Ida B. Wells-Barnett

The Ida B. Wells Community Academy
Hosted by the Antioch Baptist Church of Akron
670 Wooster Avenue
Akron, Ohio   44307-1868

COUNTY:  Summit                     IRN:  133553

 Part III: Annual Report for 2000–2001

     Faculty Satisfaction

During its first academic year, the Academy experienced few losses of essential teaching and support staff. Facul-ty satisfaction at the time was perhaps best determined by the Academy’s ability to retain 66 percent of those three (3) certificated teaching faculty hired. The roster presented below for 2000-2001 is a full itemization of those nineteen (19) teaching faculty, administrators and support staff hired. It shows that we lost six (6) teaching faculty and three (3) support staff. The notes attached to this roster presents specific information relative to the reasons faculty and staff left our employ. In all but one instance, those persons leaving the Academy’s employ were antici-pated, indeed at times elicited. Of these six, it also shows that two faculty were lost at the start of the academic year. Five (5), all certified classroom teachers, were terminated for misfeasance in their classroom management. One of them was terminated for being absent from class for too many days – employed for 45 days; during this period of time, she was absent for 18 days and offered no legitimate medical excuses from an MD. The others included two assistant teachers who were unable to report regularly and on time. A highly motivated and creative faculty member left the Academy for personal reasons: she moved to Houston, Texas, where she took a position with an alternative school. Two others found higher paying positions with Cleveland’s Metropolitan School System. 

The truth, then, is that the Academy’s administration were so dissatisfied with some of these employees that they were pushed to seek employment elsewhere. The unfortunate consequence with these terminations is that we had previously prided ourselves on our ability to retain a majority of our faculty and staff from year to year. We have paid higher salaries on average than several other community schools in Akron (or the entire state [13] for that matter). Our salary structure was competitive and also fiscally prudent. It did, however, fail to consider the length of our academic year. No member of the faculty complained about her or his remuneration or the length of the year.

We have honored faculty materials and equipment needs as much as possible given available finances. We have not, however, feared hiring those we think will provide our students with a quality education. At the end of the 2000-2001 academic year, we determined to revamp our hiring practices, having more critical interviews and making our performance expectations more strict. Moreover, we also pledged not to shy away from terminating those faculty and staff we found unable or unwilling to assure our students, their parents and, of course, our-selves that they were committed to quality education. It should be noted that the Academy’s superintendent, principal and business manager have worked continually full-time before and after the Academy was chartered on May 4, 1999. The superintendent does not receive any remuneration save reimbursement for some of his author-ized expenses. From the outset, he has also chaired the Academy’s Board of Governors. His administrative staff have also committed themselves to pursuing the development of the Ida B. Wells Community Academy. 

