Sojourner’s Truth Staff
If you are a student in the Toledo Public Schools district and you know exactly what you want to be when you grow up, chances are TPS has a way for you to get a head start on achieving your goals. On the other hand, if you are a student and have no idea at all what lies ahead, the chances are that the full menu of TPS options is not going to make it any easier for you – there is now so much to choose from and the choices are only going to increase over the next few years.
“We are excited about the opportunities that exist and we are continuing to work on doing what’s best for our students,” said TPS Superintendent Romules Durant, EdD during a luncheon as he reviewed current choices and unveiled upcoming ones.
Students don’t have to go to Chicago or New York to chase their dreams, he said. “You have what you need in Toledo.”
Those needs might include dreams of a medical career, an aviation career or one in engineering, education or business, to name a mere few choices. TPS is trying not only to provide educational opportunities in a vast number of disciplines but also to make such choices as financially feasible as possible.
If a student has an eye on becoming an accountant, a broadcaster or an auto designer, she can start to prepare for such career choices and gain valuable college credits during her high school years, to defray the costs typically incurred in higher education.
Already in existence are Jones Leadership Academy, the Aerospace and Natural Science Academy, Toledo Technology Academy, Toledo Early College and Toledo Pre-Med and Health Sciences Academy. In addition to those choices students can opt to participate via the Virtual Academy High School.
The Aerospace and Natural Science Academy, for example, has an enrollment of 308 students this year and the aviation arm is located at the Toledo Airport while the Natural Science courses are at the Botanical Gardens. Kids are learning, said Durant, right in the middle of the action.
Kids are also earning college credits in this particular Academy, just as they are at Toledo Tech, Toledo Early College and Toledo Pre-Med. In Toledo Early College, for example, last year’s graduating class had an average grade point average of 3.4; 70 percent of the students had earned 55 college credits and 55 percent had earned an associate’s degree.
The Pre-Med program just started in September and is located at Toledo Hospital – where the action is – and it is possible for students to gain as much of a $130,000 financial advantage as they enter the expensive college pre-med programs. At Toledo Tech, 40 percent of graduates this past year were offered full-time jobs.
Such programs also are not limited to the classrooms. Summer internships and paid summer jobs are also being offered to participants, noted Durant.
Durant also introduced the TPS plans for the future with such specialized courses of study: a construction academy; an educators’ academy, a maritime academy and a performing arts academy.
The idea for these future projects, as with the current ones, is to get students into the locations that make sense and to put them in a position to earn college credits.
The construction academy has the approval of 16 local unions, is available to student in grades seven through 12 and will provide mechanical, electrical, plumbing, architectural courses, among others. In addition, kids will have the opportunity to work in the field handling heavy equipment and will be able to earn college credits.
The maritime academy will be located in Point Place – near and on the water, the educators’ academy at the University of Toledo College of Education. The performing arts academy will partner with local entities to provide a wide array of choices for youngsters focused on the arts.
“We have to trust that we can raise kids and train them the right way,” said Durant.