Where is the Division of School Choice located?

The School Choice Division is located at 430 Cleveland Avenue, in the Columbus City Schools Central Enrollment Center on the Ft. Hayes Campus.  The phone number is 614-365-7459, however the best way to contact the Division of School Choice is through email (schoolchoice@columbus.k12.oh.us).  


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

Parents/guardians can visit the Columbus City School website at ccsoh.us/enroll and click on the tab 'Find Your School', or they may send an email to the Division of School Choice (schoolchoice@columbus.k12.oh.us) or they may call the FACTline (614-221-FACT) to find out their assigned school by address.


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 the School Choice lottery process for the following school year.  Parents are highly encouraged to investigate your choices by visiting the school website, watching the school video profile, reading the school profile, or attending the Virtual School Choice Fair before submitting an application.


What is the timeline for placements under the School Choice Lottery for the 2024-2025 school year?

In order for an application to be included in the High School and Middle School electronic lottery draw, the application must be submitted via the School Choice link in the Infinite Campus Parent Portal between January 3, 2024 and February 29, 2024.  Late applicants will be added to the 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.

In order for an application to be included in the Elementary School electronic lottery draw the application must be submitted via the School Choice link in the Infinite Campus Parent Portal between February 1, 2024 and March 29, 2024. Late applicants will be added to the 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.


If your child currently attends a Columbus City School, you must create an Infinite Campus Parent Portal account to submit a lottery application. In order to create an Infinite Campus Parent Portal account you must have your GUID (access key) information, which can be obtained from your child's school.  There are step by step videos and documentation available regarding the Parent Portal and School Choice Application.  Visit the Columbus City Schools webpage at www.ccsoh.us and click on Parents, then click on the Parent Portal link on the left side of the page.

If your child is NOT currently enrolled in a Columbus City School, you will need to complete the Online Registration via SpeedyPass by visiting http://ccsoh.us/Enrollment.aspx.  During the final step of the Online Pre-Registration, you will need to schedule an appointment to meet virtually with an Enrollment Specialist and present required documents. Once the documents are received and enrollment into the database is complete, you will receive your GUID (access key) information to create a Parent Portal account.


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

All Columbus City Schools utilize the same curriculum.  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.) 


What are the different types of lottery applications and how do they work?

School Choice Lottery: For parents/guardians of students wishing to apply to attend a school other than the school assigned.

Reservation Admissions:  For students who currently attend a school that is eligible to reserve a seat in the next school with the same programming. (PLEASE NOTE: If a reservation application is submitted, all other active applications will be cancelled.  If you later change your mind about the reservation, you must submit a late lottery application for a chance to attend another school, including the school of address.)  Reservation applications will be available on January 3, 2024 and must be submitted by January 31, 2024 via the School Choice link in the Infinite Campus Parent Portal.

Return to Home School: For students attending a school in Columbus City Schools that is not their school of address.  The request will be available for submission beginning on January 3, 2024 and must be submitted via the School Choice link in the Infinite Campus Parent Portal by March 15, 2024. It is important to note that an application does not guarantee placement back into the school of address.  

Selective Admissions: For students who have met specific criteria (Students will receive an invitation to participate).  The Selective Admissions application will be available for submission beginning January 8, 2024 for students who qualify and must be submitted via the School Choice link in the Infinite Campus Parent Portal by January 31, 2024.

Inter-District Open (IOE) Enrollment: For students living outside of the Columbus City Schools boundaries and wish to attend a school in the CCS District.  IOE application deadlines follow the same deadlines as the School Choice Lottery.

Air Force JROTC: For students entering 9th - 12th grades who are interested in participating in the Airforce Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) at Fort Hayes.  (PLEASE NOTE: Students who are accepted to Fort Hayes through ROTC will be returned to their school of address should a decision be made that drops ROTC from the student's schedule.)  ROTC applications will be available for submission beginning January 3, 2024 and must be submitted by February 22, 2024 via the School Choice link in the Infinite Campus Parent Portal.

