The Ida B. Wells Community Academy

1180 Slosson Street
Akron, Ohio 44320-2370

Ida B. Wells-Barnett

Summit           IRN: 133553

    Part III: Annual Report for 2002-2003

September 30, 2003

Prepared by

Ms. Angela M. Anderson, MBA
Chief Administrative Officer and Treasurer
Dr. Edward W. Crosby, PhD
Founder and Program Management Consultant

    9.    State and Federal Financial Resources

           General Discussion

At the end of each fiscal year, usually in late September of October, the Academy is audited by the State Auditor’s Office. The Management letters resulting from 2000, 2001, 2002 are in Attachment XIII. Moreover, at the end of each fiscal year, the Board of Governors approves the budget for the next fiscal that is prepared and presented by the Treasurer. This budget had already been reviewed by the Financial Affairs and Planning Committee and revised if necessary to meet the known and anticipated financial needs of the Academy. At this review meeting the critical mass of student recruits is determined and the number of faculty that would be required to service them. Since the budget is student head count driven, students are of primary importance to our overall operation. The Academy, therefore, devotes the major portion of its financial resources to those elements designed to produce value added intellectual growth in its student body. The budget is composed of several components with instructional, i.e., faculty, educational equipment, assessment materials and supplies -- class books, pencils and paper, art supplies, computer floppy and CD discs are just some of them. These items require a large budgetary outlay, for the Academy and the proper education of our students depends on these expenditures. Each year, we buy new textbooks, computerized instruction applications and curriculum materials. We are constantly adding supplemental materials that will help reinforce the lessons taught by the teachers. Everything the teacher needs to teach is provided, including science kits, workbooks, manipulatives for math and telling time, flash cards, etc. Approximately 79 percent of the budget is allocated for educational materials and supplies, and faculty and assistant teacher salaries. Another 21 percent of the budget is consumed by administrative salaries and other costs including the cost of transportation for the summer extended educational program and field trips.

        Specific Discussion

State Foundation Support Fiscal Year 2002-2003

         Formula all-day Kindergarten
$         46,076.89
         Formula Grades 1-12
$       388,797.61
         DPIA all-day Kindergarten
$         43,476.97
         DPIA Classroom Size Reduction
$         52,654.40
         DPIA Guarantee
$                  0.00
         Special Education Weighted Amount
$        37,552.96

    Total State Foundation Support
$      568,558.83

State Foundation Program Deductions

          State Teachers Retirement
$      (40,124.00)
          School Employees Retirement
$        (6,561.00)
          JV FY00 FTE Audit Adjustment
$      (17,172.90)
          JV 28 FY03 Budget Reduction
$        (4,204.03)

    Total State Foundation Deductions
$      (68,061.93)

    Net State Foundation Support
$       500,496.90

Federal Financial Support Sources FY 2002-2003

         U.S. Department of Agriculture School Breakfast and Lunch
$         45,019.19
         Professional Development
$                  0.00
         IDEA Part B - Special Education
$           3,462.00
         Title I
$         21,642.37
         Title VI
$              229.32
         Drug Free Grant
$                77.04
         Class Size Reduction
$           6,712.09
         Miscellaneous Federal Grant
$              247.92

    Total Federal Allocation
$         77,389.93

Grand Total State and Federal Allocation (including State

$      714,010.69

    10.    Addressing Needed Improvements

One of the most significant priorities the Academy has is that of creating an educational environment in which all of our students are reading, writing, and comprehending at grade level. Another significant priority is the development of an educational process the takes into consideration the framework and findings of Rossi and Montgomery highlighted above on pages 4-5. For the students who are not on grade level, we concentrate as much attention as possible on the provision of opportunities to excel and to move on to higher levels of competency at their own rate. Unfortunately, rigid scheduling of the OPTs by the State obviates our ability to do this as well as we would like before our students take the battery of five tests. Our primary goal is, nevertheless, to meet each and every student where they are currently, both academically and socially, and take them to higher levels. We do this by setting goals and objectives for the students, parents, faculty and staff, and the Governing Board. Every aspect of the Academy must be functioning at an acceptable level of performance in order to create an educational environment that the students can achieve in. Therefore, new policies are implemented from time to time. We also prioritize our educational goal and objectives through the hiring of fully qualified faculty and staff. The criteria for hiring teachers becomes more and more strict each year as we look to employ those who can help create the educational environment desired and contribute to the overall learning process established at the Academy.

