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School Choice/Lottery Information
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Below are links to frequently asked questions about the Columbus City Schools School Choice/Lottery process. Click on an arrow to see related questions.

If you do not find the answer to your question on this page, please contact the School Choice/Lottery office at 614.365.5630.


Show details for General questions - things to know before filling out your applicationGeneral questions - things to know before filling out your application
Show details for Completing your School Choice/Lottery applicationCompleting your School Choice/Lottery application
Show details for After you complete your applicationAfter you complete your application
Show details for Other questionsOther questions


Where is the School Choice Office located?


The School Choice Office (previously known as the Student Assignment/Lottery Office or simply the Lottery Office) is located at 61 S. 6th St., in the 6th Street Annex to the Board of Education Building.

It is located on 6th St., between Broad and State streets, near Grant Hospital. The Pupil Services Department, Health Services, and the Hearing Office are all in the same building. Regular office hours are between 8:00 am and 4:30 pm. The phone number is 365-5630. The fax number is 365-6794.

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My child is not currently in Columbus Schools but I live in the Columbus City Schools district. How do I find out where my child will attend school?


On the home page for Columbus City Schools you will click on the square entitled "Calendars & Directories." Select
the 2012-2013 Student Assignment Directory. Find the name of your street in the scroll down menu on the left-hand side. Click your street to find your address and a list of your Elementary, Middle and High Schools will be in the last column. In addition, every school has a district directory, which lists every street in the Columbus City Schools and the school of attendance for every address within the district. Parents/guardians may also call or visit the School Choice Office (365-5630) or Pupil Services (365-5763), or they may call the FACTline (221-FACT) to find out their assigned school by address. The school district is divided into six regional communities, and the directories list the appropriate community for each address as well.

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What if I prefer a school other than my assigned school by address?


Parents/guardians may apply for a different conventional or alternative school through Parent Choice lottery process for the following September, typically beginning in January for High School and early February for Middle and Elementary Schools. You are highly encouraged to investigate your choices by visiting the school, reading the school profile (link on the School Choice/Lottery home page), or visiting the school fair before filing an application.

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How many schools are there at each level of the Columbus City Schools?


For the 2013-2014 school year, there will be 16 schools which offer classes for grades 9 through 12, 17 schools offer classes in grades 6 through 8, and 62 schools that offer classes in grades Kindergarten through 5th grade.

The total schools in each set include 6 schools which are K-8, 4 STEM Academy schools which are PreK through grade 6. Linden McKinley STEM offers classes in grade 7 -12. South High School also offers grades 7 - 12 while the South High School feeder schools are grades PreK-6. Africentric Early College offers classes in grades K through 12.

We do have a few schools for special needs children but placement in those schools is arranged through the Special Education Department.

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What is the sequence for placements under the School Choice Lottery for the 2013-2014 school year?


Applications for High School are expected to be available in all schools starting January 7, 2013. They must be returned by January 31 to be included in the electronic lotteries. Placements for High School will begin in late February 2013.
Applications for the Middle and Elementary School lottery will be available in all schools or on this website February 1, 2013. They must be returned by February 28, 2013 to be included in the District Elementary and Middle School lotteries. The High School lottery will be held in mid-to-late February and letters with the lottery results sent to parents in early March. The Middle and Elementary lotteries will be held in late March with result letters sent in early May. Lottery offers are continued until all vacancies are filled or the waitlists for a select school and grade are cleared of all applicants.

Applications will be accepted through June 14, 2013, unless the student is a new resident of the CCS District. Placements may continue until the start of school in August 2013.

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How do I apply for a school other than the school of assignment?


Complete a lottery application and return the application to the School Choice Office, 61 S. 6th St. A list of schools and eligibility parameters will be included in the application packet.

High School lottery applications must be filed by January 31, 2013 to be included in the High School lottery. Middle and Elementary lottery applications must be filed by February 28, 2013 to be included in the lotteries.

Late applications will be accepted until June 14, 2013. Late applicants will be added to end of the waitlist after all of those who had applied within the lottery deadline. Applying by the deadline gives a student a better opportunity to be considered for one of the desired schools.

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What is the difference between a conventional school and an alternative school?


