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Report: Cavs and Goodyear Teaming Up to Expand Learning Across Akron Public Schools

Koby Altman and Dan Gilbert

Last month, the Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James parted ways when he left as a free agent, but the team hasn’t forgotten his hometown of Akron in the wake of that departure. Earlier this week, they announced that they’ll be teaming with Goodyear to enhance the level of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) classes available to Akron city students.

The total amount of in-kind donations from both the Cavs and Goodyear will be $500,000, and be dispersed in $100,000 installments over the next five years. The move follows in the footsteps of a similar decision to work with the Cleveland school district.

“STEM school programming is something we know we can impact in Akron and Cleveland, as both school systems are growing their focus in that area,” said Tad Carper, chief communications officer for the Cavs. “These are also situations where we can support and engage the students directly with fun education-based programs and STEM-focused career days with the Cavs and Goodyear, along with strong financial support, technology improvements and facility enhancements.”

The first installment has seen roughly $75,000 being spent on making sure that every middle school library in the Akron district has STEM materials in it. That was done in part because the Akron Public Schools already have a STEM school for both high school and middle school students.

Theresa Cottom of the Akron Beacon Journal explained exactly what Akron students can expect, with the first investment expected to be ready within the next month:

“Buchtel Community Learning Center, for grades 7-12, is getting a makerspace in its library to house a number of STEM-related equipment, including vinyl and 3D printers, video production and editing equipment, 3D Lego construction sets, coding programs, CAD/automation programs and technology-enhanced communication devices.”

Cottom then explained the last step in the process:

“The final part of the grant will go toward funding a ‘fab lab’ to be placed in a high school. The exact location is to be determined.”

The Cavaliers will be in charge of keeping track of all purchases and deliveries of the materials involved. They’ll also fund things like field trips or provide personnel within the organization who will either speak to or make presentations to students.

Akron school board member Lisa Mansfield praised the move:

“What we’ve been able to do is take what was incubated in STEM, and now it’s going to all of our middle schools,” Mansfield said. “It’s wonderful that it benefits those kids, but it benefits all as well.”

This facet of the relationship between the Cavaliers and Goodyear differs from the arrangement made between the two organizations last year. In that case, the Cavaliers agreed to wear the Goodyear Wingfoot logo on their uniforms for an estimated $10 million per year.

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