As mentioned elsewhere, the Program Management Consultant, the Chief Administrative Officer and the Principal meet on a weekly basis to discuss the work objectives of past weeks and the current week, the academic programming issues that need attention and other related matters. Each year and sometimes earlier, the administration assesses the Academy on its different levels of operation -- finances, facility needs, staffing, student recruitment, and academic performance. This assessment process is initiated by the Financial Affairs and Planning Committee which usually develops multiple year program improvement timelines. These timelines provide the administrative leadership -- Governors and staff -- with an idea of the areas within the program that need to be improved and the length of time each improvement should take. Once an area has been identified as needing improvement, we then come together as groups (the Board, administration, faculty and staff) and brainstorm about various solutions that will strengthen the areas needing improvement. The end result is usually a plan of action to remedy the situation, or a set of objectives that need to be met in order to resolve the problem.

    11.    Student Discipline

In the winter of 2002, we followed up on the former Principal's recommendation to hire a full-time person to handle the disciplining of students and the in-school suspension class. That recommendation is now in process. We also retained Mr. Kevin Hockett who is employed by the Kent City Public School District and conducts their high school In-school Suspension Program, as an in-service workshop leader. The methods Mr. Hockett introduced the faculty to in two two-hour workshops were not grade or age specific. He mentioned that it was important for the teachers to deal with all discipline problems in class first and send only those who were deemed incorrigible to in-school suspension, being certain also to send the class work the student would be responsible for studying or completing. In-school suspensions, and suspensions/expulsions in general are resorted to when nothing else will seemingly work. From Mr. Hockett's workshops the teachers came away with an understanding of how they could work better with troublesome students. But that certainly was not enough. The next school year -- 2003-2004 -- some faculty members, who were experiencing problems managing their classes, were asked to a to attend a MEO/SERRC workshop on classroom management. This academic year will emphasize classroom management and the development of a reliable and effective discipline procedure.

    12.    The Central Role of Stakeholders and Partners

From the outset the Academy has worked with a variety of community organizations. For instance, from November 1998 the two co-founders of the Academy worked with a team of 23 community residents and organizations to help develop a working plan for the establishment of an educational institution that would where possible and feasible relate to the community's educational needs. The names of these individuals are found on the Academy's Web site at http://hierographics.orq/Academylndex.shtml. The organizations to which some of these persons belonged were the Akron Public Schools, the African American Cultural Association, The University of Akron, Kent State University, the City of Akron’s Department of Community Development, Jamaica Mall, university students, community residents, attorneys, social workers, hospital staff, etc. Since 1998 we have added to this list religious organizations, community recreational and service centers, and the Summit County Public Libraries -- the Wooster (now Vernon Odom Blvd) and Maple Valley Branches, and the Education Leadership Roundtable of Akron, Ohio, which is a community effort to mobilize the Akron community in support of the education of our children, and the Summit County Educational Services Center.

Even though the Academy worked with these organizations, we have not considered them to be partners as such, for they have not been as integral as the Academy's partnership with the Ohio Charter Schools Association based in Columbus, the Harrison Cultural Arts Center in Lorain, the Edge Academy and the Summit Academy Management, Inc., the Lucas County Educational Service Center in Toledo, A Better Community Development, Inc., in Canton, NeoNet, and MEO/SERRC, and the Portage County Educational Service Center.

    13.    Challenges Encountered and Overcome

The Academy has experienced many successes. We have also experienced many challenges. Many of these challenges were produced by our somewhat overzealous approach to institution building. The advent of community schools in Ohio and their ability to get involved in the "School Choice" movement energized them and others in the Akron community. So they opened the Ida B. Wells Community Academy. The word "community” was inserted into the title to symbolize where they were coming from and who their stakeholders would be. We were besieged by our failure to anticipate the number and complexity of difficulties we would have to confront: (1) finding and maintaining a suitable facility over a five-year period, (2) recruiting and retaining certified and experienced teachers, (3) recruiting critical masses students, (4) producing proficient at risk students at the 75th percentile the OPTs, and (5) enlisting the active participation of parents and other members of the community.