All Columbus City Schools teach using district-approved curriculum guides that are aligned to state benchmarks designed for students to master the learning expectations set by the Ohio Department of Education. Alternative schools differ in either how the subjects are taught (methods, classroom design, etc.) or in the focus of the instruction (arts, language, math and science, etc.).

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What is the difference between Community Choice and Intradistrict Open Enrollment?


Both terms apply to conventional school lottery applications. A Community Choice school is one within your own Elementary Community or in Community 6 (Center City Community). An Open Enrollment school is a school in a community other than those designated Community Choice for you.

For example, if you live in the Northwest (Community 1) and apply for a school in the Northwest (1) or Center City (6), you would be applying under Community Choice. If you applied for a school in the Northeast (2), East (3), South (4), or West (5), you would be applying under Intradistrict Open Enrollment.

Transportation is provided if your child is placed through Community Choice if you live more than 2 miles from the school. Transportation for students placed through Open Enrollment is the responsibility of the parent/guardian. No new bus stops will be set for Open Enrollment students, but if there is an existing stop for a bus servicing the desired school that still has room, parents may request to have the child added to the bus stop. Requests for Open Enrollment transportation placements must be made annually through your school of assignment.

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How many of the schools are alternative and what are they?


There are 5 alternative high schools: Columbus Alternative, Columbus International, Eastmoor Academy, Fort Hayes Arts and Academic and Africentric Early College (grades K-5, 6-8, 9-12).

There are 4 alternative middle schools plus Africentric: Arts Impact (AIMS), Columbus City Preparatory for Girls, Columbus City Preparatory for Boys, and Monroe Alternative. Africentric Early College includes grades K-12 (see above).

There will be 6 Kindergarten-through-8th-grade schools: Columbus Spanish Immersion Academy (CSIA), Ecole Kenwood, Berwick Alternative, Fifth Avenue International, Indianola Informal and Dana/Starling (
scheduled to open Fall 2013).


There currently are 14 Elementary (K-5) alternative schools
Math and Science:Cassady, Georgian Heights, and Hamilton STEM plus the K-8 Berwick Alternative
Project Adventure:Cedarwood and Devonshire
Individually Guided Education (IGE):Fairwood
Arts Impact:Duxberry Park
Literature Based/Language Arts:Olde Orchard
Traditional:Oakland Park and Stewart
Academic and Physical Excellence:Westgate and Windsor STEM

There are two additional STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Academies: Linden STEM and South Mifflin STEM.

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On Elementary Alternative Applications, schools are listed as Total Lottery/Citywide Draw, Total Lottery/Regional Draw, or Has an Assigned Population with a Citywide or Regional Draw. What is the difference?


Total Lottery/Citywide Draw: No students are assigned to the school by virtue of their address. Students from any of the six regions may apply for the school. If they are accepted, transportation would be provided if they live more than 2 miles from the school.

Total Lottery/Regional Draw: No students are assigned to the school by virtue of their address. Only students who live in the eligible community(ies) may apply for the school.

Has an Assigned Population with a Citywide Draw: After students who live in the school’s regular assignment area are placed, any vacancies that still exist are filled through the lottery process. Students from any of the six regions may apply for the school.

Has an Assigned Population with a Regional Draw: After students who live in the school’s regular assignment area are placed, any vacancies that still exist are filled through the lottery process. Only students who live in the eligible community(ies) may apply for the school.

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How do I determine my “eligible community” when I go to apply for regional alternative elementaries?


There is a chart listing schools by community in the Elementary School application. Find the elementary school to which your child would be assigned based on your residential address. The community where you live is located at the top line of the chart and all regional alternative elementary schools for which you may apply are listed under that heading. In the table below, you may also find a handy guide listing only the regional alternative schools by the communities eligible to apply for them.



