide the stimu-lation for the faculty to experience more teaching success with an energized student population.
Current Operational Developments
In 1999 the Academy’s mission as stated in its founding document and maintained throughout the years is to edu-cate young people in a year-round – 210-day academic year educational program. The Academy educates chil-dren in grades K to 6 using a comprehensive competency-based holistic curriculum that is personalized, problem- posing and problem-solving, centered in the humanities, natural sciences, language arts, social studies (citizen-ship), the musical and visual arts and African American culture studies. This mission was buttressed where possi-ble with electronic technology and emphasized the establishment of a Learning Community designed to shift the traditional educational paradigm and thereby enhance its students’ academic gains by reuniting the traditional subject areas and learning activities so that students are better able to understand the relationship of one subject area to another and education to their present and future lives.
As a regular consequence, the Academy’s 210-day academic year ends in mid-July, say, between July 16 and July 22.
In its new contract with the Lucas County Educational Service Center, the Academy expanded the grade levels it would teach from K - 6 to K - 8, thus turning the Academy for the 2004-2005 academic year into a combined ele-mentary and middle school. This expansion, however, necessitated the securing of a Middle School facility that would be close to the Elementary School. To effect this change, the Board assigned Dr. Crosby to investigate ways and means for acquiring another or, if possible, a larger facility. He and Ms. Anderson were able to secure a facility to house its middle school grades 5 through 8 – The Board approved Mt. Calvary Baptist Church located at 442 Bell Street, approximately 5 minutes away – and thereby release more appropriate classroom space in the Mt. Olive facility for the fourth grade and for staff offices. In addition, this move helped us to expand on and solidify the incorporation of Mt. Calvary’s academic state certified support services – academic tutoring, behavioral and social counseling, and after-school programming – into the Academy’s program structure on a quasi-permanent basis.
Since its inception, the Academy has sought to provide an education that is nurturing, intellectually stimulating and that imbues in its students intellectual curiosity, a mutual respect for their classmates, and an eagerness to learn, academic competence and the resolve to attain knowledge of their history, culture, traditions and values. The Academy continues its drive to accomplish these aims and to establish a Learning Community and environment that is supported by a curriculum reliant in part on the learners' life experiences at home, in their neighborhood, in their city, and in the society at large. The Academy’s programming structure has undergone some alterations that have been designed to produce measurable performance outcomes in reading, writing, mathematics, social studies and the natural sciences.
To meet the Academy’s learning objectives, we introduced during 2003-2004 a curricular program with commensurate activities that were (1) based on individual student interests, needs and abilities and (2) would allow stu-dents to grow intellectually and at their own pace. This program adjustment allowed faculty to sharpen their methods for attaining higher achievement expectations for themselves and their students. Students were assess-ed at the beginning of the school year to determine where they are academically, particularly in reading and math scores. The students were post-tested using the same or similar instruments later in the year to assess their pro-gress over time.
“Meeting students where they are socially, culturally, physically and academically and then moving them to higher and to more advanced academic levels” is one of the essential curricular and procedural elements imbedded in the Academy’s educational program. Of especial importance in this context is the programmatic notion that all children can learn. It is incumbent on the Academy to devise the means and to design the appropriate strategies to “lead that learning out,” i.e., “make it happen.”
The Academy's adjusted educational philosophy and curricular structure effectively augmented its program structure and instructional design. As oftentimes stressed, this structure must incorporate the following elements:
• A required 6-week extended academic year requiring students and faculty to be at the Learning Center for 210 days rather than the 180-day standard;
• Small classes (a 15 to 1 average student-teacher ratio) that are taught holistically and are culturally inte-grative; these classes must be designed to increase at all grade levels the amount students learn;
• A team-teaching emphasis, where appropriate, using parents, interns, student teachers, retired teachers, and professionals as part-time or auxiliary teachers;
• Individualized instruction, learning through doing (an active vs. passive instructional design);
• Meeting students where they are culturally, socially and academically and then moving them to more advanced educational levels and academic endeavors;
• Self learning projects that are student or teacher initiated and conducted first in-school and later, based on student maturity, assigned as out-of-school projects;
• A “unidisciplinary,” i.e., holistic curricular model that allows students to experience how one set of basic skills directly relate to other basic skills, i.e., reading to mathematics, geography to social sciences, mathematics to science, culture to history, and how all these relate to being educated from a more culturally relevant point of view (see http://www.pathsoflearning.com/themes.cfm). When this Web page opens, under the “For what purpose are you seeking ideas or information,” choose the theme: Teaching for Holistic Class- rooms. Here is found 54 articles on holism. It is an excellent resource for searching out information on other innovative issues and practices in education as well. Furthermore, http://www.pathsoflearning.com/library/holistic-educ-intro.cfm is another site where annotated information on curricular holism can be found.
