The Press Newspaper
Nearly 200 people made their way into Morrison R. Waite High School’s cafeteria to listen to Toledo Public School officials present its “Transformation Plan” last week.
Teachers said they would rather “compromise,” suggesting a preference for a 10 percent pay cut rather than eliminate specialized teaching positions. One parent suggested the meeting format was “flawed” because the specialized teaching positions was not revealed in detail by TPS officials during presentations, but instead brought up by the teachers themselves.
Under the plan, TPS will transition all elementary and middle schools into K-8 neighborhood schools in the fall of 2011. That includes East Broadway Middle School, which would become a K-8 school. Parents in attendance expressed concern that this would present an opportunity for older students to bully younger students.
District officials say neighborhood schools will “mitigate transportation issues.”
“Instead of taking students to school, TPS is taking schools to students,” states the transformation plan’s executive summary.
Dr. Pecko promised in redistricting TPS would “limit student movement, pay attention to proximity of locations, look at current and long term building capacities, look at the integrity of neighborhoods, and stay within the learning community ‘the best we can.’”
East Side Central will close in the fall of 2011 and its boundaries shifted. In the fall of 2012, TPS plans to relocate the board of education from its current building on Manhattan Boulevard to “a more efficient building” not yet determined. All of the schools closed are not being renovated under TPS’ Building for Success program, which is funded by voters and the Ohio Schools Facility Commission.
“We took all of our buildings and all of our classes and we tried to start over,” said James Gault, interim chief academic officer. “We also believe that we will increase attendance and decrease discipline matters.”
At neighborhood schools, TPS plans to provide a platform to provide high school course offerings in grades 6-8 for those who qualify. The district also plans to re-establish extracurricular activities at those schools.
When Romules Durant, assistant superintendent for elementary education, spoke about using technology to improve educational opportunities, he noted that every east side elementary school was rated “effective” by the state of Ohio, which drew applause.
Durant, who was raised in East Toledo, said TPS would partner with outside agencies, such as the East Toledo Family Center, to expand and coordinate wrap around services.
“The family center is the hub of the east side,” Durant said. “When I grew up on the east side, everybody went to the family center.”
Virtual learning labs will be established in each building, and students will be allowed to complete coursework at alternative hours. Technology will also be used to increase foreign language and advanced placement courses.
TPS will explore an international school at Waite with a focus on language, business, and culture. A teacher preparatory academy would be created at Scott for “kids who want to be an educator themselves,” said one TPS speaker. A similar program exists at Waite now, and those in attendance at the meeting expressed concern about moving the program away from Waite.
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