Northwest (1)
Northeast (2)
East (3)
South (4)
West (5)
Center City (6)
Hamilton
Devonshire

Oakland Park
Windsor
Cassady
Olde Orchard
Devonshire
Oakland Park
Windsor
Fairwood
Berwick
Olde Orchard
Cedarwood
Stewart

Windsor
Fairwood
Berwick
Cedarwood
Stewart
Westgate
Fairwood
Georgian Heights
Cedarwood
Stewart
Westgate
Fairwood
Hamilton
Devonshire
Stewart
Windsor
Westgate



You may also apply for any of the Citywide Alternatives: Duxberry Park; Fifth K-8, Indianola K-8, Olde Orchard, Africentric, Columbus Spanish Immersion (CSIA), Ecole Kenwood. Applicants for grades 2 through 8 for CSIA (Spanish) or Ecole Kenwood (French) must be somewhat fluent in the language and must pass an interview at the school to be approved for transfer.

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How do I know what school would be good for my child?


Evaluate your child’s aptitudes, abilities, and interests. For instance, does your child seem to learn more when self-directed or when provided with detailed instructions? Does your child have a particular talent or interest in reading and writing, in the arts, in foreign languages or cultures? Think about other things significant to your child. Although the majority of schools will foster learning in every child, not every school is the best fit for every child.

Determine what other things are important to you. Is bus transportation critical for you or were you planning to provide your own transportation? Does your child need special education services? Do you need a before-school or after-school Latchkey program? Do you need a school near your daycare provider?

At the middle and high school levels, you might wish to seek schools or programs that mesh with your child’s aspirations for college selections or career goals.

Call and set an appointment to visit schools in the late fall, including what would be your automatic assigned school for the upcoming year. Come to the school fair to meet with the school administration. Ask them questions about any particular interests you might have and use it to evaluate your possibilities
.

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How can I find information on the various schools?


Start in the fall. That will give you several months before applications are available to find out information, visit schools and check out other items such as transportation availability. There is a book in each of the Columbus branch libraries entitled,
Fast Facts About Columbus Schools, which includes a page or two about each of the schools.

Check out the CCS Website for information on each school. By clicking on the school profiles, you can find basic information on each school. There are also school websites for all of the high schools plus several middle and elementary schools.

Check out the CCS Website article on bus route information to find out if transportation is available in the current year. Although routes are re-set every summer according to eligibility and demographics, if a stop exists one year, there is a good chance it will still exist the following year.

Attend the Elementary, Middle, or High School Fairs. More information on the school fairs can be found in the answer to question #11.

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Can I just show up at a school to get a tour?


Most schools provide tours only on specific dates and times. It is best to call the individual school office to make arrangements ahead of time. The majority of schools will not hold tours in February or March because they are trying to focus fully on preparing for the spring Achievement and Graduation tests, so contact the school as early as possible. Several schools had so many inquiries that they held informational open houses for interested parents. Check with the desired school. Phone numbers for each school can be found under the school profiles.

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When are the school fairs or other informational meetings?


There is a High School fair usually held in mid-January each year. Typically, in early February, an Elementary and Middle School Fair is held. All principals will attend their respective fair to answer questions about their school. The K-8 Immersion school principals will attend the Elementary Fair; the Africentric Elementary, Berwick, Indianola Informal and Secondary principals will attend their respective fair(s).

This year, the High School Fair will be held on January 23, 2013, at Eastmoor Academy, 417 S. Weyant Ave., from 6 to 7:30 p.m. The Middle School and Elementary School Fair will be held on February 6, 2013, at the Arts Impact Middle School (AIMS), 680 Jack Gibbs Blvd., from 6 to 7:30 p.m. High School career center courses are accessed through the guidance counselors and internship coordinators at any high school. Information on career centers and post-high school-graduate career apprenticeships will be available at the high school fair or from any high school guidance counselor.

We hope that you will be able to join us on these evenings.

Lottery applications can be completed and filed with School Choice staff at each fair.



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When and where will applications be available?


High School Applications will be available in all schools, district offices and on the District Website as of January 7, 2013. The deadline to return High School applications to the School Choice Office is January 31, 2013. The earlier timeline for the High School Lottery will facilitate the logistics for high school placements and scheduling.

The Middle and Elementary applications will be available starting February 1, 2013, and the deadline to return them is February 28, 2013. Applications will be available on this website (see Forms), in schools and at the School Choice Office, 61 S. 6th St.