Even though we are convinced our curricular process is correct, the process must be consistently, rigorously and regularly emphasized and evaluated. Given that many or all of our administrators and faculty have not in their previous training heard much about curricular holism, the Academy’s Governors must keep the concept alive in their minds, in their lesson and unit plans, and in their Individual Professional Development Plans.
The Academy’s faculty have been provided ODE’s Academic Content Standards, 4 Vols.: English Language Arts, Science, Mathematics, and Social Studies (2002). These curricular standards are met by the faculty’s choice, in grades K to 6, of textbooks such as Literacy Place (Scholastics Literacy Place, 2000), Mathematics (Houghton Mifflin, 2002), Horizons People and Communities (Harcourt Brace, 2003), and Science (Scots-Foresman Science Program - McGraw-Hill, 2000). Instructors also use a number of other commercial curricular materials, and the faculty’s innovative injections of their own teaching strategies.
The Ida B. Wells Community Academy's curricular focus follows not only ODE’s standard competency-based school curriculum but also strives to infuse into its curriculum an emphasis on Africa, African America, the Carib-bean, Native America, and Latin America. These elements, we believe, are vital to the correct and diversified education the Academy offers its enrollees even though we have not been able to do this as well as we would like. The curriculum is also designed to promote two cognitive styles, one analytical, the other relational. Each style requires intensive professional development for the Academy’s teachers, parents, and students so that they work as a well-orchestrated instructional team. We are still working on perfecting a student development process that satisfies us. Our teachers have been successful in producing students who share with them the responsibility for striving toward building a productive learning environment.
Administrative and Support Staff
Mrs. Angela M. Neeley (née Anderson), MBA, is a graduate of Kent State University. She was among the Academy's original developers and is currently the Academy's Chief Administrative Officer & Board Treasurer. She began her employment at the Academy as its licensed Business Manager. Ms. Anderson now holds a School Treasurer / Fiscal Officer’s license. She supervises, therefore, the Academy's total fiscal and academic financial operation. She is also an able manager of the Academy’s No Child Left Behind (ESEA) Title I and other education related grants from the state.
Mrs. Kelly Pack Crosby has a BA in Business Administration (Human Resources) and is responsible for the majority of the Academy's human resources tasks: payroll, personnel records, health, life and disability insurance, and property and indemnity insurance policies. She also manages the input of budget activity detail into NeoNet's computers and the State's financial computer system, and maintains the Academy’s equipment inventory. She is also responsible for maintaining the financial data reported periodically as a standard part of EMIS.
Mrs. Synia L. Rodgers, Executive Secretary, Registrar, and EMIS and Student Records Coordinator. Mrs. Rodgers also serves as Secretary to the Board of Governors. She has had considerable work experience in corporate and social service agencies. Mrs. Rodgers is the Academy’s Registrar, in which capacity she performs as the person who is the “first responder” to parents’ questions concerning student registration, attendance and discipline regulations. Of great importance in this role is Mrs. Rodgers maintenance of accurate and up-to-date health records for all students.
Ms. Ella Mae Johnson has an MA degree from Case-Western Reserve University’s Mandel Center for Non-Profit Organizations. Ms. Johnson is an important addition to the Academy’s staff in the area of grant writing. Since coming to the Academy, she has managed to write and have funded several grants from area corporations which support our science and math programs and physical education. Ms. Johnson also serves as an assistant teacher at times when faculty members are absent or are called away from their classrooms.
Ms. Doni M. Burrus started as a parent volunteer committed to the education of young people. Later, she became an Assistant Teacher. She now serves as the Academy's full time Community Relations Facilitator. In this capacity, she also works to recruit students, parents and volunteers to help promote and advance the Academy's learning objectives. Mrs. Burrus also serves as the Academy’s Student Attendance and Discipline Officer, in which capacity she has to make regular visits to students homes to explain to parents how their children’s absences and conduct have negative impacts on their learning potential. She also has the responsibility of informing parents of why the Academy has a 210-day academic year and is designed to enhance the quality of the education their children receive.
Dr. Edward W. Crosby, PhD, received his BA and MA from Kent State University and his PhD from the University of Kansas in Lawrence. In 1993 he retired from Kent State University after having served for 25 years as the foun-der and Chairman of the Department of Pan-African Studies. In 1998, Dr. Crosby co-founded the Academy. From 1998 to 2003, he served as the Board's Chair and as the Academy's Superintendent. He is currently the Academy's Program Management Consultant and advisor to the Chief Administrative Officer.
