The Belvedere Room at The Toledo Club was the place to be on Thursday, April 28, when the best and the brightest of Toledo Public Schools were honored at the annual Celebration of Excellence.

The valedictorians and salutatorians from the eight TPS high schools with graduating seniors were honored with a dinner and a special program, as were the recipients of scholarships from the Toledo Public Schools Foundation.

Students brought along special educators and family members who helped them on their journey and were treated to a speech from Eastern Michigan University communications professor Dr. Dennis Patrick that was heavy on practical advice. (DO read the syllabus and go to professors' office hours, DON'T sit in the front row and text while the professor is talking ...) The dinner was sponsored by Eastern Michigan.

Click here to learn more about the students who were honored: 2016 Celebration of Excellence program

The valedictorians and salutatorians were also asked what school experience caused them to say, 'I am TPS Proud.' Here are their stories: 

The Bowsher High School valedictorian is BAILEY ALLISON KOHRING and the salutatorian is LINDSEY ANN STOCKDALE.

Bailey, whose special guest at the Celebration of Excellence was music teacher Matt Fritz, says her TPS Proud moment involved a trip that the members of the National Honor Society recently made to a nursing home to play board games with the residents and to simply talk with them. She says, “I know this will be one of my TPS Proud moments because we are bringing joy to people.

Lindsey’s special guest was guidance counselor Matt Krueger. Her TPS Proud moment involves her experience as a Bowsher volleyball player. She writes, “This summer after tryouts, a foreign exchange student joined our team. There were many issues with language barriers but our team made a true effort to include her in every way possible, and she wound up being one of the star players on our team!”
Congratulations to Bailey and Lindsey.

KRISTEN ANN FINK is the valedictorian for Rogers High School and MONAY SHA’RON J. WILSON is the salutatorian.

Kristen's special guest was Honors Physics teacher Mary Kreuz. Kristen says she has always been TPS Proud but she feels it especially at track and cross country meets. She writes, “I’ve met a variety of people from other TPS schools. Many athletes I have met are exceptional: They’re dedicated and show sportsmanship – we compete in races but are cheering each other on at the end of the day. I’ve had nice conversations with the other coaches and created lifelong friendships with other athletes – it feels like everyone is part of the same community at meets. It feels amazing when people from all over the city are rooting for you; as well as seeing so many people around you working hard. Things like this make me TPS Proud.”

Monay plans to attend the University of Toledo, where she wants to major in finance or criminal justice. Her special guest was Dawn Hofmeister, teacher of Contemporary Foods and Child Development. She says her favorite TPS Proud moment was a field trip to McTigue Elementary her freshman year while in Mrs. Hofmeister’s Parenting/Child Development class. She writes, “During my time spent in the kindergarten classroom, I interacted with children of various ethnic backgrounds, intelligence levels and learning styles. As a result, I discovered firsthand the many demands that are placed on today’s teachers. This trip helped me develop and practice my leadership and public speaking skills. It helped me realize that I could make a positive difference in a child’s life simply by reading them a book or helping them with a craft project. This experience sparked my interest in helping others as well as the importance of community involvement.”
Congratulations to Kristen and Monay.


The Scott High School valedictorian for 2016 is BLAKE ALYSE MINTER and the salutatorian is KAMARIA NICOLE GLOVER.

Blake, whose special guest was science teacher Roxanne Allen, says she is proudest of the support that Scott gets from current and former students and others. She writes, “Every year around Homecoming, I feel the warmth of the community. Everyone comes together in preparation for the Homecoming football game, dance and coronation. People outside the Scott community come and join us and have a good time. I also get this feeling when I attend our annual Scott picnic. The mingling of the community makes me TPS Proud.”

Kamaria's special guest was Kyle Clark, a Social Studies teacher and AVID mentor. Kamaria writes of her TPS Proud moment, “The best experience I had was when every school was mourning because of the sudden loss of a [Woodward High School] girl whose nickname was LeeLee. In my community service class, we made posters for her and they were sent over to Woodward. Her death was something that was sad for everyone yet united us as a school and school district.”
Congratulations to Blake and Kamaria.

 

MEGHAN ELIZABETH VOGT is the valedictorian of Start High School and MILES STEPHEN SIBLEY is the salutatorian.