Most parent/guardians pick up and complete applications at the School Choice Office, 61 S. 6th St., or at one of the school fairs. Applications may also be printed from the School Choice/Lottery website under Forms. Once the applications are available, they would need to be filed with the School Choice Office by the established deadline to be included in the lotteries.

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Should I turn in completed applications to the school?


It is NOT recommended. Instead, return the application(s) directly to the School Choice Office at 61 S. 6th St., either in person, by fax (365-6794) or by mail. School personnel are not responsible for turning in the application. The application could also be delayed in school mail and miss deadlines. When turning in the applications in person, you can also have additional questions answered on the spot.

If faxing in an application, it is advised to call the School Choice Office (365-5630) 10 minutes after faxing to assure it was received in readable condition. During January and February, due to the volume of applications received, faxed applications cannot be verified several hours or the next day. Instead, it is advised that a check be made several days later to see if the application has been entered into the system.

Applications cannot be time stamped and processed unless they reach the School Choice Office.

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For how many schools may I apply?


For any application, you may list up to 3 different school choices on the same application in any combination of conventional and alternative schools. A school may only be listed one time. Be sure to apply for the correct grade for the 2013-2014 school year.

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Can I get a receipt when I turn in an application?


There will be a form available which you may fill out at the School Choice Office where you list all of the schools for which you are applying and we will be happy to timestamp that for you. If you bring in a duplicate copy of the application, we could timestamp that instead, if preferred.

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What is the procedure for potential placement through the lottery?


All applications received by the deadline are entered into the computer and electronically drawn, which has improved the efficiency of the process and allows us to provide parents with information and results in a much quicker manner. Process: An electronic draw will be completed for each school and grade after all of the applications filed by the deadline are entered. A letter is mailed to parents/guardians with the lottery results for their child for each of the schools to which they applied. If the student cannot immediately be made an offer, they will be provided with their initial number on the waitlist. The School Choice Office works with all of the Columbus City Schools to determine the number of offers that must be accepted to fill the vacancies for each school. Subsequent offers are made through phone calls to parent/guardians using the numbers provided on the application and will continue for the lottery until the established deadline for the end of placements.

Applications received after the deadline for the lottery are entered into the computer in the order they are received in the School Choice Office. Applicants who file late will not be included in the initial lotteries and therefore will not receive any result letter. If students can later be offered placement, the parents/guardians will be contacted by phone, so it is important that parents/guardians supply the School Choice Office with good daytime phone numbers so that individuals can be reached and/or messages left.

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What are the School Choice timelines?



January 7, 2013:High School applications for the 2013-2014 school year will be available in schools and district offices.
January 31, 2013: Deadline to return High School applications to the School Choice Office to be included in the lottery
Expected to be mailed in March 2013:High School lottery result letters to be mailed
Within 3 days of receiving an offer:Deadline to respond to initial High School offers
February 1, 2013:It is anticipated that Middle and Elementary applications will be available in schools and district offices.
February 28, 2013:Deadline to return Middle and Elementary School applications to the School Choice Office
April 2013: Electronic Lotteries for the 2013-2014 school year projected to be held for Middle and Elementary Schools
May 2013: Projected dates result letters will be mailed for Middle and Elementary lotteries
Tentative: June 2013:Last date to file a lottery application for 2013-2014
June 2013: Close of regular lottery placements for 2013-2014
July - August, 2013: Placement of siblings if space becomes available

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Will I have an advantage if I apply early?


All High School lottery applications filed by January 31, 2013 (on time) have an equal chance to receive an offer for placement. It is NOT first come, first served.

All Middle and Elementary lottery applications filed by February 28, 2013 (on time) have an equal chance to receive an offer for placement. It is not first come, first served.

Lottery applications that are turned in to the School Choice Office after the deadlines are placed on the bottom of the waiting list for the specific school and grade in the order received. Parents have the best chance to obtain a desired school choice if they apply before the deadline for the lottery. If the original lottery deadline is missed, we recommend the application be turned in as soon as possible.

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How long do I have to accept or decline an offer?


Answers to offers made through the initial lottery result letters must reach the School Choice Office by the deadline date listed in the letter or the offer may be given to the next student on the waitlist. An answer to offers made after the result letters should be given to the School Choice Office within 3 days of receiving the offer. Parents/ guardians may not keep any offer on hold. They must make a decision on all offers made to them. If a response to an offer is not received by the stated deadline, offers will be considered declined and the offer will be given to the next student on the waitlist.

