School Choice Ohio coaches parents through school shopping

(FOX19) - Now is the time to be looking for school for the upcoming school year. You've been seeing all of the open house signs, now what?

Cincinnati has a lot of different schools available and many of them are open to any and all students from across the city.

There are public charter schools, neighborhood, magnet district schools, religious, nonreligious private schools and many families who choose to educate their children at home.

Not sure where to start? Begin writing down what your child needs to be successful in school.

A few questions to help you create your school shopping list:

  • Is your child enjoying school? Does your child seem to be making progress academically, emotionally and socially?
  • Does your child need extra help to keep up? Does your child need extra challenge to not get bored?
  • Is your child super-interested in any particular academic subject like art, languages, or science?
  • Would your child like a small school with individual attention or a big school with lots of different classes and extracurriculars?
  • Do you want all your kids to go to the same school?
  • Do you need a school that is nearby your home or work?
  • Do you need before- or after-school care?

Use these factors to create a school shopping list to make sure the school you find is a good fit for your child. No school is a good fit for all children, but there is an option out there for everyone.

There are STEM schools, arts schools, Montessori schools, online schools, religious schools, small schools and big schools. You can explore all the schools in the Cincinnati area at

What to do when deciding:

Give the schools that seem like a good fit a call and set up a time to visit. When you're visiting schools, ask them questions about how well they will meet your child's needs and family practical considerations.

Find the schools that meet the criteria of your school shopping list and also have a high academic rating. There's a great quality school that's a great fit for everyone.

Once you find the schools that are a match, you apply differently depending on the type of school.

General guidelines on how to apply to different types of schools:

  • Charter schools: Open admission, first-come, first-serve, no deadline
  • Magnet schools in CPS: Mostly open admission but some have testing or auditions. First-come, first-serve. Some of the higher-rated schools might be full already, but put your name on the waiting list ASAP!
  • CPS high school open enrollment: Open enrollment for students in grades 7-12 runs from Feb 10-21. Don't forget to apply before February 21 so you can get your first choice school!
  • Open enrollment to a different district: Open enrollment available for some suburban districts like Three Rivers and Reading. This is also the first year that Cincinnati is open enrollment for suburban students to attend CPS. You can apply to the district.
  • Private schools: Can be open or selective admission. Vouchers are available to pay tuition for families in low-rated schools, working class families, and families of students with special needs. The first voucher application window starts this week, apply to the school and they will apply for the scholarship on your behalf.

School Choice Ohio is a statewide nonprofit organization with an office in Cincinnati. They coach parents through the school shopping process and give presentations to parent groups. They can be reached at 513.720.9895 or

Copyright 2014 WXIX. All rights reserved.