Issues with Toledo Public Schools

Attention Swamp Bubbles:

Do you know of any stories or issues with TPS in regard to the quality of education or issues pertaining to students? If so please post them here.

I am not talking about fabricated stories but actual issues that exist. There are alot of issues that happen on a daily basis in the Toledo Public Schools that go unnoticed. They get swept under the rug.

It's time to expose the mess within the school system.

No votes yet

Down's Syndrome does not stop local high-schooler from thriving
by Sandra Wiley-Steward
published February 2008

It was Fathers Day, June 21, 1992, when I gave birth to a beautiful little boy named Tyler James. Early the next morning, the doctors came in to my room to tell me they believe Tyler had Down's Syndrome.

I was scared, shocked, nervous and disappointed that my future was going to change paths and take a direction I was unaware and knew nothing about. I knew I had to make radical changes in my life, to enable Tyler to be a functional member in our society. However, this was my son, who I loved instantly and unconditionally, regardless of the challenges that lie ahead. I was going to do whatever was needed for my son.

Tyler was just two weeks old when he began physical and occupational twice a week and attended early intervention classes through Lucas County MRDD (Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities). I had to stop working full time and only worked weekends, so I could provide Tyler with all these possibilities throughout the week. I was a single mom and made it through many obstacles with the love and support of my family.

Tyler was walking at 14 months and potty trained at two years. At age 3, Tyler attended Toledo Public Schools Preschool program at Cherry Annex. At five, he “graduated” to Elementary school at Larchmont. The transition was difficult for me, because all the Federal laws and regulations, paper work and writing the proper educational goals, to meet Tyler’s needs. The IEP (Individual Education Plan) team required many decisions that I was not sure how to make in Tyler’s best interest.

An IEP is written to create measurable, academic educational goals, which meet the needs of each individual student — 17 percent of TPS students have an IEP team, which consists of a parent or guardian, teacher, special education teacher, school administrator and a district representative.

During Tyler’s first year at elementary school, the IEP team told me that Tyler needed more of a personal challenge than his special education self-contained classroom could provide. They would like to see him placed in a regular classroom, with assistance. I was terrified. Was this the best choice for Tyler? Well, it turned out to be a positive milestone for Tyler. He was challenged academically, socially, and physically and it was wonderful to see Tyler participate in all the school activities as a “regular” kid and benefit from all the opportunities. It was wonderful experience for Tyler.

Yet, during his middle school years, Tyler was placed in a self-contained "Cognitively Delayed" classroom. Students in junior high are going through many of their own struggles, so Tyler was not as accepted by his peers as he was in grade school. I asked Tyler where he was happy and he told me he wanted to “stay in his special class”. All I wanted was for Tyler to be happy. Therefore, Tyler remained in a “self contained” classroom for two years, because that was his decision, though he participated in home economics (known also as Family and Consumer Science) at McTigue Jr. High. This was a great experience for him to begin and learn the qualities of independence.

Today, Tyler now attends Rogers High School, which I chose because the teacher in the special education classroom made individual choices based on meeting the needs of the individual student. I respected her and was able to communicate with her easily. This tool is what will make any student successful, parent and teacher communication. With my involvement, family support and the support in the school, Tyler is active in a variety of programs; including a community service youth group, serves as freshman class Treasurer and is included in two regular educational classes. In addition, he participates in “Option IV”, a TPS vocational job-training program. He also is a member of Project Life, a collaborative program between The Ability Center of NW Ohio and TPS to encourage friendships of disabled and nondisabled peers.
For his two elective classes, Tyler and I decided on a keyboarding/computer course and the Rogers Choir for his inclusion. Originally, I encouraged the choir for a social skill. However, this past Christmas, as Tyler performed, he began to cry. I thought something was wrong with him. I asked, from the audience, if he was OK. Afterward, he told me “he was just so happy." He was so excited to be a part of a group, like other kids. I believe my support and involvement has allowed me to raise a happy, healthy, functional person in our society. I have done my job as his mom thus far.