Faculty and Assistant Teachers
Michele C. Rumsfield, Principal (resigned at the start of academic year, CAO assumed her duties)
Mrs. Nikita M. Tidwell, a certified Kindergarten Teacher, is an Ohio State certified teacher and is currently teaches Academy's Kindergarten. Mrs. Tidwell has a BS in Early Childhood Education from the University of Akron. She started her teaching career in January 2003 after having taught previously in the Akron area. Since joining the Academy in 2003, she has received from ODE certification as a “Highly Qualified Teacher” through the State’s Entry Year Program.
Ms. Melanie R. Fuller, a certified 1st Grade Teacher, is a graduate of Kent State University and has a teaching certificate in elementary education (K-3). At the Academy she will teach the First Grade. She is a first-year teacher; however, her teaching credentials and commitment to teaching are impeccable. Her motto is: "Kids Are My Business!" Since joining the Academy in 2003, Ms. Fuller has received from ODE certification as a “Highly Qualified Teacher” through the State’s Entry Year Program.
Mrs. Christine M. Madrigal, a certified 2nd Grade Teacher, has a BS in Early Childhood Education from Kent State University and is certified by the State of Ohio to teach the Academy's Second Grade students. Mrs. Madrigal starte her full-time teaching career at the Academy. Since joining the Academy in 2003, she has received from ODE certification as a “Highly Qualified Teacher” through the State’s Entry Year Program.
Mrs. Andrea K. Hirst is the Academy's certified 3rd Grade Teacher. She has a BS in Elementary Education from Kent State University and has a K-8 teaching certificate from the State of Ohio. Prior to joining the Academy, she taught in the Ravenna, Streetsboro and Mantua, Ohio, schools. Mrs. Hirst helps to keep the Academy's educational program structure well organized.
Mrs. Cynthia D. Colbert, a certified 4th Grade Teacher, has a BS in Elementary Education from Kent State Uni-versity. Mrs. Colbert has taught for 14 years in the public schools of West Virginia. She is now teaching Fifth Graders at the Academy. Mrs. Colbert will also be responsible for assisting with the implementation and design of the Academy's infused African American curriculum.
Mrs. Angela R. Berry, MBA, is a certified teacher who taught the Academy’s 5th Grade. She is a graduate of Rutgers Graduate School of Management and earned a BA in Accounting at William Patterson University. Mrs. Berry was certified to teach in Ohio and New Jersey which certification permitted her to teach in the elementary and middle schools of Ohio and New Jersey.
Mr. Robert M. Singleton, MEd, is an experienced teacher, is State certified and taught the Academy's 6th Grade. Mr. Singleton has taught in the public schools of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his MEd from Cheney State University in Pennsylvania and is certified in Special Education. Mr. Singleton has also earned several hours toward a PhD. He also helps with emphasizing self esteem and value development among the Academy's students.
Mrs. Mary K. Petric, the Academy’s Senior Title I Reading & Math, is a certified teacher with a BS in Elementary Education from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. She has taught in the Academy's Title I - Reading and Math Program for two years. She also helps with the delivery of special education linguistic services offered to students. Mrs. Petric will supervise the Academy's overall student assessment process. She has also taught in the Kent, Hudson and Akron public and private schools. Mrs. Petric also serves on the Academy's Accountability and Student Performance Data Collection Committee. She is stationed at the Academy's Elementary School Campus.
Mrs. Stephanie B. Wood, a Title I Reading & Math Instructor, is currently teaching in the Academy's Title I - Reading and Math Program. She is certified to teach K-8 by the State of Ohio. Ms. Wood has a BS in Early Childhood Education from Kent State University. She is starting her 2nd very successful year of teaching at the Academy.
Mrs. Peggy R. Romesberg is the Academy's certified Special Education Specialist. She is a graduate of the University of Akron and is certified in Specific Learning Disabilities. Mrs. Romesberg had professional experiences in com-munity schools in Akron, Lorain, Parma and Mansfield, Ohio. She current works with Special Education students at the Academy's Elementary School Campus and will also manage the delivery of quality Special Education Ser-vices at the Middle School Campus.
Ms. Brooke Young is a Paraprofessional Special Education Assistant Teacher whose work with students in and outside the class-room is closely monitored by Mrs. Romesberg. Ms. Young has registered at the University of Akron to pursue a bachelors degree in pyschology.
Ms. Amanda Carey, a graduate of Kent State University, is a certified Visual Arts teacher. She has taught in pre-schools and elementary schools in Canton and Akron.
