Tag Archives: Education

National Random Acts of Kindness Day

“Be Kind 330” Campaign Kickoff Act of Kindness From GOJO to APS Kicks Off “Be Kind 330”

Akron Public Schools (APS)
Thursday, February 17, 2022 – National Random Acts of Kindness Day

On this National Random Acts of Kindness Day, Akron Public Schools (APS) is the grateful recipient of a wonderful act of kindness. GOJO, the manufacturers of PURELL® hand sanitizer, has made a generous donation of 20,000 bottles of Purell® to APS as a part of the kickoff of Be Kind 330 in Akron. Be Kind 330 is part of the Kindland movement sweeping across Northeast Ohio. The only thing GOJO asks in return is for the faculty, students and staff to pay this act of kindness forward as we spread the Be Kind 330 message throughout Kindland.

“We are proud to make the first official act of kindness by donating Purell® products to help Akron Public Schools staff and students stay healthy and well,” said Carey Jaros, President and CEO, GOJO Industries. “We hope others will join us in supporting the Be Kind 330 program.”

GOJO’s act of kindness comes as Akron Public Schools joins other Northeast Ohio schools, businesses and organizations by sharing the Be Kind 330 message and starting conversations about kindness, caring, respect and generosity of spirit.

Students at Robinson CLC will be the first students who receive PURELL® after their Be Kind 330 kick-off assembly. Students will be involved in group discussions, video elements and hands-on activities that lead to their taking a pledge to stick together and be kind. All other schools will follow with events unique to each school as they, too, take the pledge.

Kindland was begun by the Values-in-Action (VIA) Foundation in Mayfield, Ohio. VIA has provided the district with optional instructional materials for its use in promoting the kindness-encouraging project throughout its schools and APS families. Students, teachers, parents, caregivers and grandparents are also encouraged to document everyday acts of kindness using the Just Be Kind App at JustBeKindApp.com.

“With Be Kind 330, we want to establish a community culture where individuals recognize and celebrate the kindness around us and create an overall pay-it-forward mentality that results in a more kind, caring and respectful community for everyone,” said Akron Public Schools Superintendent Christine Fowler Mack.

Kindland is presented by Values-In-Action Foundation, a non-profit organization that empowers students and adults to build communities of kindness, caring and respect through programs that teach, promote and provide skills and tools to enable individuals to make positive, values-based decisions every day. Since its founding as Project Love in 1994, Values-in-Action (VIA) has trained more than 1.1 million students to lead with values. 

For additional information about Kindland, call 440.463.6205; or visit BeKindland.com.

For information about Be Kind 330, contact Mark Williamson, Akron Public Schools, 330.761.2930 or maw45602@apslearns.org. #BeKind330

A tradition continues with teaching, learning and kindness (Ashley Jones – Smithberger Farms)

2021-2022 School Year (In-Person Learning) Story written by Darla Cutright for APS

Smithberger Farms of Randolph, Ohio is a fourth-generation family farm beginning in the 1950s. David & Tina Smithberger’s daughter Ashley Jones is a fifth-grade teacher within Akron Public Schools (Portage Path CLC). Ashley wanted to find opportunities to bring agricultural experiences to the urban school and students. While the district was 100% remote during the 2020-2021 school year, the Smithberger family donated 180 mini pumpkins to the school’s drive-thru fall festival. This year, Mrs. Jones’ classroom watched videos about why pumpkins are orange and why we decorate them at Halloween. They also enjoyed reading the book, How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin?

            The Smithberger’s shared the humbling experience of gifting the students with a pumpkin and the joy that the small gesture brought to the school and community. This year, the Smithberger family farm doubled their pumpkin seeds in hopes of donating more mini pumpkins to the school drive thru event. On October 21st, the family donated over 200 mini pumpkins to the school’s fall harvest event. This partnership continues to receive positive feedback from the school community and hopes to grow in the years to come. “It is such an amazing opportunity to bring joy to the students at my school through a small piece of our farm”, said Ashley Jones.