Multiple applications may be available to students.  Only the applications for which the student is eligible will show as options on the application screen.


What is the difference between Total Lottery/Citywide Draw, Total Lottery/Regional Draw, or Has an Assigned Population with a Citywide or Regional Draw?

Total Lottery/Citywide Draw: No students are assigned to the school based on their address. Parents/Guardians of students from any of the District's six communities 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 parents/guardians of students who live in eligible communities 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.  Parents/Guardians of students from any of the District's six communities 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 parents/guardians of students who live in eligible communities may apply for the school.

 


How do I determine my “eligible community” when I apply for a regional alternative elementary?

In the list below, find the school for which you are assigned by address and then determine your community (Northwest, Northeast, East, South, West or Center City).

NorthwestNortheastEastSouthWestCenter City

Clinton

Colerain

Como

Cranbrook

Gables

Hubbard**

Indian Springs

Oakland Park

Salem

Weinland Park

Winterset

Alpine
Avalon
Cassady
Devonshire
East Linden
E. Columbus
Forest Park
Hamilton STEM
Huy
Innis
Linden STEM
Maize
North Linden

Northgate Int.
Northtowne
Parkmoor
S Mifflin STEM
Valley Forge
Windsor STEM

Berwick
Broadleigh
Easthaven
Fairmoor
Leawood
Liberty
Oakmont 
Olde Orchard
Scottwood
Shady Lane
Woodcrest*

Cedarwood
Lincoln Park
Moler
Parsons 
Southwood

Stewart  
Watkins

Avondale
Binns
Burroughs
Eakin
Georgian Hts
Highland
Lindbergh
Starling
Sullivant
Valleyview
West Broad
West Mound
Westgate

Eastgate
Fairwood
Livingston
Ohio 
Siebert
Trevitt


Once you have determined your community, please refer to the chart below to determine the regional alternative schools for which you are eligible to apply.

You may also apply for any of the Citywide Alternatives: Duxberry Park, Hubbard, Indianola K-8, Olde Orchard, Africentric, Columbus Spanish Immersion (CSIA), Ecole Kenwood. Applicants for second grade or higher at CSIA (Spanish) or Ecole Kenwood (French) must be proficient in the language and must pass an interview at the school to be approved for a lottery placement.

 

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

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 all of our 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 align with your child’s aspirations for college selections or career goals.

View the school video presentations on the website and attend the Virtual School Choice Fair to meet with the school administration.  Ask questions about any particular interests you might have and use it to evaluate your possibilities.
 


How can I find information on the various schools? 

Visit the website of schools for which you might be interested.  Each of our schools have posted a video providing valuable information about their building.  

Columbus City Schools will host a Virtual School Choice Fair on Thursday, January11, 2024 from 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. for Middle and High Schools.  The Elementary School Choice Fair will be held on Tuesday, February 13, 2024 from 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m..  This is a great way to meet the Principal and ask any additional questions you may have to evaluate your possibilities.  Please visit the CCS webpage for links to the Virtual School Choice Fair booths.

There is also 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.


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

As not to interrupt the instruction that is taking place, please contact the school to schedule a tour.


When are the School Choice Fairs or other informational meetings?

This year, the High School and Middle School Fair will be held Virtually on Thursday, January 11, 2024 from 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. for Middle and High Schools.  The Virtual Elementary School Choice Fair will be held on Tuesday February 13, 2024 from 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.  Links to each schools virtual booth will be posted on the CCS website prior to the date of the School Choice Fair.  All principals will attend their respective fair to answer questions about their school. 

High school career center courses are accessed through the guidance counselors and internship coordinators at all high schools.  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 days.

 

What happens if my student is withdrawn from CCS to attend a charter school, but I want my student to remain active in the lottery?

 If your student still resides in CCS, you must complete the enrollment process as soon as the withdraw occurs.  The Enrollment Specialist will enroll your student into the Student Information System as "Lottery Only" and this will keep your lottery application active. 