1. Dr. Edward W. Crosby
May 4, 1999
2. Perkins B. Pringle [1] 
August 4, 1999
August 5, 1999
June 30, 2003
3. Angela M. Anderson
Business Manager /
Board Treasurer
June 1, 1999
4. Pauline C. Clark [2]
Secretary, EMIS Coord. 
& Records Keeper
October 6, 1999
September 18, 2001
5. John R. Saxe
Kindergarten Teacher
August 6, 2000
August 15, 2001
September 3, 1999
June 30, 2003
6. Jodi Grawunder [3] 
First Grade Teacher
August 14, 2000
December 4, 2000
May 9, 1997
June 30, 2001
7. Amy C. Martin [3] 
First Grade Teacher
August 14, 2000
December 4, 2000
June 8, 1999
June 30, 2003
8. Beverly C. Hoopes
Second Grade Teacher 
August 1, 1999
August 15, 2001
August 30, 1999
June 30, 2003
9. Doris Doughty [4]
Third Grade Teacher 
April 18, 2000 
December 1, 2000
January 27, 1998
June 30, 2001
10. Patricia Crawford [5]
Long Term Substitute
January 2, 2001
March 9, 2001
February 27, 1998
June 30, 2001
11. Tricia M. Law
Title I Teacher
August 21, 2000
June 30, 2001
January 4,1998
June 30, 2001
12. Felicia Cosper [6]
Spec. Ed. Teacher
August 14, 2000
June 29, 2001
October 28. 1999
June 30, 2003
13. Berrenda Love-Lewis
Third Grade Teacher
March 19, 2001
June 28, 2001
 6/30/01; renewal IP
14. Andrea Simpson [7] 
First Grade (Substitute)
December 5, 2000
December 5, 2000
15. Judith L. Denson 
Long Term Substitute
December 12, 2001
September 21, 2001
October 25, 2000
June 30, 2005
16. Erlene Haslam
Assistant Teacher
August 1, 1999
17. Quentin Harris [8] 
Assistant Teacher 
December 14, 2001
May 1, 2001 
March 21, 2001
June 30, 2002
18. Ti A. Badejo [8]
Intern, Asst. Teacher
February 6, 2001
September 30, 2001
19. Kelly L. Pack 
Asst. to Bus. Manager
March 15, 2001
1. Mr. Pringle was hired in 1999 as a certified teacher; he became the Academy’s principal on August 24, 1999.
2. Mrs. Clark resigned from her position shortly after the start of the 2001-2002 academic year; she had personality clashes with faculty and staff.
3. Mss. Grawunder and Martin were unable to manage their team-taught first grade class to the satisfaction of the principal and the administration. At the start 
    of the year in August, their class had 30 students, by December it had dwindled to 19. They resigned abruptly just before the Christmas break.
4. Mrs. Doughty was grieved by a third grade student’s parents; subsequent to this filed grievance, she was evaluated and found to be deficient in several 
    aspects of the Academy’s curriculum.
5. Ms. Crawford  was employed for 45 days; during this period of time she was absent from class 18 days; offered few legitimate medical excuses from an MD. 
6. Ms. Cosper was the Academy’s Special Educ. teacher; she proved to be ineffective and was let go.
7. Ms. Simpson was a troublesome candidate selected to teach the first grade previously team-taught by Mss. Grawunder and Martin. She objected to the salary
    she was offered and filed a gender and race discrimination charge with the OCRC. Her charge was found to be without foundation.
8. Messrs. Harris and Badejo were either ineffective and/or unable to be regularly on time or at work

Programmatic Obstructions and Other Disabilities

     Refusal to Transport Our Students

Approximately two weeks before the opening of the Academy for classes on August 30, 1999, we were informed that the Akron Board of Education had passed a resolution stating it was unnecessary or “unreasonable and impractical” for it to transport the Academy’s students. Needless to say, we were devastated by the Board of Education’s outright refusal to transport our children claiming, illegally that they would offer payment in lieu of transpor-tation to parents. A Hearing Officer, Robert B. St. Clair, Esq., was selected and “consolidated proceedings were initiated [on December 17, 1999]  by two separate resolutions of the State Board of  Education . . . wherein it referred these two cases    . . . for review and a determination as to whether Akron Public Schools' request to be permitted to make payment in lieu of transportation to the parents of th[o]se students attending the Edge Academy and Ida B. Wells, both community schools. The Akron Board claimed it was unnecessary or unreasonable (and impractical) under the provisions of Section 3314.09 of the Revised Code.” 

The hearing officer found in our favor on March 8, 2000: “. . . it is recommended that the State Board of Education decline to confirm Akron City School District Board of Education's request to offer payment in lieu of transportation to the parents of students attending the Edge Academy and Ida B. Wells Community Academy [italics ours].” . . . “Additionally, the Akron City School District Board of Education should be required to repay the Edge Academy of Akron and the Ida B. Wells Community Academy's direct expenses for having to provide transportation for their students for the 1999-2000 school year.” [14] The State Board of Education adopted the recommendation of May 8.  Once this recommendation was received by the Akron Board of Education, the Board decided on May 10, 2000, to appeal the recommendation. 

On June 7, 2001, Franklin County, Common Pleas Court Judge Alan C. Travis affirmed the State Board of Educa-tion’s order that the Akron Board of Education must transport the students of Edge Academy and Ida B. Wells Community Academy. Sometime after learning they had lost their appeal, the Akron Board decided to appeal once again. That appeal has not yet been decided. 

