Jan 25, 2021 · 4 min read

Akron Public Schools Awarded $1.5 Million Grant by Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

2021 | Tutor working with middle school student | Photograph by SDI Productions via Getty Images
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AKRON, Ohio – Akron Public Schools (APS) announced it has been awarded a $1.5 million grant from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI). APS will use these funds in its continued effort to build and sustain comprehensive wellness and learning opportunities for students through the College & Career Academies of Akron.

The grant will support educators as they transform teaching and learning practices to ensure students are both college and career ready. Superintendent David W. James, Ed.D. said of the grant, “This gift will help us accelerate diversity, equity and inclusion strategies as we make investments in additional staffing and training to increase cultural awareness.”

The grant will also support the development and expansion of College & Career Academies into APS elementary schools. APS, in conjunction with a convening organization within our community, will facilitate a master planning process to create systems and structures needed and then strategically plan to build the infrastructure needed to implement and sustain that vision. Elementary students will have an opportunity to become student ambassadors, explore careers, and become competent in the skills outlined in the Portrait of an Elementary Scholar.

Student Ambassadors will receive additional support in both middle and high schools. Ambassadors will receive unique leadership development training and experiences at each grade level from grade 6 through grade 12.

James added, “Given the remarkable year we have all experienced, the importance of this gift cannot be overstated. It will propel us to a place that will fulfill our goal of creating a K-12 experience that will be a foundational change for our districts.”

“The work that educators in Akron Public Schools have been doing to provide students an education that equally supports their well-being and academic development is especially critical during this pandemic. We are pleased to support Akron’s efforts to expand access to whole child learning experiences for students, equip educators with trauma-informed practices, and support the district’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts,” said Sandra Liu Huang, head of education at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

United Way of Summit & Medina will act as fiscal agent for a $1.5 million grant. Jim Mullen, president and CEO of United Way of Summit & Medina commented, “Today’s students will be tomorrow’s innovators, problem-solvers, and leaders. The long-term health and success of our community depends on the investments we make in our children’s education. That’s why United Way has worked with APS to grow the College & Career Academies of Akron. We are thrilled to see organizations, from local businesses to national foundations, joining with us to invest in our community’s future.”

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About the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

Founded by Dr. Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg in 2015, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) is a new kind of philanthropy that’s leveraging technology to help solve some of the world’s toughest challenges — from eradicating disease, to improving education, to reforming the criminal justice system. Across our issue areas, we’re pairing engineering with grant-making, impact investing, and policy and advocacy work to help build an inclusive, just and healthy future for everyone. For more information, please visit www.chanzuckerberg.com.

About Akron Public Schools 

Akron Public Schools (APS) enrolls more than 21,000 students and employs 3,000 teaching and non teaching professionals in Northeastern Ohio. The district, one of the state’s largest and most diverse, covers 62 square miles in a city of 195,000. APS educators are committed to rigorous teaching and learning, safe learning centers and community engagement to prepare young people to be well rounded and ready for the challenges of learning that follow in life. The goal of APS is to be the #1 urban school system in the United States. For more information about Akron Public Schools, visit AkronSchools.com.

About United Way of Summit & Medina 

United Way of Summit & Medina takes on the issues that matter most to children and families. We pursue Bold Goals through forward-thinking strategies, innovative programs and hands-on work in our community. We team up with private and public leaders, local businesses and thousands of volunteers from across our community to create change that matters. Together, we are hand raisers. Game changers. Because there’s a better future in store for our community, and the time is now to make it happen. Learn more at uwsummitmedina.org.

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