My message to all parents of children with or without disabilities, be involved and communicate with your child’s school and teachers. The Toledo community and our public schools have many programs to involve your child. Take advantage of every opportunity.

Tyler having Down's Syndrome is a very little part of who he really is; a happy person, who is involved, loved and accepted by his family, peers, school and community.

Sandra Wiley-Steward is a Toledo resident and an active member of Toledo Public Schools Parent Congress, TPS PTO Leadership and a Special Olympics volunteer.

PS He now has his own column in the Roger newspaper, "Tyler's take" and it tells his "special" take on life. In addition, he is an active athlete in TPS Special Olympics.

This complaint was filed on December 19, 2007 with John Foley, I have omitted the student's names and refer to them as Jane and Mary Doe:

On December 17, 2007 it was decided by the
administration and the transportation department to
not close schools or to not have a two hour delay
because of monetary consequences for the school.
Consequently, students were left stranded at bus
stops, left on buses after arriving at schools
because walks and parking lots had not been shoveled
and made to walk to school where walks had not been
shoveled, thus making students walk in the street. All
of this occurred in very inclement weather.

One of the most egregious actions occurred at
Byrnedale when two female students, Jane and Mary Doe, thirteen and fifteen years old were
not allowed on the school bus after school because
their bus pass had expired. The bus passes had expired
that day. Jane and Mary's bus passes are for a
week. They had attempted to get new passes the school
day before but the computers were down and they were
unable to secure the passes. The bus driver adamantly
refused to allow the students on the bus even after
the intervention of the Dean, Mr. Brenneman and with
full knowledge of the adverse weather conditions. It
should be further noted that the bus driver collected
a dollar from the students who had a dollar and they
were allowed on the bus. Jane and Mary did not
have a dollar so they were refused passage on the bus.
Even with the expired bus pass they would have been
allowed on the bus if they had had a dollar.

No one called the parents to notify them that their
children were left stranded at the school and needed
to be picked up from Byrnedale. The Dean told Jane
to call her parent from the office. The student went
into the office and was told to leave the office
because there could be no calls made after school.
After the failed intervention of the dean and when the
bus driver still refused to transport the students,
the teachers, the principal and the dean left the two
students stranded at the school. As all of the
teachers were leaving the school, one teacher
volunteered to transport the students home but one of
the secretaries said "no, no, no" that that was not
allowed.

School was dismissed at 2:30 PM and when the students
did not arrive home at their normal time, the parents
became worried and began to search for the children.
By the time they found the children the parents were
distraught. The children were found at the school at
4:15PM without any adult present, huddled against the
cold, along with two disabled students.

Jane has chronic asthma and even this condition was
not taken into consideration when this child was
literally left out in the cold.

We are demanding a hearing for the record for the bus
driver, the dean, the principal and any other party
that is found culpable after a thorough investigation
for endangering the lives of the students Jane and
Mary Doe and the two students with disabilities.

Because schooling is mandatory in the state of Ohio,
the school system has an obligation to see that
students have safe passage to and from school. Once a
student leaves her/his home to attend school, the
school acts "in loco parentis." The school acts in
place of the parent. No parent would put their child
in harms way without grave consequences. TPS employees
have the same obligation to students, to not place
them in harms way without grave consequences.
Therefore we are demanding a hearing for the record
for the irresponsible behavior of the employees at
Byrnedale Junior High School. When a parent sends
their children to school it is understood that that
student will be in safe hands until the student reaches the
home at the end of the day.

Please contact:

Twila Page, Advocate, AAPA

This situation has not been rectified. The two students have enrolled in an online school for their safety.

You drop a ball on them now

Complaint filed with Governor after getting nothing but platitudes from John Foley.

