Kent State University creates college and career academies in Akron high school

AKRON, Ohio – Kent State University and Akron Public Schools announced a partnership to provide high school students with learning opportunities involving the university.

Kent State will partner with Akron’s Firestone Community Learning Center and offer instructional support and opportunities in visual and performing arts, interior design, fashion, film, aeronautics, visual and communications design, and architecture and environmental design. 

Wednesday’s announcement follows one last fall when the school district and Kent State announced the creation of a partnership for a new College and Career Academy. 

As part of this partnership, there will be three new college and career academies at Akron’s Firestone Community Learning Center. They will be called the Kent State University Academy of Design, the Kent State University Academy of Performing Arts and the Kent State University Academy of Advanced Technology and Comprehensive Engineering.

Kent State President Beverly Warren said in a news release that when Akron Public Schools explained the focus of the three academies planned for Firestone, she was thrilled because the areas aligned so well with the programs and expertise of the university.

“This is truly a perfect pairing,” Warren said. “I know it will be a fruitful partnership, not only because of what we can provide Firestone students, but also for what our students, faculty and staff will gain from collaborating with this state-of-the-art learning center.”

In May 2016, the school district was designated a Ford Next Generation Learning Community. The school is now part of a national network supported by the Ford Motor Company Fund that is transforming public high schools into career-themed academies to better prepare students for college and professional success in today’s global economy. 

“This is an ambitious project that will strengthen our schools, families and the very future of our students for generations to come,” Akron Superintendent David James said in the news release. “We are incredibly grateful to Kent State University for being one of our first partners to come forward and say, ‘We want to help.'”

One of the first events will take place this spring when 320 incoming Firestone freshmen will visit Kent State to explore the disciplines the university offers that align with the academies.

The plan also calls for creating week-long summer camps at Kent State, where participating students can immerse themselves in their concentrations. Micro-scholarships also will be offered to students who earn high grades in specific classes and later enroll at Kent State’s main campus.

More than 1,300 graduates of the Akron Public Schools are currently enrolled in undergraduate courses on Kent State’s eight campuses.