TPS: Chase STEMM Elementary receives state and national honor

TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Big news for a TPS School: Chase STEMM Elementary is receiving state and national recognition. The honors are in addition to the Department of Education Momentum Award Chase STEMM received for last school year.

Chase STEMM students love their school.

"I like doing experiments. I did a volcano with my teacher recently," said 5th grade student, Davon Sugura.

"The program i'm in helps me with my stress and stuff," said 4th grade student Jayden Davis.

For Davon and Jayden, it's the teachers that make the biggest difference.

"I think the teachers care about us a lot," said 10-year-old Jayden.

The Ohio Department of Education agrees, naming Chase STEMM Elementary the first urban school in the state to be a "School to Watch."

"We're not watching them because they need it. It's because we need to be looking at them. Because they're really doing the right stuff and this is an amazing school," said Dan Stacy. He's the Schools to Watch program director from the Ohio Department of Education.

Jack Hunter is the principal. He says Chase STEMM improved its state grades from an "F" to a "C" in the last year.

"We were finally able to work hard enough to earn this remarkable achievement," said Hunter.

The honor is welcome news for the Toledo Public School District overall after receiving an "F" on the state report card for last school year.

"We're expecting improvement come this fall, so academic distress... we're not worried...We believe we'll have the highest African American graduation rate in the state of Ohio, which is exciting news to move the needle on that aspect," said Dr. Romules Durant, superintendent at TPS.

"This school [Chase STEMM] by itself won't be enough to carry that burden, but it can definitely be an example of what things can be done to make schools better," said Stacy.

Students like Davon and Jayden are TPS proud and feel the award should have come sooner.

"I feel pretty proud of it because it's not every day that you go to a school that is on watch," said 12-year-old Davon.

"I think we should have already been the best school," said 10-year-old Jayden.

The end of June, Chase STEMM school leaders will be in Washington D.C. to be recognized nationally for academic excellence.