Jeremy Heit, Akron Aeros group sales representative and Education Day program coordinator, stares excitedly out the big conference room windows overlooking the baseball field at Canal Park. Although final construction projects and work is going on, the video board is in full effect. Heit’s excitement is contagious as he talks about the Education Day Program and the upcoming season.
The Education Day program strives to get kids interested in learning because “baseball is education.” Teachers are able to utilize the Ohio Standard based curriculum in their classroom. Math, language arts, social studies, and science are all included, offering a complete set of lessons and activities for all the major subjects.
After several interviews I’ve learned the curriculum is applicable to general teachers and teachers of students with special needs. Intervention Specialist Stacy Nedolast enjoys the Education Day program saying, “the curriculum fits with standards that we have to abide by for the state Ohio.” Although some of the curriculum is too advanced for her students, using sports to get them interested is always nice.
The highly developed curriculum is what backbone of the Education Day program. Although many other minor league baseball teams do sponsor a school day game, no others offer a curriculum as in-depth as the Aeros. The curriculum is put together by volunteer teachers in the Akron area. Michele Fowkes, Head Preschool Teacher in the Center for Child Development at the University of Akron participated in creating the curriculum as a part of a workshop. Participant’s baseball-related lesson plans were complied to form the current curriculum.
The reward for participating in the Education Day program is attending an Aeros game. Teachers bring their students to Canal Park for a day of baseball, activities during the game, and player autograph signing. A few months of hard-work in the classroom results in a fun-filled day at the ballpark.