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May I still apply if I miss the Lottery deadline?


Parents may still file an application until the last date allowed for the current lottery season, but the application will be put on the waitlist after all of those who applied by the deadline in the order they reached the School Choice Office. All applications received after the deadline are timestamped and kept in order but will not be entered into the system until after the lotteries are held.

Applications received at the last moment prior to last date for placement may have little opportunity to be considered for placement. Siblings remaining on any waitlist may receive placement for a period after the regular lottery timeframe. Applicants who did not receive a new placement should attend their already assigned school for the entire 2013-2014 school year and may reapply for the next grade in January (HS) or February (Middle or Elementary), 2014.

Applicants who file late will not receive a "lottery result letter". Instead, if they can be offered one of their choices, they will receive a personal phone call from the School Choice staff using the phone numbers applicants provided when they filled out the application.

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Should everyone who turns in an application on time receive a letter?


Yes! If you have turned in your application by the announced deadline (January 31, 2013, for High School and February 28, 2013, for Middle School and Elementary School), you will be sent a letter of the results from the lottery. If you do not receive a letter within three weeks after the draw, please contact the FACTline (221-FACT) or our office (365-5630) for results to your application.

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What should I do if I want to accept or decline an offer?


If you received the offer through a lottery result letter, circle the school you wish to accept and write “Yes” or “Accept” next to the school. Cross out or write “No” or “Decline” next to all other schools. Sign the letter and return it to the School Choice Office, 61 S. 6th St., Columbus, OH 43215 within 3 days, but it must reach the School Office no later than the deadline date listed in the letter.

If you are declining one or more schools because you wish to wait for another possible offer, cross out or write “No” or “Decline” next to all declined schools. Indicate in writing next to the school(s) that you wish to wait on. Sign the letter and return it to the School Choice Office, 61 S. 6th St., Columbus, OH 43215 within 3 days.

When you receive an offer via phone from the School Choice Office (365-5630) or from the FACTline (221-3228), you will need to respond with your answer to accept or decline in writing. "Answer Forms" will be available at the School Choice Office if parents wish to respond in person or the answer may be faxed to the "School Choice Office" at 365-6794. An alternate fax number if the first is busy is 365-5892.

If faxing in an answer, please be sure to supply the following: Full name of your child, 2013-2014 grade, student ID number (available on the result letter), the school being accepted or declined, YOUR NAME and relationship to the child, and of course, your decision. Please include a phone number where we may reach you should we have a question concerning the fax. Feel free to call School Choice, 10 minutes after the fax was sent, to confirm that your fax reached us. If calling School Choice or the FACTline the next day, the confirmation can only be made if the decision had already been entered into the system.

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If I am on the waitlist for all of my school choices, how will I be notified of my number on the waitlist should it move up?


You will receive a letter following the initial drawing stating the number you are on the waitlist. If an offer can be made after responses to offers have been received, you will receive a phone call from the School Choice staff with the offer. You can also call 365-5630 and give the staff your child's ID number to see if your child's name has moved up on the waitlist.

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Is there anything I can do to make sure the process runs smoothly for my child's application?


Make sure your child's school has updated custody, plus current address and all phone numbers. Secondary phone numbers, such as work/cell numbers are also helpful to the School Choice staff when calling to make an offer.

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Why must I make a decision on offered schools within 3 days? Why can I not wait a few weeks to see if I might get offered another school?


If an offer is accepted, it reduces the remaining number of seats available to offer other applicants. When an offer is declined, it allows us to offer the seat to the next applicant on the waiting list. If no one gave an answer, no one on the waiting list would ever move up so we could offer the next child a seat. The process for placement would come to a halt.

Remember, if you are still on a waiting list, you are hoping others will decline offers for your desired school in order to move your application higher on the waiting list. Please understand that others are in similar situations.

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Where can I find my child’s Student ID Number?