We are beset by having to do the best we could with cramped programming space. Our initial facility could only accommodate fifty students. Fortunately, keeping our class size to 15 students helped us live up to this contractual element. Our administrative offices had to be located a short distance away. With our move into Antioch Baptist Church at 670 Wooster Avenue in August 2001, we gained more commodious space and could enroll students in grades K to 4 and have 2 first grade classes. We were now able to serve a larger number of students and still have space for administrative offices; it was still cramped, but effective until we once again outgrew the main building and moved our administrative offices to the church's annex. In 1999 Antioch and the Academy envisioned building onto the church's education wing a modular one story addition. This construction would have, in conjunction with the space we already occupied, satisfied our space needs certainly for the remaining years of our contract and perhaps with controlled growth even longer. In the spring of 2002, we had planned to move our 3rd and 4th grades into the Mt. Olive Baptist Church facility (1180 Slosson Street) to relieve our now overcrowded existence at Antioch. Later, at the start of the 2002-2003 academic year, the Academy decided to move into Mt. Olive "bunk and junk" and having done so, we have gained much more space for the Learning Center and its administrative offices. We now enjoy ample space on three floors -- 1st, 2nd and basement floors. We now expect to enroll up to 150 students (or more) in our fifth program year. Finally, all things being equal, we may have come just 30 or more students short of our projected contractual mark of 180 students in the fifth year. Needless to say, this was a qualified success.

The most debilitating and somewhat successfully resolved challenge occurred a week or so before the start of classes in 1999. We learned along with the Edge and Summit Academies that the Akron Board of Education had resolved to refuse to transport our students as required by Ohio Revised Code § 3314.09 on the specious grounds that such transportation would be both unreasonable and impractical. We won this suit and on May 12, 2000 when the State Board of Education ruled that Akron must provide transportation to Edge and Ida B. Wells. The plaintiffs did not receive reimbursement of their transportation costs until November 2003, after the Akron Board had appealed three court rulings in their disfavor. The Akron Board of Education continues to refuse to transport the Academy's students attending its extended 6-week summer session which costs $19,000 or more each year. The Academy believes this refusal is also contrary to law, but we have for the past four years decided not to challenge this refusal. If we are awarded a new contract, we will certainly seek some sort of legal remedy.

Of particular interest to the Academy’s staff complement is the safety of its students and, of course, its faculty. The Academy has employed various methods over the years and in all of its learning centers to maintain a safe learning and working environment. The Salvation Army had its own security mechanism in force. At each of our subsequent locations we installed a video camera and a buzzing device that would allow the Academy's secretary to see the person(s) trying to gain access, and then be able to push a button to let the person enter the Academy. Once a visitor arrives at the Academy and is granted access, they are instructed to come directly to the office where they must then sign in and wear a badge. If a person is found in the hallways without a badge, he/she is questioned by the staff person to discover who they are and why they are in the learning center. If their presence is legitimate, they are directed to their destination. The students' whereabouts are constantly monitored by the teachers and hall passes from the teacher are required for every student leaving the room. The hall passes note on them the destination of the student -- an administrator's office, restroom, another classroom, or Special Education Office. All classrooms have placed in a conspicuous location near the door the escape route from the building in case of fire and the safe collection place in case of a tornado alert. The Academy has on occasion had the Akron Fire Department conduct its Fire Safety Program for students and students have visited a fire station as a group field trip. The Akron Police Department has also introduced students to its D.A.R.E program to inform the students of their need to say no to drugs.

