For 175 years, Toledo Public Schools has been one of the most influential institutions in the history of our city. The lives of hundreds of thousands of Toledoans have been formed within the walls of their neighborhood schools, leading to each one’s mark on the future of our society.  From its inception on May 8, 1849 to present day, TPS remains a progressive, forward-thinking school district.


May 8, 1849
Toledo Public Schools is established with the election of school board officers.
La Grange School is the first brick schoolhouse to open.
August 15, 1853
The cornerstone is laid for Toledo High School, on the site of where the main Toledo-Lucas County library stands today.
Toledo High School opens for students.
The first graduating class of Toledo High School has three students: William H. Smith, Olive Parmelee, and Amos W. Crane.
June 26, 1871
On this day, the Toledo Board of Education voted 4 to 3 for the elimination of separate classes for African American students in the school district. One vote had changed the course for minority students allowing them to have the equivalent access to education as their white counterparts in Toledo. Although this same resolution failed the previous year with the opposite vote of 4 to 3 in favor of retaining the division among the races, the fight for school equality in Northwest Ohio started much earlier.
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Ada M. Ritchie began her 50-year teaching career three months before her graduation in 1873 from Toledo High School by filling in for a sick teacher. It can easily be said that she taught many early prominent Toledoans at the turn of the century. Ms. Ritchie transferred to Scott High School when it opened in 1913 and was nicknamed the Grand Old Lady of Scott. 
Alonzo A. Lott becomes the first African American to graduate from Toledo High School. He petitioned the board of education to attend Toledo High School through a letter to the editor printed in the Toledo Commercial in 1870, but was initially denied.
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On April 15, 1889, the Ohio state legislature passed the compulsory attendance law requiring children from ages 8-12 to attend school. John Disher is hired as the first truant officer for the district.
March 11, 1895
Tragedy struck Toledo High School on March 11, 1895, as the top of the building caught fire.  The old bell tolled it’s last ring as it fell inward to the ground.  The Manual Training building and the auditorium, which was a later addition to the high school, were saved. The TPS board minutes reflect the gratitude of the Toledo fire department for saving so much of the school.
September 1898
Toledo High School was rebuilt at a cost of $135,000 and opened in September 1898 at the same location as the original school.  
Pauline Steinem was elected to the Toledo Board of Education in 1904 and became the first woman elected to any public office in Toledo. In 1908, she led the crusade for the passage of a bond levy which provided money to build two new high schools, one on each side of the Maumee River.
Illinois School housed open air classes for students defined as “physically underdeveloped children.”  It was believed that by leaving windows open and exposing students to more fresh air they would be healthier and their disabilities could either be cured or lessened by this exposure. 
September 8, 1913
Scott High School, designed by renowned architect David Stine, opens on September 8, 1913, with 1,193 students, most coming from the old Toledo Central High School. The 1913 football team was considered a combined Scott-Central team until Waite High School opened the following year.  Scott remains a cornerstone for the Old West End community today. 
Frances Irene Ambers, a 1911 graduate from Toledo High School, became the first African American teacher hired by TPS.  She began her 36-year career in 1913 with the district at Erie School, then transferred to the Industrial School housed in the old Toledo High School and completed her tenure at Gunckel School. A scholarship at the University of Toledo still exists in her honor for those students wishing to pursue a career in education.  
Waite High School opens on the east side of the Maumee River.  Contrary to popular urban legend, Waite was not built backward and the architect, David L. Stine, did not commit sucide.  The school was always planned to face East Toledo. 
Fulton School is the first Toledo school to adopt the Open Air policy where windows were kept open all year to help prevent the spread of disease. Teachers and students donned flannel robes with hoods while parents served hot chocolate. The only downside was that the students' inkwells often froze. 
The Toledo Crippled School opens with Nackie Wright as the teacher of six girls and two boys. This building was officially named Charles Feilbach School in 1924. Feilbach was a member of the TPS Board of Education and the Toledo Rotary who fought tirelessly to aid these students. A more permanent and accessible building - also bearing his name - was constructed behind Cherry School and opened in 1931.

Originally called South Side High (until formally being named Libbey High School), this building was erected to relieve overcrowding at Scott and Waite high schools. Situated on 35 acres with five full acres of floor space, the Old English style building was a landmark of the South End community until it was demolished in 2012.

First begun as a manual training school downtown in the old Toledo Central High School, Woodward High School opened in 1928 in Toledo's north end as a comprehensive high school. Named after Calvin M. Woodward, it remains the only TPS high school not named for a local Toledoan. Woodward was a pioneer in the manual training movement.
Ruby K. Crampton was elected to the Toledo Board of Education in 1932, becoming only the third female to hold that position since 1849. Crampton began teaching in TPS in 1921 at Scott High School, but became so frustrated with the educational direction of the district that she resigned and ran for a seat on the board. 
Enrollment at TPS tops 45,000 students; however, the Great Depression halts construction of much needed new schools as the district loses tax-based dollars. The Works Progress Administration (WPA), created by the federal government in 1935, helped offset this loss by providing funding, maintenance, and the construction of nine schools, including Old Orchard School.
Edward Leslie Bowsher becomes superintendent of TPS and serves in this capacity until 1958. To date, Bowsher is still the longest-serving superintendent in TPS history. 
Macomber Vocational High School opens. Named for Irving Macomber, a school board member from 1908 to 1913, it was said that the lights at Macomber were never turned off during World War II since many of the classes dealt directly with war production. Originally known as the Craftsmen, later the MacMen, the Macomber teams led the school to become a powerhouse in the athletic world.
Whitney Vocational  High School opens and is named after Harriet Whitney, the first female teacher in TPS in the 1830s. Garnet Thompson (pictured here), a long-time TPS vocational education teacher, fought vigorously along with parents for the creation of Whitney High School to provide equal education to women. It closed in 1991, along with Macomber, and was eventually demolished.
Emory Leverette, principal of Gunckel School, becomes the first African American administrator in TPS. The old Hamilton School on Manhattan Boulevard is renamed Leverette Junior High in 1980 in his honor.
Toledo Public Schools is the seventh largest employer in the City of Toledo, with enrollment topping 52,000 students. The district has 54 elementary schools and six traditional high schools, including Bowsher and Start, which both open this year. 
Adams Township is annexed by the City of Toledo. All Adams Township schools, including Rogers High School, become part of Toledo Public Schools.
Glendale School and Feilbach School, both built during the 1920s and in desparate need of new facilities, are combined to form the ideal educational setting for inclusion of physically impaired children into a regular environment.
Crystal Ellis becomes the first African American superintendent in TPS history.
Toledo Public Schools celebrates 150 years of educational excellence with an all-city schoolwide concert at the Toledo Museum of Art.