T
he Student ID Number is a six or seven-digit number that can be found on the result letter mailed after the initial lotteries and in the August mailing with school information. The number will show a sequence of information:

STUDENT ID NUMBER / 2013-2014 Application Grade / If services for SpEd or ESL are needed and will look, for example, similar to: 1111111/04/E If this were a real student, the ID 1111111 is followed by 04/E telling us that the student is applying for 4th grade and requires ESL services.

When an offer is made over the phone and the parent plans to personally visit, fax or call back with an answer, the School Choice Office staff will often give you the child’s Student ID Number so you can provide it when you mak
e your response. The student's ID number will remain the same through High School graduation.

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What occurs if I accept an offer through the lottery?


Once a school is accepted, the student is expected to complete at least one year in that building. All other applications are cancelled and his/her seat in the previous school is offered to other students. If a student changes his/her mind, he/she must put in a new application for a different school, even if it is for their original school by address. The student will still be assigned to the school they first accepted unless another school can be offered. In January or February 2014, students may once again apply for a different school through the lottery, if the school they initially chose does not fully meet their needs.

Depending on the timing, if a return to the home or previous school is desired, it may not always be possible, so it is important that parents/guardians and the student be certain that they want the school being offered before accepting placement.

Once you notify the School Choice Office that you accept an offer, you must still complete the enrollment process for the new school. This may involve completing all new enrollment papers such as would be required for incoming kindergarteners, or it may involve working out a schedule of classes as might be required for high school students.

Typically, all schools require a new enrollment form be completed and presentation of proof of address. Birth certificate and immunization records should be brought as well. High School students should bring a copy of their transcript. Wait a few days after you accept the offer, then call the school and find out what exactly is needed. They may ask you to come in as soon as possible or they may ask that you attend an orientation where all new students to the school will receive information.

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When should I contact my new school for information if I accept an offer?


Each school may have different preferences regarding when parents/guardians should contact them. In the spring, we recommend that you wait 3 to 4 days and then call the school to see when you need to come in to complete enrollment. Some schools may have you come in immediately; others may hold an open house for all new students and parents and do all enrollments and scheduling on one night. The reason you wait a few days is to give the School Choice Office time to notify the school of your child’s acceptance. If it is the summertime, contact the Centralized Registration Department if K-8. Centralized Registration for the 2013-2014 school year will begin in mid-July 2013 at Hudson Center (737 E.Hudson St. 4321, exit 112 off of I-71), from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday - Thursday. On Friday, registration is available from 9 a.m. to Noon at West High School. Parents of high school students may enroll at their new high school.

Students enrolling in a new high school must complete the enrollment process at the new school before they may try out or compete for an interscholastic activity, including cheerleading, drill team or any summer conditioning for fall activities.

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After one year is completed at the school chosen through the lottery, can my child return to his/her “home” school by address?


Not automatically. The obligation to the accepted school is complete but to enroll at a different school, including the original school by address, requires acceptance through the lottery process. No seats were held at the previous schools for those who might want to return. If applications are filed by the lottery deadline, the chances of being able to return are good, although not guaranteed. If not accepted at a new school, the student will be assigned to return to the previous school.

It would be wise for parents to seek advice from the School Choice Office if they are not completely sure of their choice and therefore might want their child to return to the previous school after one year. We might be able to tell you if there is a good chance, or little to no chance, of returning the following year to specific schools.

A few questions that should be weighed in the decision-making process are: If you know ahead of time you cannot return to a previous school, if you change your mind, would it make a difference in your decision? If your child is doing well, is happy, and you are pleased with the child’s current school, is it wise to accept an offer for another school?

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If I get into a school through lottery, must I apply every year to stay?


Once you are accepted through the lottery, you will be assigned to that school through the last year offered in that building unless you apply for and accept another school, or move to a new address within CCS and elect to immediately change to your new school by address. If you move to an address outside of CCS, you would need to apply to stay. See later FAQs concerning Interdistrict Open Enrollment.

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How old does my child have to be to attend kindergarten?


A child must turn 5 on or before September 30 to be automatically eligible for kindergarten.

If a child has a birthday between October 1 and December 31, he/she may apply for Early Entrance Testing (EET) with the Psychological Services Department (365-5220). Only physically, emotionally and intellectually advanced children will pass the EET and be eligible to start kindergarten in the fall. Very few, if any, children pass the EET each year. Children who turn 5 after December 31 are not eligible to apply for EET.