This unnecessary and mean spirited obstacle continued to retard a number of our curricular, staffing and the attendant educational plans we wanted to make for the 2000-2001 academic year. We were not only $60,000 short of available capital and, therefore, had to adjust our plans to aggressively recruit new faculty and teaching assis-tants, but also our public relations and student recruitment initiatives suffered. We also had to set aside funds – $6,000+ – to conduct field trips and transport at our expense students during the Academy’s six-week extended academic year. In 2001-2002 the Akron Public Schools did resolve to transport our students; however, they continued to obstruct our ability to conduct our six-week extended academic program.

     Civil Charges and Suits

         Ohio Civil Rights Commission (OCRC)

The Academy never imagined that it would have to face an alleged race and gender discrimination charge from an African American. As it turned out, however, an individual, Ms. Andrea J. Simpson, hired to substitute for a certified first grade teacher, made the charge. Five days after she began to substitute, she was selected to fill a vacant full-time teaching position. When she was handed her official appointment letter, she refused to accept the salary offered, immediately terminated the employment discussion and quit her substitute position. A month or so later, we learned she had filed a discrimination charge with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission alleging race and gender discrimination.

In answering this malicious and fallacious charge, the Academy was represented by Mr. Edward L. Gilbert, Esq. The Academy presented on April 23, 2001, three affidavits from the superintendent, principal and business mana-ger and OCRC Form 53. With these documents, we testified that, at the time Ms. Simpson filed her charge, the Academy had hired 4 African American managers, 2 of whom were female. We had hired 8 teachers; 5 of whom were African American. Of the teachers employed, 6 were female. We employed 2 part-time African American service workers; 1 was female. Over all we employed 14 persons; 11 were African American and 9 were female. This testimony along with the affidavits of the principal, business manager and superintendent demonstrated the unfounded nature of the race and gender charge. 

After investigating the charge, the OCRC ruled on August 9, 2001, that it has “. . . determined that it is NOT PROBABLE that respondent [the Academy] has engaged in practices unlawful under Section 4112, Ohio Revised Code, and hereby orders the case dismissed.”

         Ohio Congress of Parents and Teachers, et al. v. State Board of Education, Superintendent Susan
         Tave Zelman and the Lucas County Educational Service Center (LCESC) et al.

On July 17, 2001, we received from Attorney D.J. Mooney, Jr., of Ulmer & Berne LLP, Attorneys at Law, Cincinnati, a subpoena requesting under Ohio’s Public Information Act (ORC § 149.43, et seq.) a large number of the Academy’s records in 28 categories. In fact the request was going after practically every record ever generated by the Academy since August 1999. After some protest from a team of attorneys organized to represent all community schools in Ohio, Ulmer & Berne decided to amend their request to the following nine categories: 

  • Request 1: All documents constituting, referring or relating to policies, procedures, manuals or guidelines, whether originals, drafts or revisions, utilized or prepared for any year of operation (sub-items a-n);
  • Request 6: All documents referring, relating to or constituting any contract with a sponsor to become a community school, and any revisions or amendments to such contracts;
  • Request 8: All documents constituting or referring to correspondence or memoranda from or to the State of Ohio, including, but not limited to, agencies such as the Ohio Department of Education, the Ohio Superintendent of Public Instruction, the State Board of Education, the Lucas County Educational Service Center, the University of Toledo, the State Employment Relations Board, the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, the Ohio Department of Commerce, the State Fire Marshal, and any Ohio court;
  • Request 11: All documents referring or relating to the experience training and qualifications of teachers you have employed (sub-items a-e);
  • Requests 12 and 13: All documents identifying or listing teachers compensated in whole or in part with Title I funds;
  • Request 17: All documents constituting or referring to annual or monthly financial statements or budgets;
  • Request 20: All documents constituting, referring or relating to correspondence to or from any agency or office of the United States government, including the U.S. Department of Education;
  • Request 23: All documents constituting, referring or relating to reports of attendance or enrollment provided to any agency of the State of Ohio;
  • Request 27: All documents constituting records of payment, including canceled checks, invoices, bank statements to any of your officers or Board members, any management company, any employee, owner, officer or any management company, any employee of the State of Ohio or LCESC (sub-items a-d).
This reduction was welcomed; however, several of the categories contained a large number of sub-items. It is clear from the scope of documents requested that Ulmer & Berne, as they work with those organization usually found to be the opponents of charter schools in America and particularly in Ohio, [15] are on a fishing expedition. Therefore, the above mentioned team of lawyers, are continuing their attempt to have this exorbitant request for documents from the Academy and other community schools discontinued, tossed out of court, as it were. According to our last communication from our legal defense team, we are advised not to respond to the subpoena until further notice.