Mrs. Deanna Lyn Keihle is a non-certified graduate of the University of Puget Sound. She has taught music in several Ohio traditional and public charter schools in Newberg Heights, Akron and Cuyahoga Falls as an employee of Musical Magic Studio in Norton, Ohio.
Mrs. Berrenda Love-Lewis has been a part of the Academy's teacher corps for four years. She began her career at the Academy teaching Third Grade students. She now serves as an Assistant Teacher. Previously, Mrs. Lewis substituted for a number of years in Akron's public schools after having worked at the University of Michigan.
Administrators, Faculty and Staff Demographics
*These are Assistant Teachers.
**This is the classification given to Assistant Teachers who are involved in some classroom teaching but are not certified and / or have little or no college training.
The Academy was founded to serve low- and medium income African American, White, Native American, and Latino American students. Of the latter two groups, only members of the Latino community responded to our aggressive recruitment fliers, postcards, or advertisements. The Academy enrolled only 2 Latino and 1 Caucasian students. In short, the Academy was open to all school-aged youth residing within the Akron public school district and its surrounding metropolitan areas. The Academy, moreover, addressed its educational services to the needs of all underachieving and under-represented youths. The Academy has enrolled the following numbers of students during the past year:
• Ethnicity: 99 percent African American; 1 Caucasian; 2 Latinos
• Low / Middle Income: 100 percent
• Economically Disadvantaged: 44.2 percent
• Free and Reduced Meals Eligible: 98 percent
• Title I Reading and Math Eligible: 37
• Special Education Eligible: 13
• Withdrawals: 38
• Out-of-School Suspensions: 25 In-School Suspensions: 66
• Expulsions: None
• Cited for Chronic Absences: 4 (repetitive letters sent to parents and juvenile authorities)
Board of Governors
The Academy has, from the outset, installed and / or hired highly qualified Board members and administrators and has sought and retained a 100 percent certified teaching corps. The current Board members have MAs, BAs, BSs, MEds, CPAs, and PhDs. Three have considerable years of teaching experience ranging from 25 to 47 years.our teaching faculty also reflect a variety of degree levels ranging from BSs in Education to Master's degrees. The Governors' resumes are found at http://hierographics.orq/Academvlndex.shtml.
• Dr. Marlene R. Dorsey, MEd, PhD, Chair of the Board, Chair of the Curriculum and Accountability Committee, Member of the Finance and Planning Committee, Member of the Personnel and Benefits Committee, and Dean, College of Continuing Studies, Kent State University (Board member since May 4, 1999).
Dr. Dorsey is in charge of the general supervision, direction and control of the operation of all aspects of the Academy. Dr. Dorsey has from the Academy's inception chaired the Board's Curriculum and Accountability Committee where she and her com mittee are charged with overseeing the curriculum in all of its aspects. She also chairs the Finance and Planning Committee and is a member of the Personnel and Benefits Committee. These responsibilities call for her regular communication with the Board's Treasurer, the Chair of the PBC, and the Principal. Dr. Dorsey has had 25 or more years of teaching and administrative experience on both the public school and university levels.
• Mrs. Geraldine Hayes Chavez, MEd, Vice Chair, Assistant Dean, Undergraduate Studies and Director, Upward Bound, Kent State University (Board member since December 19, 2000)
Mrs. Hayes Chavez helps in conjunction with the Chair to oversee the overall operation of the Academy. She presides at all meetings of the Board of Governors when the Chair is not present. Mrs. Chavez also serves as an administrative and planning advisor to the Board of Governors. Before joining the Board she was instrumental in the Academy's acquisition of programming space in a Salvation Army Post. As a former public school educator she is relied on to study the Academy's academic program structure and curricular strategies and make critical suggestions for improvement.
• Dr. Edward W. Crosby, PhD, Founder, Chair of the Personnel and Benefits Committee, member of the Finance and Planning Committee, Member of the Curriculum Committee, and Program Management Consultant. He is the Founder; Professor Emeritus, Department of Modern and Classical Languages - German; and Chair Emeritus, the Department of Pan-African Studies, Kent State University. (Board member since May 4, 1999)
Dr. Crosby is a Co-Founder of the Academy and has served without remuneration as its Superintendent from its inception until 2002 when he resigned the position for health reasons. Dr. Crosby, as a member of the Board of Governors, chairs the Personnel and Benefits Committee which is in charge of all matters pertaining to personnel and recommends to the Board the hiring and termination of staff once he receives requests for such action from the Chief Administrative Officer. When Dr. Crosby resigned as the Academy's Superintendent and Chair of the Board of Governors in 2002, it was decided by the Board that he should maintain an advisory relationship with the Chief Administrative Officer who was appointed by the Board to assume Dr. Crosby's superintendence responsibilities. In this modestly remunerated advisory role he holds the title of Pro-gram Management Advisor and among other things has regular weekly program continuity meetings with the CAO and the newly appointed managers of both campuses (2004-2005) to discuss program initiatives, curriculum, faculty, student recruit-ment issues, space and / or facility needs, student discipline, program obstructions, etc. Each officer comes with his / her list of talking points. Dr. Crosby has amassed since 1957 47 years of administrative and teaching experience albeit on the univer-sity and college level.
