- How to find
the best school for your child:
Advice from experienced parents!
Prepared by Columbus PACE
Lottery applications 2006
school - available Jan. 5; due Jan. 31
Elementary and Middle School
(soon?!) TBA ; due March 3, 2006 TBA
- To help you in your decisions,
the district offers school fairs, where schools provide information
about their programs.
January 19 High School Fair
Middle School Fair - February 7, 2006 at Woodward Park Middle School, 5151 Karl Rd., from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Elementary School Fair - February 23, 2006 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., location TBA
NOTE: ALL DATES ARE TENTATIVE
THE SCHOOL CHOICE OFFICE AT 365-5630 FOR UP TO DAYEINFORMATION OR
GO TO THE CPS WEBSITE AT http://www.columbus.k12.oh.us/
CHOICE INFO IS FOUND ON THE PARENT PAGE UNDER School
Choice / Lottery Information
- School Visits
Most schools schedule visits. Call
for an appointment, and ask to talk with the staff you need
information from. Bring your student.
- How to choose
what things are important to you. (See attached form). Is bus
transportation critical for you or were you planning to provide
your own transportation? Does your child need Special Education or
ESL services? Do you need a 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.
- Information on schools
CPS Website has information on each school. www.columbus.k12.oh.us.
Bus transportation is not available
to all schools. Make sure you have backup plans for transportation
if you select one of these schools (call 221-FACT for more
- Some alternative high schools
do not have sports teams. If your child attends an alternative
school he or she can participate in high school sports at the home
(assigned) school. If your child is interested in athletics, you
should interview both the coach of the team your child will be
playing on and the school's athletic director.
What is the grade point average for
your (football, basketball, , swimming, wrestling...) team? If
they don't know the answer to that question, run, don't walk.
many of your players go on to college? (not how many get
athletic scholarships) The numbers should be at least as high
as for the general school population.
What academic supports are in place
to help athletes at your school? Study tables? Tutors?
Peer counseling? How many children use these supports?
A coach who creates a team social climate that honors
academic achievement is going to make a peer group of athletes
where gifted kids can thrive.
Look for coaches who have a strong
sense of priorities in which academics comes first. Look for
coaches that you can build a rapport with.
programs vary widely in Columbus Schools. If your child is
interested in the arts, don't pick the school without attending a
performances or art exhibits there first. If you can, go
during the day and listen to practices. Watch the teachers and how
they interact with the students. Interview them. Where are
former students now? What are the performance opportunities in the
school? Do they engage in competitions or festivals? When
are ensembles/rehearsals scheduled?
- Academic challenge
and offerings for gifted students in CPS are available to all
students. You may have to demonstrate to a teacher that you can
handle work in an accelerated class, but you do not have to be
identified as gifted in order to take the class.
and parents who are considering acceleration (moving ahead one or
more years in one or more subjects) need to get the support of the
teacher at the school they are currently in. Your current
teacher's recommendation will carry weight.
is available in most middle schools for math and science, so
students can take Algebra I and Biology in 9th grade. But in order
to schedule both AP Calculus and AP Physics in High School,
students will need to begin this path earlier, taking Algebra I in
7th grade and Geometry in 8th grade. Ask if this is possible.
Gifted Services: for elementary and
middle schools, ask how many gifted students are at the school, and
how many days per week the Gifted Specialist is there. Ask who
teaches the cluster group classes, and visit those classes.
Internships: for students who learn
best in practical situations, consider one of the high schools that
has a full-day weekly internship program.
life is really important. You can craft a good academic program at
any Columbus High School if you are willing to work with the school
and do some creative scheduling. The best matches are made on the
basis of where friends are going (if you like the friends) and
school-related interests such as music, drama, clubs, and
athletics. School fairs are a good place to find out which programs
- Make sure you will be able to
either receive or provide transportation for after school
- School Choice for College
you have not taken a good number of the AP classes available in
your school, you are less likely to be accepted to highly
selective colleges. Parents of 5th graders need to
understand this in order to give their children the widest number
of options when they are high school juniors and seniors.
a discussion with the Middle School counselor and the Gifted
Specialist about which Middle School classes will best prepare your
child for AP work in High School.
advantage for every opportunity to accelerate and compact
curriculum that is available.
If you are in doubt about how to
prepare your child, visit the High School AP teacher and ask what
I KNOW I CAN at 469-7044. They have terrific college planning tools
showing what to consider at each grade level.