     A Serious Fiscal Shortfall brought on by ODE

Another problem we experienced centered on the manner in which the ODE corrected its financial blunders just before the close of the 2001 fiscal year. Over the course of the year, the ODE apparently was allocating the Academy on a monthly basis too much for several months. We learned this was caused by a computer glitch that we were oblivious to and we were not alerted to it by ODE. Therefore, in June ODE corrected its error and we received only $5,000 for our June allocation. The business manager complained to no avail. This meant we would not be able to meet our payroll. The chair of the Board of Governors made a cognovit loan to the Academy for $3,000+. Additional funds needed to be withdrawn from our credit line with an area financial institution; these funds allowed us to repay the cognovit loan and be financially solvent for the remainder of the fiscal. However, the Academy was still in financial jeopardy and would not be able to close the fiscal year with a balanced budget and we had a state audit slated for June or shortly thereafter. This was solved by another cognovit loan of $25,000 from the chair’s personal funds. To make matters worse, we also experienced (for at least two months previous to this) our monthly allocation not being deposited in our bank according to the timing we had been accustomed to. The reason given was “unfortunate administrative oversight.”

The Academy’s Assessment of Its Success

The Academy has continued to move progressively toward academic and programmatic success. It started the 2000-2001 academic year with 77 students and ended the first 180 day learning period with 38 students attending during the extended 30-day period. A retention rate of 40%. This loss of students was attributed to a mischarac-terized or misunderstood extended academic year. We experienced among some parents a reluctance to support their child’s attending the Academy year round. We remembered that, during the previous summer, we had not adequately instructed our students, their parents and our faculty about the year round concept. Therefore, we did not waste any time developing a strategy for maintaining student attendance for the six weeks after the Akron Public Schools had ended for the summer. Some working parents had no conflict with the Academy’s extended schedule. Other parents claimed their children were already enrolled in other activities. Our faculty reacted and contacted individual parents based on their class rosters to ascertain not only whether their students would be in attendance during the six-week extended academic program, but also whether the parents would send their children in the fall. Whatever our problems with informing parents and retaining students, our faculty were very successful in maintaining stu-dents in that we began the 2001-2002 academic year with 93 retained and new students. We have since deter-mined to keep our students and their parents fully informed about the Academy’s full 210 day academic year and the educational reasons behind it . . .

  • Our society is fast becoming more and more technical, complex and global in nature. The standard school year is antiquated; it was based on an agrarian society à la 1890. Young people are no longer needed to harvest crops, nor are they needed to work as laborers in the nation’s industries, particularly in Northeastern Ohio. In the 21st century, youth should be prepared for the service professions resulting from a post-industrial society which requires technologically skilled and better educated employees.
  • The Academy’s mission is to enlighten young people at a time when this enlightenment is critical to their and our attempts to “Build Young Scholars for the Future.”
An index of our success is the fact that we have moved from theory to practice. And, by having done so, we have brought a not insignificant portion of Akron’s youth along with us. Our future design is to do an even better job. 

