Friday, April 18, 2008

New Akron superintendent expects enrollment to drop but sees better days ahead

I had an enlightening interview with Akron's new superintendent, David James, for tonight's edition of NewsNight Akron, which airs at 9 p.m. on PBS45/49. James, and current superintendent Sylvester Small, talked openly about the district's challenges and what lies ahead with a change of leadership. James takes over for Small on Aug. 1st.

I'll let James speak for himself, but viewers should take note that both he and Small believe enrollment will continue to drop to as few as 20,000 students before it stabilizes. Current enrollment hovers near 25,000 .. and has dropped by 500 or so students each year for the past few.

James also admits that a dress code for high school students probably isn't too far away .. and that Akron's best teachers can expect him to go war for them while those who aren't performing can expect him to go to war against them.

Thanks to those of you who sent in questions .. you'll find that I did use some in the interview.

Two of James' children attend the district, which puts him in a unique position as both parent and administrator. He's also never served as a teacher or principal, yet now becomes their senior boss.

My first question: "why in the world would you want this job?"

Hear his answer tonight on NewsNight Akron.


Village Green said...

Dress code or uniform code for high school students? I thought everybody in APS had a dress code.

Anonymous said...

Village green.......Starting 2008/2009 year, K thru 8 have a dress code.

Eric Mansfield said...

Actually .. the dress "code" did go into effect earlier this school year .. but it's really a guideline that broadly mandates what can't be worn .. like hoodies or big coats in class .. or tank tops .. things like that.

As I understand it, David James says that the day is coming when the high school students will have what the K-8 will have beginning in September -- a policy that mandates solid colors, no jeans, polo or dress shirts, etc ...

It won't quite be the uniforms of a typical parochial school, but it will be very specific about what can be worn.