Take the Midwest Talent Search.
Part of the service they provide is recommendations for pre-college
the Columbus Virtual High School at 3365-5728 or
for self-paced core courses.
- HIGH SCHOOL
high schools now have AP courses, and the choice is increasing
every year. Look for courses in your area of interest, and talk
with the principal about what courses may be offered in the future.
In addition, high school students also have options to take college
courses (Post-Secondary Education Options: call 365-6626).
Enroll in the Humanities program as
preparation for AP English, Literature, and History courses.
the path of acceleration that you established in middle school.
Take the PSAT in 9th grade if at all possible. It's good practice
for when the test really counts and you will start receiving
college mail right away.
to ask high school guidance counselors:
How many of the AP students earn
scores of 4 or 5 on the final exams? How many students took
AP classes last year? Is that number growing?
about National Merit Scholars, National Achievement Scholars, and
Commended scholars in the last few years. How many at the school?
Where are those kids going to college? Are they honored
prominently in the school?
are the average ACT and SAT scores for the senior class last year?
The school should be proud of their academic achievements and
be quite ready to brag about the students’ accomplishments.
- If something your child needs
is not offered, that does not mean it cannot be requested. Staff
members from the Gifted and Talented Program are very helpful in
working with parents.
This website holds many resources for helping you to evaluate and
decide about schools, Some information is specific to Ohio.
- Source: Compiled by the
Planning and Evaluation Service of the U.S. Department of Education
from various sources.
a Leg Up on College Preparation and Save on Tuition High school
students can also take courses for credit at many colleges. These
courses, Advanced Placement and Tech-Prep, are available in the
tenth, eleventh, and twelfth grades. Middle school and junior high
school students who plan ahead and take algebra, a foreign language
and computer courses by the eighth grade are better prepared for
Advanced Placement and Tech-Prep courses in high school.
Advanced Placement (AP) courses. Advanced Placement courses are
college-level courses in 16 different subjects, from arts and music
to calculus and English that help students get ready for college
during high school. Students who score high enough on the AP exams
can receive advanced placement in college or college credit. This
saves time and money, as students may be able to take fewer classes
Tech-Prep courses. Students who want to pursue a technical
program at a community, technical or junior college may want to
prepare by taking some technical courses at the high school career
centers. Talk to someone at your child’s school or from a
community, junior or technical college to find out the best high
school courses to take for tech prep involvement. Work with your
school counselor to find local businesses or school-to-work
councils that can provide your child with these opportunities.
ready for college admissions exams. Take these exams as early
as you can - Most colleges require students to take either the SAT
I or the ACT in their junior or senior year of high school. Ask
your guidance counselor how your child can best prepare for these
go it alone: help for parents Some parents, especially those
who did not go to or finish college themselves, may worry that they
cannot provide their child the guidance and support needed to get
ready for college. But remember, getting ready for college is more
work than anyone can handle on their own, and you don’t need to
have gone to college yourself to help someone else get ready for
college. To provide children extra opportunities to develop the
knowledge and skills they need for college, many schools offer
before- and after-school programs, where children can
learn more about the subjects that interest them, under the care
and guidance of adults. Some schools also have mentoring programs,
where an adult who has studied or worked in the same field in which
a child is interested can provide extra help and advice about, for
example, the challenging math and science courses college-bound
students need to take, and how to plan for a college and a career
connected to their interests. Ask your child’s teachers or
guidance counselor for information about such programs in your
local schools. Ask your child’s principal about opportunities for
teachers or others who have graduated from college to come into the
classroom to talk with students about their experiences and
To Take in Middle and Junior High School
the time a child is in sixth grade, families should start talking
about going to college. Make it clear that you expect your children
to go to college, and together start planning how to get there.
Everyone knows that high school courses and grades count for
admission to college, but many people do not realize that a college
education also builds on the knowledge and skills acquired in
earlier years. Your child should plan a high school course schedule
early, in the sixth or seventh grade.