The former Chair of the Board of Governors was formerly a department chairperson at Kent State University for 25 years and was, therefore, familiar with the State's Department of Administrative Services, Office of Cooperative Purchasing program that administers the purchase of supplies, services, equipment and certain other items, including vehicals, at reduced prices pursuant to Revised Code § 125.04. He wrote to the Office of Cooperative Purchasing and received information about the program and application requirements, one of which was a fee of $125; the other was a Board resolution authorizing the Academy’s joining the program. The fee was paid by check and the resolution was submitted. We were informed by phone that the program was, indeed, for public schools, but we were "not public" enough. As if this was not hurtful enough, our $125 check was cashed, but a reimbursement was never received. This refusal added another financial blow to our severely depressed financial structure and prevent our being able to benefit from the perquisites other "more" public schools enjoy. This was not the last time we as a community school have experienced the sentence of "not being public" and deserving enough when it comes to preferences granted to traditional public schools and respect from the "more" public educational establishment. The Academy's plan to have two teachers in each class of 15 students on average -- a certified teacher and an assistant teacher -- was pedagogically correct, however, it was also costly especially when funds were being usurped by nuisance obstacles being placed in our way.

Since we view ourselves as Institution Builders and our faculty and staff as partners in that enterprise, we try to impress on all members of our learning team -- Board members, administrative staff, faculty and parents -- that as the Academy grows so, too, grows their professional and future careers. Of especial importance is the Academy's bold intention to help reform the schooling process in the United States. Our intention does not in any way involve putting the nation's school systems out of business, for that would be counterproductive. We take our lead from Buckminster Fuller who advised: “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” Our intention, if we can become good enough, is to become in time what used to be referred to as a laboratory school. A school that is an aider and abettor for introducing, developing methodologies for the education of at risk youth regardless of their race, creed, color or national origin. Of course, at this time and place our immediate attention must be paid to those who on the very bottom of the educational system -- African American youth. The Academy's requirement that there be infused into the curriculum African and African American history and culture presented us with another real challenge. This challenge was addressed earlier on so we won't reiterate it here save to say the problem plagued the Academy until the 2002-2003 academic year.

Another challenge for the Academy is coming up with an effective method for inducing African American parents to take charge of the education of their children. The Academy has of course benefitted from parents' exercising their right to choose where and who will educate their children. Beyond that original act of choice, we have found it difficult to entice parents to work in a meaningful way on meaningful tasks for extended periods of time. Since our opening in August 1999, we have attempted to convert the membership of our team of developers into a coterie of parents and others participating in the management of the Academy through the Site-Based Management Council or Advisory Board. The proposed workings of the Advisory Board are presented in the Academy's ODE contract. Its structure has undergone some operational modifications made to strengthen how it was to function. It was felt the Advisory Board should have a person charged with overseeing the board's program agenda on a day to day basis. To that end we revised the position specifications of an Assistant Teacher making her the Academy's Community Relations Coordinator whose primary responsibility was working with parents and other community residents be they business people, house wives, attorneys or laborers. Her primary emphasis was also to build  firm relationships with our students’ parents and community residents in general and, in turn, encourage them to participate on the Advisory Board. This initially worked, but there was no consistency in the involvement of those who joined. As already stated, this was something we hadn't anticipated even though we intuitively knew it might end in failure. Nevertheless, in spite of the difficulty we have increased out efforts in this area, for the Academy can't teach effectively and the students can't learn as well as they should without serious and continuous parental and community commitment and involvement.

Another challenge for the Academy is coming up with an appropriate discipline system. During 2002 and 2003 we suspended students 113 times and these students lost 151.50 class days (see Attachment XIV). In a survey of faculty, many said the Academy should be more strict in disciplining students and holding their parents responsible. In our contract we stated we would develop an innovative discipline procedure. Correcting the problem was, is a huge undertaking. Suspending and expelling students was counterproductive in that it was a zero sum game. Removing students from their classes has consequences the Academy cannot afford, that is, the students we are committed to educate lose precious and scarce learning time; if students are sent home their parents become upset because of babysitting costs or loss of a work day or more; and parents may as a result of the suspension withdraw the student. Our position in this matter was two fold: first, our students needed to be in school not at home where no learning activity would be conducted. Moreover, suspensions (we have never expelled a student) would be counterproductive and ultimately, our relations with the community we serve would suffer. In “Catalyst for Cleveland Schools” (June/July 2003), it was reported (pp. 16-17) that the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) suspended in 2002 some 15,000 which was down from 18,000 the previous year. In order to meet the AYP attendance goal in spite of the suspensions, Cleveland, with state approval, list the students as present because suspended students are sent home with the school work they will miss during their suspension. This is a travesty of no minor proportions. CMSD enrolls 50,902 African American students our of a total of 71,671 students. It is obvious that the majority of the students suspended are African American. It is also obvious to any thinking person that suspended students are not studying at home while on suspension. Is it any wonder than that on 39 percent of Cleveland’s 50,902 African American students graduate? Of course not. We must come up with policies and methodologies that keep even those students resistant to learning IN a learning environment and not OUTSIDE of it engaging in antisocial activities. Our youth are too important for us to think and do otherwise.