However, if parents of 4 year olds are interested, Columbus City Schools does offer several Pre-Kindergarten (Pre-K) programs, all of which are full day. If interested, they should call 365-6789. CMACAO and Headstart also offer Pre-K programs. Note: children attending Pre-K in a Columbus school do not have automatic placement in the Kindergarten for that school unless the child would be assigned to that school by address. In most cases, Pre-K students must apply through lottery to attend kindergarten in the same school. Check with the School Choice if there are questions concerning transition from Pre-K to K.

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Which CCS elementary schools offer full-day versus half-day kindergarten?


All Columbus elementary schools offer full-day kindergarten.

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May I still apply for the lottery if my child will not be 5 by September 30 if I am applying for EET?


Applications for children who will not be 5 until after September 30 will not be accepted until the child has passed the Early Entrance Testing (EET), testing for which is completed in June. Late lottery applications for children who meet the criteria will be accepted in June if the application is accompanied by a copy of the EET approval letter.

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What if my child has special needs such as Special Education or English as a Second Language (ESL), or I wish to apply for the ECLIPSE program?


The district’s Special Education Department, the English as a Second Language Department, or the Gifted and Talented Office may provide you with information on program options. Parents may contact staff at the following numbers:

Gifted and Talented 365-6626

ESL 365-8802 (general questions).
For new ESL assessment appointments, call 365-5281.

Special Education 365-5206

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What is ESL and how do I access the program?


ESL stands for English as a Second Language. Children who are born or have been living in a country other than the United States, or whose primary home language is not English, or who have one or both parents who were born outside of the United States, must be assessed for English language abilities prior to enrolling in any Columbus City School. Parents should call the ESL Assessment Office for an appointment: 365-5281. The Office is located at the Columbus Global Academy, 2001 Hamilton Avenue. They are open Monday - Friday, from 8:00 - 3:00.

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What do I need to bring to enroll my child in school?


For students new or returning to Columbus Schools, bring:

A copy of the birth certificate, immunization records, any previous school records such as transcripts or report cards, and proof of residency such as a lease or contract on a house or apartment, or current gas or electric bill (not phone or cable).

If the child was in Special Education in a previous district, bring a copy of the current IEP if available.

For students previously in CCS, contact the school to see what items are still needed.

In many cases, a basic enrollment form and emergency medical cards may be all that is needed to be completed by the custodial parent/guardian and proof of their address will be verified. Be sure to update any old phone numbers and other contact information. High school students will need to complete a schedule and should bring their transcript.

If there has been a change in custody, parent/guardians should bring their new documentation to Pupil Services (365-5763) at 61 S. 6th St. prior to enrolling in a new school.

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Is a childcare placement possible through the School Choice office?


No. Childcare placements based on demonstrated parental need are only available from the Pupil Services Department during the school year after the lottery process for the year is complete. Prior to the start of school, parents should apply for placement through the regular lottery school choice process. Only if students are unable to receive placement through the lottery would they need to apply through the childcare application.

Parents should contact Pupil Services at 365-5763 for more information.

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I am moving to a new address in the Columbus City School district. What do I need to know?


A decision must be made at the time of the move. You have two options:

Option A) You may keep the child in the current school but, depending on where the new residence is located, you may be responsible for transportation. New bus stops are added during the school year only when the new address is in the same community as the school or either the new residence or the school is in Community 6 (Center City Community) and the residence is more than 2 miles from the school. Note: If you elect to remain at your current school for the remainder of the school year, you would need to apply to attend your “new school by address” for the following year. You would not be able to just walk in to the other school and get enrolled. Please contact the School Choice Office for advice if you believe you will be in this situation. We can give you an estimate of your chances for success in transferring for the following year. If very late in the school year, other options might possible. If you have questions, call School Choice at 365-5630.

Option B) You may immediately enroll the child in the new school by address. The same rules for transportation listed above apply.

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I am moving to a new address that is not in the Columbus City School district. What do I need to know?