Challenging courses help kids
get into college. Research shows that students who take algebra and
geometry early (by the end of the eighth and ninth grades) are much
more likely to go on to college than students who do not. In a
national sample, only 26 percent of low-income students who did not
take geometry went to college; but 71 percent of low-income students
who took geometry went to college. It is common in other developed
countries for students to have mastered the basics of math, algebra,
and some geometry by the end of the eighth grade. By taking algebra
early in middle and junior high school, students can enroll in
chemistry, physics, and trigonometry. In addition, students should
take three to four years of a foreign language and as many Advanced
Placement courses as they can before finishing high school.
as employers want workers who have certain skills, most colleges
want students who have taken certain courses. Many of these courses
can be taken only after a student has passed other, more basic
courses. The most important thing a student can do to prepare for
college is to sign up for the right courses and work hard to pass
them. As parents, you should get involved in choosing your
children’s schedule for the next year, and make sure that your
children can and do take challenging courses. College-bound middle
and junior high school students should take:
I (in eighth grade) and Geometry (in
ninth grade) or other challenging math courses that
expect students to master the essentials of these subjects. Algebra
and geometry form the foundation for the advanced math and science
courses that students need to take in high school to prepare for
college. These courses give students the skills they need to
succeed on college entrance exams, in college math classes and in
their future careers.
Science and History or Geography. Together with math, these
courses make up the “core” or basic academic classes. Every
student should take English every year in middle school and
in high school. They should also take as many science and history
(including geography) classes as possible because all of them are
good preparation for college. See the chart on the next page for
examples of recommended courses.
Language. Many colleges require their students to study a
foreign language for at least two years, and some prefer three or
four years of one language. Taking a foreign language shows
colleges that a student is serious and willing to learn the basics
plus more, and shows employers that he or she is prepared to
compete in the global economy.
Science. Basic computer skills are now essential, and more and
more jobs require at least a basic knowledge of computers. Make
sure your child takes advantage of any opportunities the school
offers to learn to use computers.
Arts. Many colleges view participation in the arts and music as
a valuable experience that broadens students’ understanding and
appreciation of the world around them. It is also well known and
widely recognized that the arts contribute significantly to
children’s intellectual development.
- Courses to take in High
no substitute for taking challenging courses and working hard. The
following chart lists some of the courses students should take.
High School Courses Recommended
- algebra I
and Geography 2 to 3 years
Science 3 to 4 years
and Performing Arts 1 to 2 years
Electives 1 to 3 years
Language 3 to 4 years
Taking Advanced Placement courses and Tech-Prep courses in any of
these subjects can give students added skills for college.
FOR COLLEGE: OTHER RESOURCES These web resources
are all available at the following website:
Sponsored by the Coalition of American Colleges and Universities,
this site has information on preparing for college, including
recommendations for junior and senior high school students. It has
sections on choosing the right college and on how to pay for
college. There are good links to other sites with information on
preparing for and applying to college and on paying for a college
Ready for College Early:
A Handbook for Parents of Students in the Middle School Years
Written for parents as an introduction to preparing for their
children's college education, this site includes recommendations for
steps to be taken during the junior and senior high school years. A
is also available.
Right On GrO
is a free downloadable multimedia program from the College Board
designed to encourage middle school students to start thinking about
college. GrO was designed for early teens who may be uncertain about
their future prospects for college or unsure about how to get on the
This site, from the Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corporation,
contains helpful information and useful links. A Spanish
of the site is available. See Careership
for interactive career activity.
This site, sponsored by the Parent Advocacy Coalition for
Educational Rights), provides recommendations for college
preparation and lists, publications, and resource links for parents
and students with disabilities.
Your Child for College.
A Resource Book for Parents. A comprehensive guide for parents,
this online publication provides answers to general questions and
information on preparing students academically, financing a college
education, and the importance of long range planning.
This mission of this Web site is to give college students and
students planning on going to college easy access to the information
and series available from the U.S. government. The site also
includes links to other educational and some commercial sites. The
site was developed as a cooperative effort of the federal
government, higher education, and students to reflect what students
and families say is the information they need.
programs to help prepare students with learning disabilities for
This directory provides information on summer programs that prepare
high school juniors and seniors with LD and/or ADD for the
challenges of college-level work.
This U.S. Department of Education Web site has information for
pre-high school, high school, returning adult students, and
families. There are links to financial aid and college planning Web
This handbook for students in middle and junior high school shows
students how a college education will improve their lives. The
importance of early planning, choosing the right courses, and
financing an education are stressed.
by Suzanne Hayes and Lea Pearson, PACE, with help from Gifted and
Talented staff and the School Choice Office