• Mr. Rick L. Owens, Community Relations and Publications Committee, Discipline and Grievance Committee, and President, Board of Deacons, Mt. Olive Baptist Church, Akron (Board member since April 2003)
Mr. Owens is a recently installed member of the Board of Governors. His primary function on the Board to date is the estab-lishment and maintenance of viable community relations projects in collaboration with Mrs. Cooper. Mr. Owens will also serve on the Discipline and Grievance Committee.
• Dr. Janice D. Taylor Heard, PhD, Director, Outreach and Retention, The University of Akron (Board member since May 2003)
Dr. Heard joined the Board of Governors in May 2003. She has not yet selected a committee assignment. In all likelihood she will function on the Academy's Curriculum and Accountability Committee and the Discipline and Grievance Committee. During the short period of time Dr. Heard has been on the Board, she has demonstrated her value in the area of research and data analysis.
• Mrs. Angela M. Neeley, MBA, Mrs. Neeley was a member of the Academy’s original program planning committee organized in 1997 to establish the Ida B. Wells Community Academy. She was installed as Ex Officio member of the Board of Governors in FY 2003-2004
Mrs. Neeley is responsible for reporting on a monthly basis the overall academic and financial condition of the Academy to Board members. As a member of the Board's Financial Affairs and Planning Committee, she is also responsible for reporting to the Board the progress made on planning objectives set at the monthly Financial Affairs and Planning Committee meet-ings. As the Board's Treasurer and the Academy's Chief Administrative and Fiscal Officer, Ms. Anderson also oversees the planning initiatives and the educational and financial operations of the Academy. Prior to Dr. Crosby's resignation as Super-intendent, Ms. Anderson functioned as the Academy's State Licensed Business Manager. She was licensed by the State of Ohio in March 2003 as a School Treasurer / Fiscal Officer. However, with the admission of Mr. Thompson, a Certified Public Accountant, to the Board of Governors, Mrs. Neeley was relieved of the Board Treasurer functions so as to allow her to devote more of her attention to purely academic and related financial affairs.
• Mr. Glenn A. Thompson, MA, CPA, Board Treasurer
Mr. Thompson is a graduate of Northwestern University (MBA) and Cleveland State University. He is a Certified Public Accountant and has accepted the role of Board Treasurer for as long as responsibilities managing his business venture.
• Mrs. Phoebie P. Carter, MEd, Community Representative (Newly Appointed)
Mrs. Carter is a long-time resident of Akron and public school teacher in Ravenna, Ohio and Akron. She has also been a staff member in Kent State University’s Upward Bound Program. Mrs. Carter has accepted being assigned as one of the coordi-nators of the Academy’s Advisory Board.
• Mrs. Mariesa L. Boyer, Parent Representative (Newly Appointed)
Mrs. Boyer is the mother of two Academy students. She was nominated for Board membership because of her active partici-pation on the Academy’s Advisory Board, on which she will serve as a coordinator. She has been an active resident in the Akron community’s educational issues.
• Mrs. Nikita M. Tidwell, Faculty and Staff Representative (Newly Appointed)
Mrs. Tidwell was elected by the Academy’s faculty and staff to represent them on the Board, which act also served to realize a membership objective the Academy has sought to accomplish since its inception. Mrs. Tidwell is a certified Kindergarten teacher and has also been certified as a highly qualified teacher by the State of Ohio’s Entry Year Program. She will retain her seat on the Board for a year; however, the faculty may choose, should she agree, to elect her for sm additional year.
• Mrs. Synia Rodgers, Secretary to the Board
Mrs. Rodgers takes the minutes of all meetings of the Board of Governors and maintains the official Record binder of Board documents, including resolutions, committee reports and other related attachments. She also prepares the daily business correspondence, maintains the student records and other files, drafts in collaboration with the Principal the Academy's aca-demic year calendar and most importantly maintains the EMIS system.
End of Part I
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Ida B. Wells Community
1180 Slosson Street
Akron, Ohio 44320-2730
Phone: 330.867.1085 FAX: 330.867.1074
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