Meghan, whose special guest was English teacher Mary Mandley, says her proudest moment while in high school came when she volunteered for a blood drive.

Miles, whose special guest was Social Studies teacher Thomas Regalado, has a unique take on being TPS Proud. He writes, “I am proud of going to a school that is diverse in its student body. One of the most important things [in today’s world] is embracing diversity.”
Congratulations to Meghan and Miles.

 

Toledo Early College High School this year has two valedictorians as well as a salutatorian. MARIAM SAMI ABOU-DAHECH and MARWA ISSA HASSAN are this year’s valedictorians and SARAH ELIZABETH NEEPER is salutatorian. 

Mariam, whose special guest was University of Toledo English teacher Michael Hiser, writes, “I am TPS Proud because of the opportunity to be able to attend Toledo Early College. If it wasn’t for this TPS school, I wouldn’t have been pushed to reach my academic potential. Also, I wouldn’t have been ready to take college courses as a freshman in high school. Ultimately, if it wasn’t for my experience at this school, I wouldn’t be graduating this year with 64 college credits already completed, and that in itself is enough for anyone to be TPS Proud.”

Marwa, whose special guest was history teacher Mona Al-Hayani, writes, “I am TPS Proud because by attending Toledo Early College, I was exposed to a variety of different experiences. For example, I volunteered at the Toledo Hospital, participated in the National MS Walk, the JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes and ran in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. Through these experiences, I was introduced to so many different types of people. My high school career also greatly prepared me for college as I’ve been taking classes at the University of Toledo throughout all of high school. I will graduate with 58 college credits and I am eternally grateful for this opportunity that I was awarded because I know that it is a unique one.”

Sarah's special guest was Social Studies teacher Randy Nissen. She writes of her TPS Proud moment, “Without my high school education at Toledo Early College, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to meet such a diverse group of people who have given me more of a global worldview. In addition to becoming a more well-rounded person, I will graduate with 60 college credits, giving me a huge head start over most high school graduates. I am TPS Proud because TPS has made me a better student and person.”
Congratulations to Mariam, Marwa and Sarah.


AUDREY ROSE AHRENDT is the valedictorian of Toledo Technology Academy and OLIVIA SYNCLAIR MCFARLIN is TTA’s salutatorian.

Audrey, whose special guest was English teacher Emily Kriegel, writes of her TPS Proud moment, “Last year, a fellow classmate’s house caught on fire. His brother passed away and he had severe injuries. We came together as a school and did different fundraisers to support his family. We raised a [great deal] of money through this. This is an experience that made me say that I am TPS Proud.”

Olivia, whose special guest was engineering design teacher Deb Carper, says her TPS Proud moment came when Dr. Durant traveled to Tennessee to watch the school’s FIRST Robotics Team compete at a competition. Olivia writes, “He drove all the way down to support us - who else gets to say that? I love my FIRST team and so does the superintendent and it certainly makes me feel TPS Proud.” Olivia was not at the Celebration of Excellence because she was with the robotics team at the FIRST Robotics world championships in St. Louis.

Congratulations to Audrey and Olivia.

 

KAITLYN PEARL WHITMER is the valedictorian of Waite High School and BRITTANY MARIE MCDANIEL is the salutatorian.

Kaitlyn, whose special guest was orchestra teacher Frank Ramon, writes, “The best example I have of an experience where I was TPS Proud was when I volunteered to help with the freshman kick-off day and I got to see how many people care … about the future of this city’s youth. The volunteers, who were my classmates, made the freshmen feel a lot more welcomed.”

Brittany writes of her TPS Proud moment, “Waite has a large number of special education students and it is always amazing seeing other students help them out. One of the guys came into my gym class and started to try making a basket from half court. The guys in there gave him the ball back every time he missed -- and we all clapped as he finally made it. He ran out with a huge smile on his face and I honestly had tears in my eyes.” Brittany invited Joe Boyle, who teaches World War II, U.S. History and American Government as her special guest, but unfortunately due to illness, was not able to be at the Celebration of Excellence.
Congratulations Kaitlyn and Brittany.


CALEB JON FOUTS is the valedictorian of Woodward High School and LINDSAY HACKNEY is the salutatorian.