What is the procedure for potential placement through the lottery?

An electronic draw will be completed for each school and grade after the deadline for on-time applications.  Parents/Guardians will receive an automated call and email when lottery results are available to be viewed through the Infinite Campus Parent Portal.  Parents/Guardians will be able to view if an offer is being made and/or the waitlist number for each of the schools to which they applied.  

The School Choice staff 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 notifications of offers will be made to the phone number and email displayed on the Infinite Campus Parent Portal.  Parents have two days to accept an offer, therefore it is vital that the email and phone numbers are kept current and checked often.  Offers not accepted by the deadline will be declined and the next student on the waitlist will be offered placement.
 

What happens if my student is retained after accepting a lottery offer?  The CCS lottery is grade specific.  If a student is retained, accepted lottery offers will be rescinded, and the student will be re-enrolled into the previous school of attendance.  If students/families wish, they have the opportunity to enroll in summer school.  Upon completion of summer school, if the student is promoted to the grade level submitted on the lottery application, the accepted lottery placement will be re-instated.  

 

Do siblings automatically get offers if their brother/sister is accepted into a school? No.  There is a sibling priority that is implemented after the initial draw, but there is NEVER A GUARANTEE that siblings can be kept together if there is a lottery placement.

Sibling Priority - Siblings are defined as students living in the same household with a common parent.

Should any open spaces occur after the initial Lottery results, students on the Waitlist shall be made offers in the following manner:

  1. For All Elementary Schools and Conventional Middle and High Schools: Once the original lottery responses are processed, any seats not accepted will be offered to siblings on the waitlist in the order the siblings were drawn in the lottery. Once all siblings on the waitlist have been placed, the non- sibling waitlist will resume.

     
  2. For Total Alternative Middle and High Schools: Once the original lottery responses are processed, any seats not accepted will be offered to siblings on the waitlist in an alternating  pattern with the non-sibling waitlist in the order they were drawn in the lottery. There shall be no sibling priority for students placed via the selective admissions process.

For how many schools may I apply?

For any application, you may apply for up to 3 different school choices in any combination of conventional and alternative schools.  A school may only be selected one time.  Be sure to apply for the correct grade for the 2024-2025 school year. Applying for the incorrect grade level voids any offers. 

 


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

Answers to offers must be entered within two days of the offer. Parents/guardians may not keep any offer on hold.  They must make a decision on all offers made to them.  If an offer is accepted, all remaining active applications for the student will be declined.  If a response to an offer is not received by the stated deadline, offers will be declined and the offer will be given to the next student on the waitlist.  If an offer is declined, your child will remain on the waitlist for the other schools for which you applied.

 


If I am on the waitlist for all of my school choices, how will I be notified if an offer is made?

Parents/Guardians will receive an automated phone call and email when lottery offers are made, provided the correct email and phone number are on file in the Parent Portal account.

 


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

Make sure your Infinite Campus Parent Portal reflects the correct email and phone numbers.  If there are corrections needed, please update your information via the demographics tab in the Parent Portal.  If the address or household members are not correct, please submit an Annual Update via the Parent Portal.


Why must I make a decision on offered schools within 2 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.


What occurs if I accept an offer through the lottery?

If an offer is made and accepted prior to the first day of school, the student will be scheduled to start the school of acceptance on the first day of the 2024-2025 school year.  Once an acceptance is made, the student is committed to that school.  All other lottery applications are canceled and his/her seat in the previous school or home school is offered to other students.  If a parent/guardian changes their mind after the acceptance is made, a new lottery application must be submitted for a different school, even if it is for their original school by address.  The student will still be assigned to the school that was first accepted, until another lottery offer can be made.

If a lottery offer is accepted after the first day of school, the student is enrolled to start the next school day following the acceptance (the parent will need to take the student to school on the first day to have transportation requested-- if applicable).  If the student is enrolled in the Columbus Online Academy (COA) and then accepts a lottery offer after the start of the school year, they will be withdrawn from COA and enrolled to start the next day at the school of acceptance.  