Another index of success is the Academy’s ability to surmount some of the very high hurdles that were placed in our path (see p. 14, “Programmatic Obstructions . . .”) and it becomes, in our view, self evident that we were successful beyond just having maintained our parent, student and faculty stakeholders. The Academy has therefore remained solvent in spite of the negative forces arrayed against us. We have maintained a stable institu-tional and public relations posture in the community. Another index of success was our ability to remain focused on our mission and to maintain our commitment to Educational Reform especially in the area of high and higher expecta-tions and to educating African American and white, poor and middle income youngsters with the emphasis on developing methodologies for inducing them to excel academically. 

The Academy’s Assessment of Its Failures

We also had some indices of failure. One was our continuing need to develop a fully involved Board of Governors.  As would be expected, the Academy’s Governors were all professionals of long standing. They are educators in public schools and universities; they are former officials in national organizations; they are members of community religious, social and educational organizations. We failed most definitely in bringing to the Board as proposed a meaningful number of Governors who are also parents of our students or non-professional community residents in general.

From its inception, the Academy has worked to establish an educational institution that was grounded in diversity -- diversity in its curriculum, its student body and its faculty. In the first two, we were very successful in 1999-2000. In the third, it was difficult to achieve similar success in terms of attracting a diverse complement of classroom faculty. In the 2000-2001 academic year, we learned just how difficult it was going to be to recruit African American faculty. We advertised in media that catered to an African American readership and also in media catering to the general public. At the beginning of the academic year, we had responses to our advertisements only from the white commu-nity. This was a failure, but not because of race. It was rather a necessary eye opener, for we were forced to realize that we had not reached the African American community as well as we had thought. It also brought home to us that we need to visit high schools and area colleges and universities to urge students to consider becoming elementary or secondary school teachers and that they should upon graduation elect to teach in area Ohio’s com-munity schools. 

The Academy’s Site-based Management Committee (or Advisory Council) which is supposed to be composed of faculty, parents and community residents, did not materialize as we had wanted. The advisory council was to handle internal management and curricular issues such as dress code, discipline, field trip planning, parent information sessions, technology in the classroom, etc. During the academic year, there were some encouraging initial meetings held when Academy business was deliberated and acted on; however, once organized it was difficult to arrive at a commonly agreed on meeting time and day when members, i.e., parents, faculty and community residents could be present.

A Local Professional Development Committee and an In-Service Training Program was especially difficult for the Academy to organize as thoroughly as was conceptualized in our contract and in the LPDC manual. This failure has been corrected in part with the funding of our SchoolNet Technology Plan. This requires that faculty and staff be developed professionally so that they are capable of professionally incorporating technology in their lesson plans. Moreover, all faculty had been advised at the time they were hired that they were personally required to effect their own professional development. The SchoolNet professional development process was put before the faculty and staff by the administration. It was shown how it would work to assist them in establishing their own professional development routine. It should be noted the Academy’s principal was also involved in developing his staff at in-service workshops, orientations, and weekly faculty meetings. Moreover, as pointed out earlier on, the Academy’s financial situation was not enabling and there was a distinct absence of time and financial assistance beyond SchoolNet funds. Currently faculty and other staff members are instructed to pursue . . .

  • individual study programs, library research, develop annotated lists of books, web pages, and other classroom related materials, search educational supply catalogs for available items,
  • attendance at grant writing workshops, technology workshops, writing funding proposals, and staffing funded projects,
  • speaking to university and public school students, and participating in teacher training classes and work-shops, and
  • meeting and consulting with community leaders and organizations on educational institution development, and developing other relevant professional development activities.
It is with these changes in our professional development structure that we see ourselves moving from failure to successful progress.

Facility Acquisition and Site Development Planning

Beginning in February 2001, we initiated facility construction planning discussions and thought we would have by August a commodious facility. We initiated plans to construct this facility on adjacent land that Antioch Baptist Church owned and would allow the Academy to build on. For this construction project, we enlisted the support of Williams-Scottsman a modular construction outfit in Ohio. We also had the ear of National City Bank and Dollar Bank. Our plans, however, were thwarted when we couldn’t show these financial institutions something other than a weak financial position, that is, we could only present an assured financial picture for the last three years of our five-year ODE contract and we had no other financial backing that would underwrite our plans – $109,000 to begin construction and $3,700 per month for 5 years. We did see some possibilities over the months we worked to find a solution. But, as we saw ourselves fast outgrowing our present facility, we finally, had to turn our attention to our recruitment efforts and to squeezing into our limited space additional students as we explored other alternatives. 

