TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) – Tuesday was the first day of school at Toledo Public Schools.
There are numerous highlights for TPS this year. It is the second year of its transformation plan and the first year for big state changes. It has also finished building two new schools for the district.
"This is the year to refine it all. Last year was the year that we really rushed to get it all in place. This year, we're very excited. We cannot just take a breath, but start to look at the detail and make sure we have everything working," said Dr. Jerome Pecko, TPS superintendent.
Just a year ago TPS had combined its middle and elementary schools and set up several parts of its transformation plan. Pecko said it had a good start and this year looks to get better.
For example, more than 700 students have volunteered to take extra classes after school or during the summer to get the credits they need.
"We think that'll have an impact on improving our graduation rate," said Pecko.
Distance learning labs at each of the high schools have allowed students to take advanced placement or foreign language courses not offered at their school. The number of students enrolled in those courses has nearly doubled this year with more than 200.
"This is like a fresh page in the life of these children. Everything that they're doing today is going to be something new," said Brenda Hill, TPS board member.
Along with the district's own changes come state changes, such as the new emphasis on core subjects, as well as a new teacher and administrator evaluation system.
"It's something our district is gearing up to do," said Pecko.
This is also the end of the district's new building projects. Pickett and Longfellow have been built and students started classes there Tuesday. The schools are stocked with technology and are energy efficient.
Pickett's principal said she is happy about their first day.
"The students have been excited to come to the new building. The teachers have worked hard getting their rooms ready, and we're all ready to go," said Martha Jude, Pickett Elementary's principal.
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