Beginning in Winter 2024, lottery applications will be accepted for the 2024-2025 school year.  Parents/Guardians may complete a Request to Return to Homeschool application, however, it may not always be possible to offer placement.  Parents/Guardians may also apply for a different school through the lottery, if the school they initially chose does not fully meet their needs.  Lottery application submission dates will be posted on the CCS website.

It is important that parents/guardians and the student be certain that they want the school being offered before accepting a lottery placement.  After an offer is accepted, call the school to find out about any orientations or information nights.


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 for grades K-12. In early January of each year a Request to Return to Home School form is made available on the internet and at each school building.  Parents may complete the form and submit it to the Division of School Choice.  This does not guarantee a return, but if space is available the student is placed back into the school of address before any lottery placements are made.  If a student cannot be returned to the school of address, the parent will be contacted.

A few questions that should be considered in the decision-making process are:  If you knew ahead of time that you cannot return to a previous school, 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?

Pre-K  - At the end of the school year,  General Education Pre-K students will be enrolled into their school of address for kindergarten.  Families wishing to remain in the same school, if it is not the school of address, for the following year, will need to apply through the lottery for an opportunity to stay.  

 

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

K-12 students who accept a placement through the lottery 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 boundaries, you would need to apply to stay.  See later FAQs concerning Interdistrict Open Enrollment (IOE).

 


How is athletic eligibility impacted if I accept a lottery placement for a different school?

VERY IMPORTANT!  Based on Ohio High School Athletic Associations (OHSAA) bylaws students repeating 9th grade or entering 10th, 11th or 12th grade, who change high schools, will be ineligible to participate in interscholastic athletics for the second 50% of the sports season in any sport in which the student had previously participated in the last twelve months, including students enrolling in CCS from a private or community school. Students may qualify for full participation under an OHSAA bylaw if the change of schools reasoning falls under one of the OHSAA exceptions.  Students entering their first year of high school, who have not established eligibility in any prior high school, are not affected.   

  • Eligibility Established  Students entering 9th grade for the first time establish eligibility for 4 years at the high school in which they are enrolled and attend on day one, or at the school at which a student participates in a scrimmage or game, prior to the start of classes, whichever occurs first.
  • IOE Students (i.e. students that DO NOT reside within the CCS attendance area) attending a CCS high school that does not offer interscholastic athletics (CAHS/Fort Hayes) will not have interscholastic athletic eligibility/opportunity with Columbus City Schools.
  • Students cross-enrolled and attending another site (i.e. a career center) may only participate at the high school to which they are cross enrolled.
  • Please note: the Ohio High School Athletic Association has semester and age participation restrictions that affect eligibility.  Schedule a meeting with the athletic director for specific questions.  Refer to the OHSAA eligibility checklist online for specific details.

If you have questions please contact the school athletic director. CCS athletic directors may only review the interscholastic athletic eligibility status of a student that is actually enrolled in the respective high school in which they are assigned.


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

Kindergarten students in all CCS Elementary schools attend full-day Kindergarten.

 

May I still apply for the lottery if my child will not be 5 years old by September 30, 2024?

Applications for children who will not be 5 years old until after September 30 will not be accepted unless the child has passed the Early Entrance Testing (EET), which is completed in June by the Gifted and Talented Department.  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.


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

Kindergarten students in all CCS Elementary schools attend full-day Kindergarten.


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, will be assessed for English acquisition at the time of enrollment (grades K-12). 


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

Please visit the Enrollment page on the Columbus City School website (http://www.ccsoh.us/Enrollment.aspx) for a list of the documents needed for enrollment.
 


Is a childcare placement possible through the Division of School Choice?

