Wednesday, Jun 29, 2016
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Toledo School the Arts to expand

Enrollment may go up to 640 next school year

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A student tests his trombone at the Toledo School for the Arts. The school, which enrolls about 580 students, typically has a waiting list of about 100, school director Martin Porter said. Under the expansion, the school plans to accept up to 60 more students in grades nine through 12.

The Blade/Lori King
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Uptown charter school the Toledo School for the Arts plans to expand its high school program next year, adding students and leasing additional space in its Adams Street building.

The school, which enrolls about 580 students, typically has a waiting list of about 100, school director Martin Porter said. Under the expansion, the school plans to accept up to 60 more students in grades nine through 12.

The school, at 333 14th St., enrolls students from sixth through 12th grade.

Most students are admitted in the sixth grade and stay until they graduate, limiting admissions for older students. The expansion is mostly geared toward those students and won’t increase cohort sizes in the middle school grades.

“There’s all sorts of transfer students who are trying to get in,” Mr. Porter said, “but they are somewhat discouraged if they don’t get in at the sixth grade.”

The Toledo School for the Arts mixes a traditional college preparatory program with visual and performing arts classes. It’s been hailed as one of the most successful charter schools in Ohio, and has been rated “excellent” by the state for seven years in a row.

Mr. Porter said the proposed expansion won’t increase class sizes beyond the school’s current average, which is about 20 students.

New teachers may be hired, and current classes with low enrollment may absorb some of the new students.

The school offers nearly 120 elective courses, Mr. Porter said.

If the expansion doesn’t eliminate the school’s waiting list, prospective students will enter a lottery system for open spots.

“We think the added number will meet the demand,” Mr. Porter said. “But given the arts cuts that are going on throughout schools, there might be more kids than we expect.”

School leaders have no immediate plans for additional growth, with Mr. Porter calling the schools expansion “methodical.”

There has been some pressure from parents for the school to add elementary school grades, but any decision on that possibility won’t be made in the near future.

The school owns the basement and the first, third, and fourth floors of the building, which operates as a condominium arrangement.

School leaders plan to lease about 5,000 square feet on the second floor of the building to accommodate the expansion, Mr. Porter said.

Contact Nolan Rosenkrans at: nrosenkrans@theblade.com or 419-724-6086.

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