Caleb, whose special guest was visual arts teacher Cassandra Paniagua, writes, “I was TPS Proud when my entire AP Government class levied for TPS, unifying across the city and rallying support. We were all working for a better future.”

LINDSAY’s special guest this evening is Stephanie Flores, an English II and Senior Composition teacher. Of her TPS Proud moment, Lindsay writes, “Last year, I went to UT for orientation about their early college classes. Students from every school in the TPS area were led outside where Dr. Durant was waiting with area news crews. It was a surprise to everyone. It felt so good to be one of those students standing in the crowd. I felt proud to be standing next to Dr. Durant as he honored the group of privileged TPS students.”
Congratulations Caleb and Lindsay.

Posted on April 29, 2016

Registration will open on Monday, May 2, for this year's Toledo Public Schools Summer Academy, which will be held from June 7-July 7.

The academy offers all TPS students - and those from other school districts - a chance to earn or recover credits during the summer months.

A variety of coursework is available to students through an online platform. Students may sign up for one course at a time and could be eligible to enroll in a second course. That will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Students may complete coursework at home, their local library or a TPS high school computer lab. However, students must attend at least two of the four weekly sessions at a TPS computer lab, which is staffed by certified and highly qualified teachers. The labs that will be open are at these high schools: Bowsher, Scott, Start and Waite.

All tests and exams must be completed in a TPS computer lab.

To learn more about the 2016 Summer Academy, click here: Cover Letter and here: Brochure for Summer Academy. Students interested in attending must fill out the following forms: Emergency Medical Form; Internet Use Policy

Posted on April 25, 2016 

The top athletes in a number of sports – as well as those who carry high grade point averages – were honored on Wednesday, April 20, at the annual All City Sports Night.

The event, held this year at Scott High School, was designed to honor Athletes of the Year -- as well as All-City teams -- for baseball, softball and track and field for the spring 2015 season, as well as for the fall seasons of cross country, football, tennis and volleyball and the recently concluded winter seasons of basketball and wrestling.

Click here for a program that lists all of the student athletes: All City Sports Night program

Posted on April 22, 2016

More than 200 people who make the district run - the volunteers - were feted on Thursday, April 14, at the Annual Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon held at the UAW Hall on Ashland Avenue.

The audience was treated to a delicious lunch by Chef Les and heard stirring remarks by Dr. Romules Durant, CEO/Superintendent of Toledo Public Schools, along with Toledo Board of Education Vice President Chris Varwig and board members Stephanie Eichenberg and Polly Gerken.

The highlight of the luncheon was honoring seven Outstanding Volunteers and four Community Partners whose selfless dedication are making a difference in the lives of the district's children. Here is a little bit about those volunteers:

The first Outstanding Volunteer honored was Pariss M. Coleman, a TPS retiree who volunteers at Beverly Elementary, where his daughter is the assistant principal. He was nominated by both Darla Englehart and Beatriz C. Briones Martinez.
Darla Englehart writes, “When Mr. Coleman can’t be in the cafeteria, he will call up our classes. He opens the little one’s stuff for them and helps us collect trays and garbage. He talks to the kids and gets them to clean up their messes. He comes every day except when he is sick or has to help his brother. When a little one is down, he will buy [him or her] a treat with his own money.”
Beatriz Briones Martinez calls Mr. Coleman ‘a wonderful volunteer,’ and adds, “Mr. Coleman walks around the cafeteria [during our lunch periods] with a trash can, picking up the student trays and trash. I appreciate it a lot, and before he leaves, I remind myself to tell him thank you, which I truly mean. Mr. Coleman might not realize how much he contributes to simplifying our jobs by his actions. In addition, he spends some of his personal money in the Student-A-La-Cart Room, buying at least two students a day a treat. He doesn’t have to but he chooses to do so. This is a man who deserves acknowledgement …”
Congratulations to Pariss Coleman.

