Some Byrnedale Elementary third graders got a pleasant surprise when they arrived at their classroom on a recent Friday morning.

That's because teacher Pam Denner had turned her room into a reading oasis as part of her effort to help her students succeed on their upcoming Ohio Third Grade Reading Guarantee test.

Mrs. Denner says her goal was to redesign the classroom to be more student-friendly.

“I looked at what the successful schools across the world were doing to help student achievement," she says. "I researched successful schools in the U.S. as well and what I found was that if students were comfortable while they worked, their achievement climbed."

She said adults need look no further than their local coffee shop for the concept she was going for.

"When you go to Starbucks, people can choose from a variety of seating options, and in turn, they will be able to work longer because of that level of comfort,” Mrs. Denner says.

She was able to fund the project through, getting most of the funding through the Byrnedale PTO and several private donations.

When students arrived for school on February 24, they found their room looked completely different than a typical classroom. They now receive their assignments or lessons on the community carpet and are now able to choose the seating that is right for them.

"There [are] many options available so that each student is comfortable and focused,” says Mrs. Denner.

Items now in the classroom include:
• A 20" HOKKI, an ergonomic stool that transforms stationary sitting into an activity, ideal for brainstorming sessions and other active sitting environments 
• A Backpatter’s seat, which provides cushioned back support and is ideal for reading a story on the carpet or for use with a travelling desktop
• A Giant-Sized Floor Pillow that is perfect for students who need to stretch their legs while continuing to work

Byrnedale Principal Christina Ramsey says the change in the students was immediate.

"The kids absolutely LOVED their new room and were working hard in their new seats all day," she reports about the first day.

Posted on March 7, 2017

Waite High School senior Anna Campos, a four-time state qualifier in diving, recently brought home her biggest achievement yet.

Anna won third place in the one-meter diving competition at the state championships, held late last month in Canton.

Anna says, “It was the best I ever did at a state competition, but I know I could’ve done better. I had a few hiccups in my dives, but I am really happy with the win.”

This is the first time that Anna has made the top three in qualifications. Starting with her freshman year, when she didn't move to the finals, she progressed to 18th her sophomore year and then to eighth place in her junior year.

Anna is in the process of picking the college she will represent next year for diving. The choices are between the University of Toledo and Youngstown University. She is planning to major in pre- veterinary or biology.

Until she decides, Anna is happy to represent Waite and be a role model for other students.

“When I first came to Waite as a freshman, they didn’t have diving. I told them that was my sport, and they made it a club sport - I would dive by myself but I represent Waite,” she says. 

Anna is happy she went to her brother’s practice all those years ago and fell in love with the sport.

She says, “Without going there, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I love the thrill of diving, and knowing after I graduate I will have made a difference for other student divers.”

Her TPS Proud moment is when she finished her last dive and she looked back at her scores and her name went to third, and she was in utter shock.

She ran to tell her coach she made it, and everyone was so happy.

“Standing on the podium, and looking out at everyone I was just so happy to be representing my school,” says Anna.

Posted on March 7, 2017

Families with students in grades 6 through 11 who are interested in learning more about College Credit Plus, a statewide program that helps students earn college credit while still in high school, are invited to attend one of the following meetings (Elementary students should attend the meeting at their nearest high school):

  • Thursday, Jan. 19, 6 p.m.: In the theater at Rogers High School
  • Tuesday, Jan. 24, 5 p.m.: In the library at Start High School
  • Monday, Feb. 6, 5 p.m.: In the auditorium at Toledo Technology Academy
  • Tuesday, Feb. 7, 4:30 p.m.: In the library at Scott High School
  • Wednesday, Feb. 8, 5 p.m.: In the library at Woodward High School
  • Thursday, Feb. 9, 5:30 p.m.: In the library at Bowsher High School

Families who missed the Waite High School meeting on January 10 should plan to attend one of the upcoming meetings.


The Ohio Department of Education has changed the graduation requirements for the Class of 2018 (the current juniors). In order to inform parents and guardians about these changes, Toledo Public Schools is holding a series of meetings at its traditional high schools. The schedule is:

Tuesday, January 17, 5 p.m., at:
• Bowsher High School, 2200 Arlington Ave.
• Rogers High School, 222 McTigue Dr.

Wednesday, January 18, 5 p.m., at:
• Scott High School, 2400 Collingwood Blvd.
• Woodward High School, 701 E. Central Ave.

Thursday, January 19, 5 p.m., at:
• Start High School, 2010 Tremainsville Rd.
• Waite High School, 301 Morrison Dr.

Posted on January 9, 2017

Families with students in grades 4 through 8 will have a chance to discover what most of the high schools within Toledo Public Schools have to offer on Thursday, January 12.

On that evening, the six comprehensive high schools of Toledo Public Schools – Bowsher, Rogers, Scott, Start, Waite and Woodward – along with Jones Leadership Academy and the Toledo Technology Academy - will have staff and students on hand to tell their stories of why they think their school is the best. The event at each school will run from 5 to 7:30 p.m.

This event is designed to take the place of 8th grade visitations to home high schools. (Toledo Early College High School is holding the third of its five Open Houses the following week, on Thursday, January 19, from 4:30 to 7 p.m.)

The staff and students at each high school have been working hard on their plans, all with the aim of having younger students get a true feeling of what it would be like to attend that high school.