You have two options:

Option A) If you wish to stay in a Columbus school, check with the administration of the current school to see if your child will be allowed to stay for the remainder of the school year. If the principal says yes, provide the Records Clerk with the new out-of-district address and the date that the move is in effect.

Come down to the School Choice Office at 61 S. 6th St. to complete an Interdistrict Open Enrollment form for the current school year so our office can complete all necessary forms to waive educational costs. The form can also be downloaded from the CCS website. Click on the link for Schools, then Interdistrict Open Enrollment. If you wish to try and remain in Columbus schools for future years, come to the School Choice Office in late January or after and file an Interdistrict Open Enrollment form for the following school year. Be sure to identify yourself as living outside of the Columbus City Schools so you are given the correct form. We will work with the school principal to try to place your child for the next school year. See the next FAQ for more information on Interdistrict Open Enrollment.

If there is room on a bus already servicing the school, an out-of-district student may request to be added to an existing bus stop. However, no new stops will be established and placements for out-of-district transportation must be requested annually.

Option B) If you do not wish to stay in your current school, withdraw your child from the current school and immediately take your child to your new school district and enroll your child there. Be sure to bring proof of your new address to your new school district.

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I need to apply under Interdistrict Open Enrollment; is there any special information I need to know?


Interdistrict Open Enrollment (IOE) applications should be completed at the School Choice Office starting in late January or after for the following school year.

IOE is only available to students attending CCS full-time. Those wishing to attend part-time (vocational classes) are not eligible to apply. Kindergarten applicants must be 5 on or before September 30.

There is a ruling from the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) that may affect athletic eligibility for new placements of Interdistrict high school students entering after the start of the 9th grade. Those students may need to sit out one calendar year before regaining athletic eligibility. Be sure to ask us about your child’s status prior to accepting a new school through IOE. Upperclass HS IOE students returning to the same CCS HS would continue their eligibility since there was no break in enrollment at that school.

IOE students are responsible for transportation.

IOE students are not placed in a school unless the waiting list for all CCS residents who have requested a seat in that school has been cleared. Therefore, new applications typically cannot be processed until some time in the summer. The only current exception is for high school students who earn enough credits to move to the next grade level. If a HS IOE student does not earn enough credit to move up one grade, he/she would be treated as a new applicant.

All placements depend on space availability including placements for any student needing Special Education, ESL, or other services. The School Choice Office cannot place students in any special unit, only into schools as regular students. The respective special department would need to confirm that they have the capacity to offer the services required before Interdistrict Open Enrollment for special needs children into CCS can be approved. If needed services cannot be provided, the student will need to enroll in their district of residence.

There is additional information that can be provided to IOE applicants when they come in to apply.

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What is the Ohio High School Athletic Association ruling about athletic eligibility and will it affect my child?


Effective November 1, 2002, any student changing schools AFTER he/she has either attended ONE day of the ninth grade in a previous school OR has participated in a scrimmage or game for the previous school, may need to sit out one year of eligibility before becoming eligible to play once again. Incoming 9th grade students who have not attended in any other school or participated in a scrimmage or game and students who were approved for Interdistrict Open Enrollment for 2012-2013, and are approved to continue their education in the same school for 2013-2014, are not affected by the ruling.

This does not affect students below the ninth grade. This does not affect transfers made for the ninth grade if the student has not yet been in a scrimmage or game nor has he/she begun school in the previous school.

If a student transfers into any CCS school after the 9th grade and wishes to participate in athletics, he/she should contact the athletic director immediately when enrollment is completed at the new school to determine if the one year waiting period is in effect. The granting of eligibility by OHSAA is not automatic. Check out the consequences BEFORE transferring schools! The Ohio High School Athletic Association website is:
http://www.ohsaa.org/

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What if I have additional questions about the lottery process?


Although we highly encourage you to come visit us so we may answer all of your questions at one time, feel free to call us at 365-5630. Outside of the lottery timeframe, the phone is generally directly and immediately answered by the School Choice Office staff. When the full application process is underway, please be patient if the phone cannot be immediately answered as the office is often very busy with visitors. Office hours are M-F 8 am to 4:30 pm.

School Choice information may also be obtained from the FACTline at 221-3228 (221-FACT).

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