No.  Childcare placements based on demonstrated parental need are only available from the Division of the Registrar during the school year after the lottery process for the year is completed. Prior to the start of school, parents should apply for placement through the regular lottery school choice process.  After the school year has begun, parents can apply through a childcare transfer. Only if the lottery waitlist has been cleared for the grade and school requested, can a childcare transfer be approved.

Parents should contact the Division of Registrar at 1-380-997-7683.

 


What if my child was expelled from school, are they eligible to apply for a school through the lottery?

A student who is transferred for disciplinary reasons from any school may not reapply to that school. Students expelled through the Hearing Office for a period of 10 or more consecutive days during the current school year may not access the lottery process for conventional schools for the following school year.

 


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

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

You may keep the child in the current school.  However, depending on where the new residence is located, you may be responsible for transportation.  Note:  If you elect to remain at your current school for the remainder of the school year, you would need to apply through the lottery to attend your “new school by address” for the following year.  Do not assume to be automatically enrolled for the next school year to your new school of address.    Please contact the Division of School Choice 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 it is very late in the school year, other options might be possible.

The other option is that you may immediately enroll the child in the new school by address by completing the Annual Update on your Parent Portal account. 

 If you have questions, call School Choice at 614-365-7459 or email schoolchoice@columbus.k12.oh.us.

 


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

General Eligibility for Application

  • Only those students who would like to be enrolled full-time in grades K-12 in a Columbus City School (CCS) are eligible to apply for IOE.   Part-time students are not eligible for IOE placement.
  • Students applying for Kindergarten must meet the age requirement assigned by the district of residence.
  • The residence of the custodial parent/guardian must be located outside of the boundaries of the Columbus City Schools.
  • Students who were suspended or expelled for 10 or more consecutive days during the previous school year are ineligible to apply for admission through IOE for the upcoming school year.

The order that placements occur:

1. CCS students who are on a waitlist through Intra-District Open Enrollment (also known as "the Lottery") and who have submitted an on time application.
2. Returning Inter-District Open Enrollment students who are the children of employees, and who have submitted an on time application to return the following year.
3. Returning Inter-District Open Enrollment students who have submitted an on time application to return the following year.
4. CCS students who are on a waitlist through Intra-District Open Enrollment (also known as "the Lottery") and who have submitted an application after the deadline.
5. New Inter-District Open Enrollment students who are the children of District employees, who have submitted an on time application to attend a District school.
6. New Inter-District Open Enrollment students who have submitted an on time application to attend a District school.
7. Any Inter-District Open Enrollment students who have submitted an application after the deadline.


Additional information regarding IOE

 If a student moves outside of the CCS District during the school year, the address must be updated via the Annual Update in the Parent Portal and an IOE application must be submitted within two weeks of the move. Submission of an application does not guarantee approval.

An application must be filed each year to be considered for IOE continued placement. Applications follow the same time frames as Intra-District Open Enrollment (also known as "the Lottery").   

Note: Students who moved to another district over the school year, and were allowed to finish the year tuition-free, must file a new application for the following year.  However, they would have higher priority than new IOE applicants who did not attend CCS in 2023-2024 as long as the application is submitted ON TIME.  If concerned about the “chances” for the following year, contact the Division of School Choice at (614)365-7459 or by email at schoolchoice@columbus.k12.oh.us.


Transportation  Students enrolled through Inter-District Open Enrollment (IOE) are not eligible for transportation from their home address.

Athletics IOE Students (i.e. students that DO NOT reside within the CCS attendance area) attending a CCS high school that does not offer interscholastic athletics (CAHS/Fort Hayes) will not have interscholastic athletic eligibility/opportunity with Columbus City Schools.


Am I automatically approved if I submit a Request to Return to Home School Application?

No.  The school must have availability in the grade level/unit requested.  Check the School Choice link in the Infinite Campus Parent Portal, within 3 days of your submission for the status of the Request to Return to Home School application.


How do I get additional questions answered?

If you have additional questions, please contact the Division of School Choice through email at schoolchoice@columbus.k12.oh.us or by calling 614-365-7459.