The administration began to work with two other potential community school sites – St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church and Mt. Zion Baptist Church – that had expressed an interest in becoming satellites of the Academy. We had envisioned these sites becoming not only answers to our burgeoning space problems but also much needed full-fledged Academies on Akron’s East and North sides. We were successful with our attempts to engage these sites as future community schools. A third institution was brought to our attention – Mt. Olive Baptist Church. We thought it would also help to solve our immediate space needs; however, the rent was too expensive. Realizing we would be unable to do all that was needed to obtain occupancy certificates from the city before the opening of the academic year, the Academy’s principal and business manager addressed our need for space with a well thought out and creative plan to capture space and succeeded in finding room for more students than we had in 1999-2000.

Changes in ODE Contract

No ODE contract changes were made.

Program Enhancements

A major public relations move was of the development and posting of the Academy Web site:

This Web site is updated regularly presents all of those pedagogic, programmatic and operational aspects of the Academy’s educational program: (1) a short biography of the Academy’s namesake Ida B. Wells-Barnett (1862-1931) comes with a bibliography of related information on her life and times; (2) the Academy’s Educational Plan as outlined in its ODE contract, (3) an extensive reading list of educational and related source materials.  It also links visitors to other relevant educational Web sites and historical and educo-social information; (4) the resumes and curriculum vitae of the current slate of Governors and Administrative and Support Staff. This listing is periodically updated as new staff are hired or new Governors installed; (5) the names of persons (addresses have now been removed for privacy reasons) who worked as a team to help found and develop the Academy are listed. 

The Academy’s profile is also posted on the ODE Web site: [16] and on the US Charter Schools site: To date we know that more than 790 hits have been recorded on the Academy’s Web site. We are unable to tell how many hits our profile on the other two Web sites have been recorded.


     13. The Academy offers its first-year certificated teachers an annual salary of $27, 500. Teachers with several years of prior teaching experience and/or with MEd or MA degrees are offered $30,000+. It was reported that the average salary of community schools in Ohio in 1999-2000 was $26,384 with 3.7 average years of service. Teachers in City School Districts with 13.5 average years of service earned an average salary of $44,160. See “Community Schools in Ohio: Second-Year Implementation Report,” Vol. II, published by the Legislative Office of Education Oversight. April 2001, p. 11. This report can be accessed at

     14. REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF HEARING OFFICER In Re: The Edge Academy & Ida B. Wells Community Academy (March 8, 2000), pp. 2 and 23-24 (of the Academy’s scanned computer copy).

     15. The plaintiffs in this action are: 1. Ohio Federation of Teachers (OFT), 2. Ohio Congress of Parents and Teachers (OCPT), 3. Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA), 4. Columbus Education Association (CEA), 5. Ohio Association of School Business Officials (OASBO), 6. Ohio Association of Public School Employees/ AFSCME Local 4 (OAOSE/AFSCME), 7. Cincinnati Federation of Teachers (CFT), 8. Akron Education Association (AEA), 9. Cleveland Teachers Union (CTU), and 10. Toledo Federation of Teachers (TFT). See Attachment VIII.

     16. These profiles have some factual errors in them; however, they do give a fair picture of what the Academy is all about. The best profile is contained in the above referenced Academy Web site. 

NB: The Attachments referred to in this report may be requested from the Webmaster via an e-mail indicating which attachment is wanted.

End of Part IIII

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For More Information Write or Call

Dr. Edward W. Crosby, PhD, Co-Founder, Superintendent
Mr. Perkins B. Pringle, MEd, Principal
Ms. Angela M. Anderson, MBA, Business Manager / Board Treasurer

The Ida B. Wells Community Academy
670 Wooster Avenue
Akron, Ohio   44307-1868

Office:  330.761.1484  or  330.376.4915
FAX:  330.376.4912

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