African-American Parents’ Association
Our Children Our Destiny

August 15, 2007

Ted Strickland, Governor
State of Ohio

Vern Riffe Center, 30th Floor

77 South High Street

Columbus, Ohio 43215-6108

RE: Toledo Public Schools (TPS) District’s (specifically Pickett Elementary School) consequences for not adhering to the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) federal guidelines and why TPS has not been punished

Dear Governor Strickland:

This letter is an official complaint against the Toledo Public School (TPS) District and the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) for its blatant violation of laws governing the humane treatment of students at Pickett Elementary School. Pickett, during the 2005-2006 academic year, enrolled 456 students, of which 94.3% (430) were African-American and 95.9% (437) were economically disadvantaged. These students were led by the same principal. Pickett is in the seventh year of “Improvement” status with no improvement in sight and has been led by the same principal during these same seven years, although the principal’s name on the Annual Report Card differs from year to year (“Keith Scott” to “Richard K. Scott” to “R. Keith K. Scott”). We believe that the name changes of the principal was a ploy to confuse the corrective action that should have been instituted.

The No Child Left Behind Act (Public Law 107-110) gives distinct requirements for schools not meeting Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for two or more years in a row. Pickett has not met AYP for seven years in a row, and has not followed any of the requirements nor received any of the consequences for a school in this category. Pickett is also a Title I school, which qualifies it for additional funding. Under NCLB a school such as Pickett which has not met AYP for seven years is required to implement an Improvement Plan that would set the school on a course towards improving its academic standing. Pickett’s School Improvement Plan does not address nor meet NCLB requirements; consequently all Pickett students are being left behind, along with their parents and the entire Pickett community.

Pickett’s School Improvement Plan for the 2005-2006 academic year was developed by a team consisting of the principal and twenty-eight teachers (of which one was the Building Representative). No parent or community member was a part of this team. The team recommended a ten percent (10%) increase in Pickett’s achievement goals. These expectations are low; so are the standards. At this rate, the achievement goals will take eight or nine years to reach, if ever. This is unacceptable.

Governor Ted Strickland
August 15, 2007

PAGE 2

Pickett’s Building Data Summary (2004-2005 academic year) indicated that there were 469 projected students and 40 teachers (which is a classroom size of 12 students to 1 teacher). Also indicated in this report was the loss of 1,179 days of school due to suspensions. These are 1,179 days of instruction loss due to a student being out of school due to a discipline issue. A student not in school cannot learn. How to decrease these outrageous number of lost days was not addressed in Pickett’s School Improvement Plan.

Yet, a major part of the Plan was to recruit and retain students. This part of the Plan was well-documented, well-thought out, and had well-defined goals and strategies. This Recruitment and Retention Plan (3 pages long and broken down into a month-by-month strategy) was a part of the “Addendum to School Improvement Plan”. It is unacceptable that more emphasis was placed on retaining and recruiting students to a failing school than was placed on how to improve the school.

There are action steps that were required for Pickett to continue acting as a Title I school or as a school period. Pickett failed to implement any of these actions:

Ø Replace Pickett staff related to the failure;

Ø Institute and implement a new research-based and professionally-developed curriculum;

Ø Significantly decrease management authority at the school level;

Ø Appoint an outside expert to advise Pickett in its progress;

Ø Extend the school year or the school days for Pickett; and

Ø Restructure Pickett’s internal organizational structure.

After Year 5 of not meeting AYP, a Restructuring Plan was to take effect to do one or more of the following:

Ø Reopen Pickett as a public charter school;

Ø Replace all or most of the staff (which may include the principal) that are relevant to the failure to make AYP;

Ø Enter into a contract with an entity (i.e. private management company) with a demonstrated record of effectiveness to operate Pickett;

Ø Turn Pickett’s operation over to the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) (if permitted by State law and agreeable to ODE); and

Ø Any other major restructuring of Pickett’s governance arrangement that makes fundamental reform, such as significant changes in Pickett’s staffing and governance to improve student academic achievement in Pickett and that has substantial promise of enabling Pickett to make adequate yearly progress.

Governor Ted Strickland
August 15, 2007

PAGE 3

NOTE: Some part of the Pickett staff was changed because another TPS elementary school (King) was closed and some of those teachers bumped into positions at Pickett. The teachers came from a school that had been in Academic Emergency for two years prior to closing.