The next Outstanding Volunteer is Nancy Joy, nominated by Jack Hunter, the principal of Chase STEMM Academy. Mr. Hunter says, “I am nominating Nancy Joy for a volunteer award for her unwavering volunteerism toward the children of Chase STEMM Academy. Nancy is a weekly volunteer who comes to Chase to mentor three students. She works with them on goal planning, current schoolwork and social skills. Ms. Joy also encourages all students she interacts with to reach their goals. Ms. Joy has been instrumental in helping to foster the relationship with Owens Corning, as well as helping to build new relationships with Mercy Medical and other community organizations. She is currently spearheading a Healthy School campaign. She has solicited donations for all students to receive a school water bottle to promote drinking more water. She is working on donations for pedometers for all students. In the past, she has donated community monies she has received to benefit Chase. Chase now has a rock wall in its gym due to Ms. Joy’s generous donations. Ms. Joy is a true asset to the city of Toledo, Toledo Public Schools and Chase STEMM Academy.”
Congratulations to Nancy Joy.

The third honoree comes to us from Glendale-Feilbach Elementary. Principal Andrew Duncan writes, “Regina Molnar is an outstanding volunteer who is at Glendale-Feilbach almost every day. She coordinates our library volunteers, book fair, picture day, parent involvement nights and after school activities, as well as helps in the office. Mrs. Molnar always makes sure our students have what they need to be successful. She is a positive person and always has a smile on her face. She goes above and beyond each day for our students. We could not begin to repay her for her volunteer hours and what she does for the school and students.”

Congratulations to Regina Molnar.


Dr. Ward Barnett, principal of Jones Leadership Academy, nominated our fourth Outstanding Volunteer, Debra Kay Hill. Dr. Barnett says, “Ms. Hill has been a parent volunteer with TPS for five years and this year has been elected PTO vice president. Her continuous dedication and support of the students and staff is outstanding. We are honored to recognize all her contributions in helping us make Jones Leadership Academy TPS Proud.”
Congratulations to Debra Hill.

Principal Marsha Jackisch of Marshall Elementary nominated Sue Finck, our fifth Outstanding Volunteer, because she is an ‘indispensable asset’ who singlehandedly runs the school store and organizes and runs Marshall’s Santa Shop. Mrs. Jackisch writes, “She gathers all of the items including sweets, clothes and small toys. Students are excited to see her because they purchase Christmas items with their Marshall money for family members. Our students would not have the opportunity to purchase gifts for their family without Miss Sue. She also spends time reading to various grade levels to encourage literacy. Our students enjoy this quality time. Overall, Sue Finch is an amazing TPS Proud volunteer at Marshall. Her kind, giving nature, matched with her determination to improve the lives of our students, makes her more than a 30 year veteran to TPS, but makes her an outstanding volunteer and someone our students aspire to emulate.”
Congratulations to Sue Finck.

Denise Bartlett is our sixth Outstanding Volunteer, nominated by Raymer Elementary Principal Barbara Ferguson because of her daily devotion to the school. Ms. Ferguson writes, “She can be seen in the cafeteria at breakfast and lunch, cleaning tables and helping students. She lends a hand to teachers and students in music and art classes. In the office she helps the secretary by counting flyers, newsletters, report card envelopes, etc. She organizes items that have been donated to the school. She reads with younger students to help them with their reading skills. She also belongs to the parent group at Raymer providing assistance with their activities. Denise is an unsung hero at Raymer. She always has a smile on her face and is always willing to help. Her help is invaluable.”

Congratulations to Denise Bartlett.

Yvonne Martin Morrison, the library media specialist at Riverside Elementary, nominated Barbara Hill as our final Outstanding Volunteer because she never misses a day in the library, regardless of the weather. She says, “Every library day, Barbara rode the bus to volunteer in the library because she gave her word she would be there. Barbara genuinely cares about the value of the library being accessible to the students at Riverside. Our students have learned a great life lesson regarding the importance of dedication and loyalty because they see Ms. Hill each and every time they come to the library. And since she lives in the neighborhood, many of them know Barbara has to overcome obstacles to get there. Barbara’s commitment and perseverance have earned her recognition and a huge thank you to our star volunteer.”
Congratulations to Barbara Hill.

