Release Date: April 14,2021

Akron Zoo Partners with Akron Public Schools and Ohio STEM Learning Network

April 14, 2021, AKRON, Ohio – The Akron Zoo has partnered with Akron Public Schools (APS) and the Ohio STEM Learning Network (OSLN) Akron Hub to develop problem-based learning challenges for APS middle school students. The new program was made possible through a subgrant from the Ohio Department of Education’s RemotEDx initiative.

The Akron Zoo, along with both partners, will develop four challenges for teachers to choose from, where the students will work to solve real problems at the zoo, such as preventing soil erosion in the alpaca habitat.

OSLN Akron Hub will provide a customized training for all APS middle school teachers looking to implement problem-based challenges in their classrooms.

APS teachers and the Akron Zoo’s education team will work together during the school year to deliver the challenges and students will develop solutions that they’ll present at a Presentation of Learning. The winning designs will then be presented to zoo staff during a capstone event.

Currently, APS is transitioning to a College & Career Academies model of education, and with this partnership, the Akron Zoo is one of the first nonprofit organizations to work on the middle school transition plan.

“This project aligns perfectly with thematic learning, one of the three core components of College & Career Academies of Akron (CCAA),” said Rachel Tecca, director, CCAA at Akron Public Schools. “As we begin the transformation of our APS Middle Schools to CCAA, we look forward to the educational opportunity our teachers and students will experience through this interaction with the Akron Zoo.” 

"The Akron Hub of the Ohio STEM Learning Network is honored to partner with the Akron Zoo to bring an amazing opportunity to APS middle school teachers and learners,” said Sam Crews, manager of Ohio STEM Learning Network Akron Hub. “The Akron Zoo has for years been an active participant in Inquiry Learning with schools and is now positioned to share their expertise as a stakeholder in that process. The OSLN Akron Hub will support this effort with professional learning opportunities and continued engagement throughout the duration of the grant."

“The Akron Zoo is thrilled to be expanding our partnership with APS and OSLN,” said Doug Piekarz, president & CEO at the Akron Zoo. “The grant from RemotEDx is the largest single-year grant we’ve received for our education programs. This allows us to provide science-based learning to more students and to further our mission to inspire lifelong learning and conservation action.”

The Akron Zoo is open 361 days a year. Summer hours are 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and admission is $13 for adults, $11 for seniors and $10 for children, ages 2-14. Children under two are free and parking is $3. Tickets must be purchased online in advance. For more information visit www.akronzoo.org or call (330) 375-2550.  

Founded in 1953, the Akron Zoo is a non-profit, world conservation zoo with over 1,000 animals from around the world. Located just west of Downtown Akron, the zoo strives to connect your life to wildlife while inspiring lifelong learning and conservation action. The Akron Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). With its more than 200 accredited members, AZA is a leader in global wildlife conservation, and your link to helping animals in their native habitats.