EFFORTS TO GET ANSWERS

As members of the Concerned Citizens Coalition In Support of African-American Toledo Public School Students, we spent the better part of September 2006 attempting to get answers as to why none of the actions were implemented or in process of being implemented. We were stymied at every juncture by individuals (including Mr. Scott, Pickett’s current principal, TPS District administrators and ODE personnel). Consequently, the students spent another year in academic crisis. ODE staff repeatedly told us that Pickett was an “Ed Choice” school, and that was a remedy that was instituted. On the face of these statements lies an integral part of a fallacy: if a parent was given the required information, was made aware of the “Ed Choice” program, and was able to navigate the process to transfer to a different school, there was still a roadblock in place because of transportation issues. Transportation was not offered, while yellow bus transportation was offered to both Grove Patterson and Old West End Academies (two schools with much lower numbers of children meeting the economically disadvantaged criteria).

It is imperative that all children are given a chance to succeed, but the children attending Pickett for the past seven years were not given a fair and just opportunity to be adequately prepared for their future.

How do we impact the future? We, as adults, impact the future by doing the heavy lifting for the children, all of the children, but especially for the disadvantaged, disenfranchised and the disenchanted child. This heavy lifting will consist of holding schools, teachers, principals, administrators and the Ohio Department of Education accountable for the mis-education of Black students at Pickett Elementary and other schools with predominantly Black students.

Because education in the State of Ohio is compulsory and subject to truancy laws for non-attendance, to make a child go to a school that fails to teach and then fails to implement a plan to improve the status of the school is akin to canceling the future of each and every child entering those school doors. In the 2005-2006 academic year, as stated above, 456 students entered Pickett on a daily basis, consistent with maintaining a 94.4% attendance record. Those students came to learn and $11,000 was collected from Ohio taxpayers for each of those students to accomplish that purpose.

Governor Ted Strickland
August 15, 2007

PAGE 4

Poverty and poor parenting (as indicated by the Pickett team) is not an excuse to not implement any of the recommendations or corrective actions as provided by NCLB.

We personally witnessed students being disciplined by being forced to eat lunch standing up while holding their trays. These students had committed some infraction and were segregated from their peers. This separation included standing in a section of the cafeteria where there were large piles of used and dirty clothing. A child who is disadvantaged does not equate with not having dignity.

We are requesting a thorough investigation by the Governor’s Office of Toledo Public Schools (TPS) for allowing Pickett Elementary School to ignore NCLB and a full and complete financial audit as to: where the funding came from; what the funding was used for, and; how the funding impacted the academic crisis currently taking place at Pickett Elementary School.

Regards,

Twila Page
African American Parents’ Association

how did it work for you?

in direct contrast to Sandy's child's good experience, I filed a complaint with the Ohio Department of Education concerning a student with a disability who was made to clean the lunchroom and empty trash from the lunchroom as a part of his schooling at Byrnedale. This case has been documented in the Toledo Journal.

We just received from ODE the results of their investigation. TPS was found at fault for not providing a free and appropriate education for this student. TPS now has to comply with corrective actions.

TPS will never do anything right on their own, you have to file paper on them.

My son does the recycling every week. He enjoys it and it is teaching him life skills. I sure as hell would not file a complaint with ODE on that. I am sure there is more to this story......

stop with the stories.

We will never see it the same way, so stop...............
It is what you make of it. I advocate for change as well. Did you not hear the health education issue of the BOE meeting. They work with me ( and many, many ,many, others), because I respectfully handle situations with a kind attitude towards everyone. Maybe they would work more closely with you if you gave them respect, it is a two way street you know.

how did it work for me? First of all I don't believe you read the entire document. Second of all I did not file the charges for me, I filed for the students, families and the Pickett community.

That's where you and TPS get it twisted.

I have a special education student who has contacted me from Scott. She wants to participate in Special Olympics, but granny does not drive, so she has no transportation. How can we get her involved?