For example, at Bowsher High School, demonstrations by student athletes, along with tips from their coaches, will be held, as will a full roster of cool demonstrations, experiments and class discussions. For example, there’s a presentation entitled, ‘Interested in Guitar?’ in Room 2204, while visitors to Room 2106 will get to make Oobleck (slime!).

There will also be performances by the jazz band, the drumline and the famous Rebelaires, as well as demonstrations by students in a number of Career Tech programs, including making a pair of dice in Precision Machining and getting a 3-D printer demo in the CAD program.

Jones Leadership Academy, started in the fall of 2014 and which will eventually have students in grades 7th through 12th, specializes in business, service learning and leadership skills to create and grow future trailblazers.

The school is unique among TPS high schools because its students are educated in gender-separated classes so they receive a more individualized education, but there are the sports teams and the clubs that are offered at traditional high schools.

Discover TPS, Leadership Academy staff members said, is a way "to showcase what both our school and community partnerships have to offer our students and future Mustangs."

Over at Rogers High School, each Career Tech program will offer mini presentations for interested families and all departments have planned an activity for students. For example, visitors can do a hands-on cheek cell activity in Science, play graphing Connect Four in Music, create a craft project in Art and test their knowledge in a trivia game in Social Studies.

Plus, there will be performances by the Dance Team and flash mob performances by the choir’s voice ensemble, alternating with the band. Also on hand will be student athletes, cheerleaders and National Honor Society members and the Rogers Boosters will be serving popcorn and drinks at the concession stand.

Finally, a parent meeting will be held in the library for current students in the AVID program. Students who want to learn about the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program can stop by Room 201, where a staff member can explain AVID and take names of incoming 7th and 8th grade students interested in the program.

It’s all about the demonstrations at Scott High School, where the second floor Science wing will be transformed into a laboratory, with a flame test demo; a water quality testing demo, a dissection demo; and a Physics demo. There will also be demonstrations from students in the Med Tech program and in instructional strategy demo from AVID students.

The cosmetology salon will be open for demonstrations and hair and nail services (donations are appreciated but are not required). And there will be performances by the Dawg House Dance Team, the Step Team, the Fantastic Dancing Machines’ Band and the orchestra and the choir.

The school’s television and radio station will be open for tours, as will the Precision Machining Lab. There will be athletic activities in the Fieldhouse and visitors will get a chance to have their picture taken with Scottie the Mascot. And finally, participants will receive raffle tickets for each department they visit and snacks will be served.

At Start High School, it’s all about the experiences, with the Foreign Language Department planning a ‘Passport Experience,’ while the Family & Consumer Science department will have visitors playing a budget board game and showing how to take care of a ‘baby.’

Younger students can explore the opportunities available through the DECA and Fashion Marketing program, get a feel for the school’s Distance Learning Lab and visit with the Drama Club’s wandering thespians who will be in costume.

There will be performances by the Chamber Strings ensemble, as well as from the Jazz Combo. Visitors will also get a chance to see a dissection in the Science Department, participate in an interactive presentation on loops in the Social Studies Department and get free blood pressure checks from the nurse.

Finally, there will be tours of Start’s Career Tech programs, including the Auto Tech, CAD Tech, Electrical Trades, Residential Remodeling and Precision Machine Tech programs. Especially of interest for the eighth graders will be the chance to meet the Freshman Cluster teams and participate in a question and answer session on this innovative program.

Toledo Technology Academy is holding an old fashioned Open House for students from all over to discover why TTA is a different kind of school. Interested students are urged to move fast to enroll because there are only a few slots remaining for the school’s 7th, 8th and 9th grades.

Students and staff members will on hand from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. to explain the story behind the school’s motto – A different kind of school. A different way to learn.

As its Open House promo says, “Our test scores rival all other schools in the region. We excel in academics and engineering technology. College credit, senior internships and project-based learning are all part of the TTA experience.”

Every department at Waite High School has planned a full roster of activities for visitors, starting with the demonstrations planned in the Career Center from students and teachers in the Auto Collision, Carpentry and HVAC programs. Instructors in the Career Tech Business program will be running mini lessons on finance and software apps.

The Family & Consumer Sciences Department will have various hands-on activities for students and handouts for parents and guardians. For example, the younger students will win a prize for classifying food items into the correct food groups, learn about the responsibilities of parenthood with computer programmed babies and get some tips on ‘managing transitions.’

The teachers in the Health & Physical Education department has designed exercise stations and an obstacle course and the visitors to the Teacher Education Exploration program will get to design their own flannel board piece of a character from the 10 Little Moneys Jumping on a Bed or from The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

The members of the Young Men of Excellence and Young Women of Excellence chapters will serve as greeters and there will be performances by the orchestra, show choir and marching band.

Visitors can enter new worlds if they stop by the Foreign Language department, where the French, German and Spanish programs will be on display and then they can wander to the Science department and watch the making of dry ice, DNA extraction and Flubber.

Over at Woodward High School, there will be continual demonstrations in all of the Career Tech classrooms, including the popular Print Shop and there will be Science demonstrations and even a cooking lesson.

The choir members will be raising their beautiful voices during a 7 p.m. presentation, and the dance students will be teaching lifelong exercises. Visitors will be able to learn how to dance Spanish style, during a presentation at 5:30 p.m. and they will be able to tour the elementary school art that will be set up in the school’s rotunda. That art work will be judged during Discover TPS.

And if visitors are hungry and want to come early to support the Woodward seniors, they can attend a fundraising dinner from 4 to 6 p.m. in the school’s cafeteria.

Posted on January 6, 2017