2020-2021 School Year (Remote)

Gratitude is often a focus of classroom writing assignments during the month of November, but also something we think about as we celebrate Thanksgiving. With all the changes in our lives this year, it may be easier to focus on what we are missing rather than what we have. Fifth grade teacher Ashley Jones started focusing on gratitude a year ago and has tried to pass it on to her students. “I donated 180 mini pumpkins to the school,” said Mrs. Jones.

            Last October, Mrs. Jones decorated her classroom (when we were actually in classrooms) with multi-colored ears of corn and corn stalks, as well as pumpkins, all grown on her family’s farm. The Smithberger farm in Randolph has been in Mrs. Jones’ family for 70 years. Her family has cows and pigs, as well as produce such as corn, hay, and pumpkins, including what Mrs. Jones brought to decorate her class. “We grow them every year, all sorts.

Last year at the end of October, she raffled off the decorations for students to take home, not sure if any of the students would be interested. But all the decorations were a big hit. When Mrs. Jones saw how much the students enjoyed the decorations as well as the pumpkins, she decided to set a goal to plant enough mini pumpkins this year so that every student in her class could take one home. “I purposely planted more mini pumpkins last spring in hopes of having enough for my class.”

            Mrs. Jones enjoys sharing information about her family farm with her students. As they study and learn about agriculture, pollination, and the differences in urban, suburban, and rural communities, their teacher makes the connection to her real-life situation. “It’s hard for my students to realize that crops that we grow, raise and sell, are only a half-hour away,” said Mrs. Jones.  Some students noticed different warts or coloring on their pumpkins and wondered about it; this was a great opportunity to research the cross-pollination that had occurred with the gourds that were growing nearby.

            Mrs. Jones also discussed the process of growing the pumpkins, beginning with planting the seeds.  When it was time to harvest them, the whole family helped. “It took a couple of hours (to pick them). You have to cut them one by one so you don’t break their stems,“ said Mrs. Jones.

Mrs. Jones’ father helped wash the pumpkins after harvesting them, and he and her husband helped load them into her vehicle to bring them to Portage Path. Mrs. Jones passed them out to students who attended the October Family International Storytelling Night at Portage Path CLC. She also brought six big pumpkins for decoration that she shared with others at the end of the night. “Seeing the reactions on the kids’ faces was a really cool experience,” she said. “It was something small. I really hope it made a difference and brightened someone’s day,” said Mrs. Jones. She’s already planning to plant enough pumpkins next year to have enough for every student in the school.

Thanks, Mrs. Jones. Portage Path CLC is grateful for you.

APS: Akron Public Schools Announces Partnership With Goodyear

Students at Ellet CLC and NIHF STEM High School to benefit from experiential learning in and out of the classroom

Wednesday, December 9, 2020 

Today, Akron Public Schools (APS), The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, and United Way of Summit & Medina are pleased to announce that Goodyear will become a named integrated partner in the College & Career Academies of Akron at both Ellet CLC and NIHF STEM High School. Goodyear will offer instructional support and real-world learning opportunities in areas of technology, engineering and more. The academies will be named Goodyear Academy of Applied Engineering and Goodyear Academy of Advanced Technology and Design, at Ellet CLC and NIHF STEM High School, respectively.


“Goodyear is a pillar in the City of Akron and a longtime supporter of Akron Public Schools,” said Superintendent David W. James, Ed.D. “The strength of this partnership will demonstrate to students the professional and academic skills needed to be successful in life and the collaborative spirit and sense of community to be successful in Akron.”

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Akron Urban League Welcomes Dr. Jennifer Ross

Dr. Jennifer Ross has been appointed as the Director of Diversity & Strategic Initiatives for the Akron Urban League

Dr. Ross brings more than 20 years of experience in higher education, race theory and policy studies to the newly created position.

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Project Rise Finds Innovative Ways to Serve Families Experiencing Homelessness During COVID-19 Crisis

During this unprecedented time of uncertainty and educational disruption, Project Rise and Akron Public Schools are working hard to ensure families experiencing homelessness do not fall through the cracks.

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