Find someone from the area to provide transportation. Or better yet, you pick her up and take her. When I coached youth sports, I regularly picked kids up. It was just the thing to do so the kids could all participate.

concerning your son. I wish that is all I had to complain about. The issues I have raised are basic educational issues. Did you not read that a student with a disability was turned into a janitor at Byrnedale without his parent's consent. He is not even old enough to get a work permit but was made to clean the lunchroom and empty trash.

A student or his parent should not have to brown nose to receive an education for their student. It's all the same money from the same pot!

JUST SAY NO TO ISSUE 7 ON MARCH 4, 2008

Last time I looked, my nose was white. It is called working together............

I do not advocate the health education issue for my son, he has me to teach him what is lacking elsewhere. However, my concern is the other 17% on an IEP who may not receive and do not have the support networks to talk with.

I asked my students to bring in something that best described how they were feeling in that moment. It could be an essay, poem, picture - whatever. This is a poem one of my boy students wrote and brought in and I think it is so amazing. Clearly, this is a boy who has his own head on straight, despite his awful living conditions. (His mom died and he lives with dad. He has a 3.9 GPA and a full scholarship to college)

do you hate me, or do you claim you're trying to protect me

or do my accomplishments and achievement demote you directly

do you want me to be perfect, do you want me to be someone else

do you simply hate the sight of me, well then leave me by myself

do you hate me because i remind you of her from my wit to my eyes

do you want me to go away, do you even want to be in my life

do i remind you of everything you couldnt do when you were my age

is it becuase im better than you were back in those days

do you kno that sometimes, no most times, i hate you with a fire

get as far away from you as possible and to never come back is my desire

dont you know i miss her too, and sometimes i hate you for that

or maybe you do miss her, but antagonizing me wont bring her back

am i nothing but a burden, a heavy stone to be cast away

do you hate me for what I am today, or are you stuck in yesterday

do you notice when i do well, do you notice when I excell

because you called the cops on me, they put me in a cell

jail was the one place I said id never, ever be,

and b/c you drank too much, you took that from me

Why do you ruin everything i've worked so hard to create

I come to you in love, you push me away in hate

Im not mad becuase you suck as a father

I refuse to be bought, so dont even bother

nothing was ever given to me i've had to take what I got

its harder on these streets than you think, or maybe you just forgot

maybe you forgot your childhood, or maybe youre imitating your dad

you tried so hard to keep me from being like you by being an ass and that's sad

im not mad, that my next door neighbor had to teach me to ride a bike

or that the first time we had a serious conversation I was already your height

im not upset that my friends taught me how to drive a car

hell, maybe our relationship would be better if i was old enough to attend a bar

maybe if i was your potsmoking bestfriend, you'd pay me some attention

or some short-skirt wearing heffer, or prostitute, or others to mention

but im not anyone else, im just your son, your only blood-related offspring

who asks for nothing but does everything for your approval, and what do i get... NOTHING!

The teachers, staff and administrators are honored this student is a success. Our district works hard and works against a lot of obstacles.
VOTE YES TO ISSUE #7!!!!!!

Well no wonder you get special privileges.

and the school is supposed to meet them there. What are some of the obstacles. I don't see where this child's situation is an obstacle for the school. It is an obstacle for the child and one in which he has met head on and passed.

So what is the obstacle for you the teacher?

The student at Byrnedale has chores to do at home but was not hired to do janitorial work for Byrnedale and if your son is doing Rogers recycling I believe that would be against school policy, OSHA and AFSME.

There is no more to the story. It will come out in a press release within the next couple of days. Give me your e-mail address and I will copy you.

+++++++I have a special education student who has contacted me from Scott. She wants to participate in Special Olympics, but granny does not drive, so she has no transportation. How can we get her involved?++++++++++

What a dumb question. You go pick her up!