We were correct in 1999 proposing that we would develop a discipline process that would be student and learning centered, but, in order to set up a meaningful process, we need to better inform ourselves. Fortunately, we had already decided to use the Rossi-Montgomery "Conceptual Framework" and their work on school reform as a guide. From our reading we also learned that discipline was a problem throughout the state and the nation. We also learned there were no sure shot methods we can borrow and employ. Our first internal corrective action was to meet with teachers and receive first hand information on the in-class nature of the problem. Their suggestions on how best to handle the situation was in-school suspension as perhaps the best alternative to sending students home for one, two, or three days or more in some worse case scenarios. But that, too, is not enough.


(These Attachments will be made available upon receipt of a written request)

Attachment I: Resolution Accepting Resignation of Dr. Edward W. Crosby as
Superintendent and Supporting the Selection of Angela M.
Anderson as His Interim Replacement (May 20, 2002)
Attachment II: "Education Reforms and Students At Risk: A Review of the State
of the Art"
Attachment III: a.   “School All Year Round”
b.   “Mo’ Time, Mo’ Better Schools,”
c.   “‘Reality Classrooms’ Help Teachers Connect with Black
d.   “The Structure of Valid Staff Development”
Attachment IV: Tables Itemizing Analytical vs. Relational Cognitive Styles
Attachment V:
a.   Akron District Schools 2000 Performance Results by Gender
      and Ethnic Group
b.   Akron District Schools Curriculum Audit Exhibits:
Suspensions / Expulsions Statistics (Conducted by
International Curriculum Audit Center/ Phi Delta Kappa,
      August 1998)   

Attachment VI:
The Academy’s Local Report Card 2002-2003
Attachment VII: The Academy’s Internal Standardized Test Results
    a.   Iowa Test of Basic Skills, November 1999
    b.   CAT-5 Evaluation Summary, June 29, 2001
    c.   Terra Nova CTBS Complete Battery, September 4, 2002
    d.   Terra Nova CAT Complete Battery, May 12, 2003
    e.   Title I Instructor’s Analysis of Terra Nova Test Results for
          2002 and 2003
Attachment VIII: An Infusion Curriculum Model for African and African American
Cultural Content
Attachment IX: a.   Ida B. Wells Community Academy Stakeholder Focus
b.   Faculty and Staff Evaluation of Work and Teaching
      Environment Survey, April 2003

c.   Parent Evaluation of Educational Services Results, April 2003

Attachment X: Teaching Methods and Classroom Management Evaluation Report
Attachment XI: a.   Faculty and Staff Employment and Performance Expectations
b.   End-of-Probation Notice letters from Chair, Personnel and
      Benefits Committee
Attachment XII: a.  The Bylaws of the Ida B. Wells Community Academy Board of
b.  Letter to Board advising them to study the new provisions and
     regulations of  HB 364

Attachment XIII: State Auditor’s Office: Management Letters for FY 2000, 2001,
Attachment XIV: a.   The Academy’s Student Discipline Record, August 12, 2003
b.   Handbook on Parent and Student Rights and Responsibilities
c.   Resolution Defining the Academy’s Mission and Establishing
      an Attendance and Automatic Dismissal Policy for Chronic or
      Habitual Truancy

End of Part III

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For More Information and Feedback, send e-Mail to

Ms. Angela M. Anderson  or  Dr. Edward W. Crosby

 The Academy's Web site is located at

The Academy's Address is

Ida B. Wells Community Academy
1180 Slosson Street
Akron, Ohio   44320-2730
Phone:  330.867.1085   FAX:  330.867.1074

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