Our first Outstanding Community Partner honoree is Pastor Laura Bensman and St. Andrews United Methodist Church.
Lynn Pearson, director of the district’s Early Childhood Program, writes, “In spring of 2015, Pastor Laura was introduced as Crossgate’s Preschool Faith Partner. We immediately met to determine ways that the church could be involved in our program. This was a very unique situation as they are the only Preschool Faith Partner. Since our meeting, we have been blessed to work with them in so many ways.”
Ms. Pearson recounted a long list of the help, from donations of toiletries and warm clothes, to sponsoring family nights to treating teachers to Muffin Mondays. Our favorite was, “[They] volunteer at all of our family activities. This allows our teaching staff to have time with their students and families,” Ms. Pearson writes.
She concludes, “The impact that they have made on our program is unbelievable! They have allowed us to focus more on the needs of our students and families when we are able to meet face to face with them. They are truly committed to the Crossgates community and we love having them as our neighbor and faith partner.”
Congratulations to Pastor Laura Bensman and St. Andrews United Methodist Church.

Our second Community Partner is Melvin Thomas, the after school director at Old West End Academy. He was nominated by Principal Kathy Gregory, who wrote a lengthy nomination letter that included details of Mr. Thomas’s work with students, parents and school administrators as the coordinator of the Kids Unlimited after school program. Here is a sample of what he does from Mrs. Gregory: “Mr. Thomas is a man of great character and humility. He often works behind the scene to support the needs of the students. He has literally given his shirt off his back and shoes off his feet to students who were in [need], always performing these acts of kindness in private and without wanting any recognition or attention.
Mr. Thomas is a father figure to many of our students who lack that presence at home. He spends much of his personal time taking students to and from events and activities because their own parents aren’t able to do so. He teaches our young men how to conduct themselves as gentlemen. Some of his valuable lessons include but are not limited to, teaching the young men to hold the door for the ladies, how to knot a tie and the nutritional benefits of foods. These acts are not in his curriculum; however, Mr. Thomas realizes the importance of building strong relationships with the students.
Mr. Thomas is TPS Proud as he supports the vision and mission of the school district. He also volunteers with the Young Men of Excellence (YMOE) interest group and completes weekend projects with the students, providing leadership and mentorship. He ‘pays it forward’ by going above and beyond the expectations.”
Congratulations to Melvin Thomas.

Our third Community Partner honoree is Tom Volk, owner of Ohio Belting and Transmission, nominated by Karla Spangler, the district’s director of Career Preparation and Readiness, who says Mr. Volk is ‘beyond deserving’ of this award. She writes, “Tom runs a business, not only in Toledo, but also in Indianapolis, and yet finds time to support Toledo Public Schools in any capacity asked of him.
Tom serves on the Toledo Technology Advisory Committee and the Youth Career Connect Executive Steering Committee. He also serves on Dr. Durant’s Business Advisory Committee, just to name a few.
Tom is not only an expert in understanding the needs of students and staff, but he finds a way to communicate those needs to the right people to ensure that the needs are being met. Tom is a teacher, listener and doer.
Tom has a passion for public education, and has been involved with TTA since it was a program at Libbey. He brings a refreshing ‘business sense’ to the educational process, while at the same time recognizing the differences inherent in the educational system. We spend much time talking about involving businesses in our processes in order to better prepare our students for the real world. There is no better example of this than the work Tom does with the Toledo Public School System.”
Congratulations to Tom Volk.

Our last Community Partner honoree is Mr. Craig Whitaker, nominated by Michelle Coughlin of the district’s Curriculum and Fine Arts/Music Department. She writes, “Mr. Whitaker has been working with our Fine Arts and Music Department, finding and setting up donations of pianos to our district schools that do not have working pianos or pianos that are not in good working condition.
Purchasing new pianos is not something that our district can afford and this is a wonderful and generous program. This has been very helpful to our Music Department.”
Congratulations to Craig Whitaker.

Posted on April 15, 2016

Chess-playing students in grades second through eighth - whether at an area elementary school or homeschooled -- have been invited to participate in the 13th Annual TPS Elementary Chess Tournament that will be held on Saturday, April 30.

The tournament, to be held at Beverly Elementary at 3548 S. Detroit, will be held from 9:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. (with check-in starting at 8:30 a.m.). There will be participation prizes, as well as the awarding of individual and team trophies.

If students missed the April 15 deadline to turn in completed registration forms, they can still participate by paying $5 at the door. 

For information, here is everything a student needs to know about the event: 2016 TPS Elementary Chess Tournament RegistrationSchedule and Details; Tournament Rules

The tournament was founded 13 years ago by the chess clubs at Beverly and Whittier elementary schools as a way for students to advance their chess skills while having fun.