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 branch of the Toledo Lucas County Public Library stands today.
Toledo High School opens for students. This was the same year that TPS started providing equal education for girls - while New York, Boston, and Philadelphia were only providing high school educations to boys. Olive Parmlee was the first woman to graduate in the first THS graduating class in 1857. 
The first graduating class of Toledo High School has three students: William H. Smith, Olive Parmelee, and Amos W. Crane.
Emily Shurtz, born on November 19, 1870, is employed by TPS for 39 years, with 32 of those years spent as principal of Lagrange School. That school, built in 1851, is the district's earliest elementary building and is rebuilt twice more until it is eventually closed for good in 2012. Emily's father, Andrew, is the contractor on the original 1851 school building.
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 begins 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 teaches many early prominent Toledoans at the turn of the century. Ms. Ritchie transfers to Scott High School when it opens in 1913 and is 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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1877 photo of Erie School students with teacher Maria Hibbard. Teacher training is extremely limited and often only includes observing veteran teachers and then substituting for a short time. 
On April 15, 1889, the Ohio state legislature passes the compulsory attendance law requiring children from ages 8-14 to attend school. John Disher is hired as the first truant officer for the district.
March 11, 1895
Tragedy strikes Toledo High School on March 10, 1895, as the top of the building catches fire. The old bell tolls its last ring as it falls 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.  
The first school named after Morrison R. Waite was actually on the west side of the river, not the east. Waite School, located at Waite and Fernwood avenues, opens in 1899; however, with the opening of Waite High School in East Toledo, this school's name is changed to Roosevelt in 1919 to avoid confusion. The school is rebuilt in 1964 and is renamed in 1968 to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. A new King school is built in 2007.

Carl T. Cotter graduates from Toledo High School in 1900; he returns to his alma mater in 1911 as Supervisor of Manual Training and Domestic Science for TPS.

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First named Cycledale School because it is located across from a bicycle factory, Glenwood School opens in 1901. It boasts one of the best indoor pools in the city, measuring 30 X 30 feet, including a plunge bath. Glenwood is rebuilt in 1961 and again in 2007 on the same location.
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 houses open air classes for students defined as “physically underdeveloped children.”  It is believed that by leaving windows open and exposing students to more fresh air they would be healthier and their disabilities can 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, becomes the first African American teacher hired by TPS. She begins her 36-year career in 1913 with the district at Erie School, then transfers to the Industrial School housed in the old Toledo High School and completes 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 national media declares Scott High School national football champions in 1916, 1919, 1922, and 1923. Nicknamed the Maroons prior to the Bulldogs, the team plays foes as far away as Everett, Washington, and Marblehead, Massachusetts. Scott records 406 points against its opponents’ collective 18 in 1916, including a 57-0 win over rival Waite High School.
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.

Jones Junior High School is built in 1926 to serve 700 seventh through ninth grade students. Named after Samuel "Golden Rule" Jones, it is constructed on the same location where Broadway Elementary once stood. Jones School boasts one of the largest school libraries in the city and houses a manual training program for those pupils who wish to pursue vocational education. The original building is torn down and the school relocates to Gunckel Park in 2005. Today, Jones Leadership Academy of Business is an accredited TPS high school. 
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.
The TPS Aeronautics program begins in 1929 at Toledo Vocational High School; Lawrence L. Smart, a pilot during World War One and a licensed aircraft and engineering mechanic, was the first instructor. In 1938, the Aeronautics Shop relocates to Macomber High School. In 1976, classes start being held in the new Aerospace Center at Toledo Express Airport and certification for students is granted that year from the Federal Aviation Administration. Today, the school continues as the Aerospace & Natural Science Academy of Toledo. 
September 1931
Built on the site of the Toledo contagious disease hospital, Thomas A. DeVilbiss High School opens during the height of the great depression in September 1931. The student body is drawn mostly from Scott, Woodward, and Libbey high schools. Teachers are paid in script instead of money and the band uniforms are purchased by Henry Page, Toledo dairy farmer, since no school funds are available. The Henry Page Stadium is dedicated in 1934. 

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The Great Depression impacts Toledo on a large scale.  Students often attend school just to receive a hot meal since there are limited financial resources at home. In 1932, the segregated PTAs of Gunckel School ignore the accepted social barriers and combine forces to provide 10,000 hot breakfasts for their students throughout the school year. Parents and community volunteers rotated shifts feeding the bellies of hungry children and are rewarded for their efforts with great praise and smiles from the students. 
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 is said that the lights at Macomber never turn off during World War II since many of the classes deal directly with war production. Originally known as the Craftsmen, later the MacMen, the Macomber teams lead 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.
National Defense Training is added to the TPS curriculum in 1940 to help facilitate the war effort. More than 10,000 students and adults are trained. It's said that the "lights never went off at Macomber" Vocational High School during World War II as the school pivots its Career Tech program to help with war production.

