Toledo Public Schools is set to announce its latest initiative in career technology options for high school students.

District leaders on Wednesday will unveil a plan to open the Aerospace and Natural Science Academy of Toledo in time for the 2018-2019 school year. The new academy is aimed at ninth- through 12th-grade students interested in the fields of aviation, environmental science, sustainability, and wildlife management.

Students currently enrolled at the TPS Aviation Center and Natural Science Technology Center have a split schedule. Part of their day is spent at their home high school, and the remainder is spent at the center, where their specialty classes are offered. The new academy will allow students to take both their core curriculum and specialty classes at the same building.

The academy will be located at Toledo Express Airport in the building that used to house the Flight Safety International pilot training program.




As recently as a year ago, Deosjah Brown would have thought twice about touching a mouse, a snake, or a lizard.

Today, the 17-year-old junior who attends Rogers High School tends to Kody, a hefty bearded dragon, as if it’s second nature.

“He’s a really chill guy,” she says as Kody sits in her arms, seemingly unaffected by being pulled from his cage at the Natural Science Technology Center in South Toledo. “We have snakes here, mice and rats, and I absolutely love them. We learn how to feed them, groom them, learn about breeds, diseases, we are taught how to handle them. Instead of reading it out of a book, we can see it and tell you what each animal is.”

Students from all six TPS high schools take career prep courses through the animal science program, spending the first half of every school day at the center. The two-year program is offered to juniors and seniors and provides 1 science credit and 4 electives toward graduation.

On this particular day, students are feeding the animals, checking on animal breeding projects, and — it’s not all fun and games — cleaning cages, doing dishes, and attending in-class instruction. A student feeds a mouse to a hungry ball python. The students check on their mice and rats, review data for a study on a leopard gecko, and look over the quail eggs that are sold to the public.




The Natural Science Technology Center gives high school students the coursework and hands-on training to prepare for a variety of careers related to plants. For those who dream of working as floral designers, greenhouse managers or interior plantscapers, or students who want to pursue careers as landscape contractors, landscape designers or golf course superintendents, the Center is the spot to train.

Floriculture and greenhouse classes provide training in designing and creating floral arrangements and other decor for adding and other events. Landscape and turf grass instruction includes learning how to operate state-of-the-art landscape equipment and constructing and maintaining outdoor spaces for residential, public, and commercial purposes. The students have use of 10 acres of land with a 20-acre botanical garden, two greenhouses, and a variety of commercial mowers, stump removers, etc.

The 2-year career-specific curriculum is approved by the Ohio Department of Education. Students who complete the program earn eight elective credits and two Applied Biology credits. Classes meet 7:30-11:40am, five days a week, with students spending the rest of their day at their respective high schools, home schools, or online schools. Competitions, volunteering, job shadowing and internships enhance the learning experience, and free busing is available from any Toledo Public Schools high school to the Center and back. The programs are open to any student over age 16 in Ohio.