Special Olympics is ran by volunteers. I put a lot of time into raising money for the program to continue. Volunteers provides transportation, if needed, to games, tournaments and competition at the state level. However, we have training in a variety of sports year round thus means weekly-several times a week. I am not a bus service. I have 3 of my own boys that I am involved, a home and a husband that I also tend to. In addition to my personal obstacles.

An obstacle for many special education students is that their home is also special. Therefore, they have difficulty being involverd in the community. I am challenging you to find a solution. Do not throw it back at me, for I cannot take transportation of students as my responsibility. We all know the problems with TARPS and is that appropriate for a yound minded youth to travel. So what else can we do?

Just VOTE NO ! Show them that they need to do more. VOTE NO On ALL TAX ISSUES !

... fails to educate for the highest price tag range in the state, voting NO on the levy will ensure that the spendaholics in the system quite simply don't have the money any further.

We can't rely on those corrupt people to control TPS spending. WE HAVE TO DO IT. Cut off the supply of money. It's as simple as it is when you take a credit card away from a teenager ... and as necessary.

that you want me to find a solution for a Scott student. You can't challenge me to find a solution because I throw the challenge back at ya! Go pick her up! Take her when you take your son. Since her family is special give more of yourself to help this special family.

JUST SAY NO ON TUESDAY MARCH 4, 2008 ON ISSUE 7!!!!

Obviously you do not or will ever see my point. You advocate for kids, so help her out! I do enough and cannot provide transportation. You wanna help the people in our district and be a TRUE advocate, then find help for this young women.

there is more than one way of helping out in the community, and from where i see it, purnhrt IS helping out by advocating for the kids she talked about..

sandy, just out of curiosity, where do you teach? we have made several sacrifices to send our kids to a private school, and knowing TPS has so many closed minded teachers frankly makes tightening our budget that much more gratifying.

i know of a TPS teacher who is extremely racist, even his daughter feels bad for the black kids he teaches. nothing like having an even harder time at school if your teacher does not like you for the color of your skin. then again, i'm sure he's VERY fair when it comes to teaching.

FYI

Are TPS employees able to speak at BOE meetings? I am a mom, a wife, an advocate in TPS and a taxpayer.

NUTS!!

Stop the waste and the bleeding of tax dollars at TPS.VOTE NO .

you wrote "I asked my students to bring in something that best described how they were feeling in that moment." That is why I wondered if you had become a teacher.

Also wouldn't it be a breach of confidentiality if I you revealed to me the name of this Scott special education student. Just how would that work?

Not if you found transportation. I have her name and number, she called me on her own, not during school time. Therefore, it is a personal matter, not a TPS matter.
I could then contact her and let her know what has developed and if she and granny are ok with it. Then if she wants me to release her name and number I will do so with her permission. I am not stupid..................

Good try though Twila.
Dont turn this into a issue, I was asking for your help!

NUTS!

please elaborate on me being nuts...............I have never thought of myself in that way or state. But by calling me nuts is not going to solve the transporation challenge.
Perhaps I am nuts for believing you would do this positive task for a student in a learning community that is dear to you.

Understand this. You cannot make me "volunteer" doing something that you want me to do. Just because this is a Scott (black) student I have to be the one to provide transportation for her/him? Well, you go to the games/programs for the Special Olympics so why can't you transport the student along with your son. Her color won't rub off. :=)
She won't try to marry your son, I don't think. At least I hope she won't because you would be one rare mother-in-law.

I can't believe that you are that transparent that because this is a Scott (black) student I am expected to provide transportation. Scott is not the only school I advocate for. We (AAPA) have advocated for students in Maumee, Springfield, Penta, Crossgates, Longfellow, Oxon Hills, Maryland, Rogers, Walbridge, East side Central, Waite and more. I have advocated for black, white, Hispanic and Arab students, parents, teachers and para's. So don't just think I only advocate for Scott students.

And you call me "nuts". I am cool with that, coming from your comments.............

Woman Up!

Just say NO on Issue # 7 March 4, 2008..................

sandy & purnhrt, you guys need your own link. :)

mine is Twila's Page.

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