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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.
February 19, 1945
As the amphibious assault steams toward the island of Iwo Jima on February 19, 1945, "three cheers for our Jones Junior High, it's the best junior high in Toledo," can be heard above the din from one of the landing craft. Originally written by Marjory Stottler, Jones Class of 1931, and set to the tune of Stars and Stripes Forever, the song became infamous around the world. During the late 1940s, Jones students spend time addressing printed postcards with the lyrics to send to returning servicemen who wonder if there really is a Jones Junior High. 
Fire ravages Temperance School in Michigan in 1946 as 282 children flee the burning building in less than a minute. Toledo Public Schools offers space for these displaced students at Hamilton School on Manhattan Boulevard.
For the next six years, two school systems using different educational regulations across state lines share Hamilton.  Hamilton School returns to its original function as an elementary school until 1980, when it is renamed Leverette Junior High. In 2006, it is demolished, rebuilt just a short distance down the road, and reverts to an elementary school named Leverette Elementary.
During the 1950s, Civil Defense groups are organized in TPS schools due to the threat of nuclear war. Often, members of the PTA or Mother's Club will gather to make triangular bandages and bandage pads to be stored at the school which will serve as a medical center in case of emergency. Schools are also designated as fallout shelters in the event of a nuclear attack. 
Ella P. Stewart is the first African American woman to graduate from the University of Pittsburgh's College of Pharmacy in 1916. In 1922, she joins her husband to open Stewart's Pharmacy in Toledo. Through her involvement with the League of Women Voters, the National Association of Colored Women's Club, and others, Stewart becomes a national spokesperson for the black community. 

In 1961, Ella P. Stewart School is dedicated in her honor and Stewart can often be found volunteering at the building, helping to shape future generations of activists. The school is renamed the Ella P. Stewart Academy for Girls in 2003 and rebuilt in 2006. It currently houses the Ella P. Stewart Museum.
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. 
The incredible life story of William N. Thomas comes full circle in 1964 when he becomes the first African American Toledo Public Schools board member. The district that once refused to hire him because the quota for black teachers in the 1930s had already been filled, now has Thomas making executive decisions for the future direction of the schools. A World War II navy veteran, Thomas establishes a successful law firm after the war and successfully runs for school board in 1964. He is elected board president by his peers in 1966 and remains an active member until 1972. The national race tensions of the 1960s are mimicked in the TPS student body, but Thomas’ presence on the board of education helps the district navigate the contentious decade.
Efforts begin as early as 1963 to have Glendale School in the Adams Township School district become part of TPS.  A contentious battle ensues, pitting Adams Township parents against each other through various committees and media outlets. Ultimately, the City of Toledo annexes Adams Township and all township schools, including Rogers High School, become part of Toledo Public Schools.
September 22, 1967
On September 22, 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. draws a crowd of more than 3,500 people to Scott High School's field house. His inspiring speech addresses crucial topics such as nonviolent protests, the economic impact on Black Americans, and the Vietnam War. Tragically, King is assassinated the following year. In 1969, the Toledo Public Schools Board of Education honors King's legacy by renaming Roosevelt School the Martin Luther King, Jr. School. In 2007, the original King school is demolished, and a new King school is built in its place.
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.
Edward Staniford Foster, Jr. is a TPS Board of Education member from 1966 until 1977 and again from 1982 to 1983. He also serves as a delegate to the Council of Great Lakes and is elected to the Ohio School Board Association as president in 1974 - becoming the first TPS representative to hold that distinction.
Louise J. Brower becomes the first woman to lead a large metropolitan high school in Ohio when she is named Scott High School principal in 1975. The appointment is a culmination of her TPS career, which started as a teacher at Robinson Junior High School,  and then had her serving as principal of both Walbridge School and McTigue Junior High. The library at Walbridge is dedicated in her honor in 1971. When Mrs. Brower is appointed Scott's principal, she becomes the first female administrator of any race in TPS. She retires in 1980 and Scott's theater is later named in her honor.
Sofia Alfaro Quintero becomes the first Hispanic woman elected in Toledo when, after first being appointed to the Toledo Board of Education in 1984, she wins election on her own accord the following year. The daughter of migrant workers, she advocates tirelessly to help others and is a counselor with the bilingual migrant education program for TPS. The Sofia A. Quintero Arts and Culture Center on Broadway is named in her honor. 
Tamara Browder is selected as the 1989 Woodward Homecoming Queen. Instead of being crowned in a dress, Browder accepts her award in her football uniform and cleats since she was the placekicker for the boy’s football team. Woodward football coach Tom Inman, Jr., recognizes her great work ethic and her ability to kick when he sees her booting a soccer ball. Already an outstanding academic student, as well as goalie and captain of the all-male soccer team, Browder is placed by Inman on the football team with the hopes of improving the team’s game. Her slight physique belies the power of her agility and skills. 
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. 
Toledo Early College High School opens in 2005, allowing students to earn both high school and college credit simultaneously. In partnership with the University of Toledo, students can take up to 60 college credit hours free of charge and classes are housed on the main campus of UToledo in the Driscoll Center.  In 2023, U.S. News and World Report names TEC as a U.S. News Best High School.
March 2012
Scott High School holds a grand opening celebration in March 2012 after undergoing a $42 million renovation to preserve the architectural integrity of the building - while preparing students for 21st Century learning. It remains the oldest standing high school in Toledo Public Schools and a cornerstone of the Old West End historic neighborhood.