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Academic Focus

Cincinnati Public Schools offers a variety of ways to educate children well, with choices that touch on children's talents, interests and learning aptitudes.

Descriptions below explain the academic focuses of CPS' programs and whether they are offered at the elementary and/or high school levels.

The Arts

Elementary Magnet, Neighborhood and High School Programs
Exposure to the arts — such as creative writing, dance, drama, instrumental music, technical theater, visual arts and vocal music — broadens a child's learning experience, awakens the imagination and nurtures creativity.

Benefits of arts education include:

  • Stimulates and develops the imagination and critical thinking, and refines cognitive and creative skills.
  • Provides tremendous impact on children's developmental growth and helps level the "learning field" across socio-economic boundaries.
  • Strengthens problem-solving and critical-thinking skills, adding to overall academic achievement and school success.
  • Develops a sense of craftsmanship, quality task performance, and goal-setting -- all skills needed to succeed in school and beyond.
  • Teaches life skills such as developing an informed perception, articulating a vision, problem solving and decision making, building self-confidence and self-discipline, and accepting responsibility to complete tasks from start to finish.
  • Nurtures important values, including team-building skills, respecting alternative viewpoints, and appreciating and being aware of different cultures and traditions.

Career Technical Education

High School Program
Today’s Career Technical Education is not the same as the vocational schools of yesteryear, when attending a vocational school meant a student was not going to college. Career Technical Education now assures that students meet the same academic requirements for graduation as other Ohio high school students while also complete additional coursework in a chosen field.

Engineering, health care, computer graphics, auto technology and culinary arts are just a few of the 16 career fields offered in Ohio high schools.

Career Technical programs at CPS high schools 

Fundamental Academy

Elementary Magnet Program
This program fits well with children who thrive in a highly structured environment, are well-disciplined, and have good work and study habits. A main emphasis is on helping students master basic skills and develop good character. The curriculum design focuses on strengthening reading skills through teaching techniques.

Magnet Elementary Schools offering Fundamental Academy

World Languages

Elementary Magnet Program
CPS offers students opportunities to study seven languages and cultures — Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Russian and Spanish — plus English as a Second Language.

Benefits of learning a second language, especially at an early age:

  • Provides a positive effect on intellectual growth, and enriches and enhances a child's mental development.
  • Give students more flexibility in thinking, greater sensitivity to language, and a better ear for listening.
    Improves children's understanding of their native languages.
  • Opens the door to other cultures, and helps children understand and appreciate people from other countries.
  • Gives students a head start in college language requirements.
  • Increases job opportunities in many careers where knowing a second language is a valued asset.

Magnet Elementary Schools offering World Language


Elementary Magnet Program
Academically gifted children have special needs that differ from those of other students. Research shows that gifted students may not be sufficiently challenged in traditional schools, and often they do not achieve their full potential there.

A program focused on gifted instruction allows students to blossom in a rigorous environment that is flexible enough to meet the specific learning needs of academically gifted students.

Magnet Elementary Schools offering Gifted Academies

Information Technology

High School Program
Information Technology is the branch of engineering that deals with the use of  computers and telecommunications equipment to retrieve, store, transmit and manipulate data and information. Information Technology commonly refers to computers and computer networks but also encompasses other information-distribution technologies such as television and telephones.

Several industries are associated with information technology, such as computer hardware, software, electronics, semiconductors, the Internet, telecom equipment, e-commerce and computer services. People working in this field often are responsible for network administration, software development and installation, and the planning and management of an organization's technology life cycle, by which hardware and software is maintained, upgraded and replaced.


Elementary Magnet and High School Programs
CPS is a national leader in providing free public Montessori education. CPS opened the nation's first public Montessoi elementary school in 1975, and, in 1994, began expanding into providing Montessori education through graduation when it opened the nation's first public Montessori high school.   

Montessori is a teaching style based on the educational philosophy of Dr. Maria Montessori (1870-1952), an Italian physician and scholar who was profoundly interested in young children's development. Through careful scrutiny, Dr. Montessori learned that children create their personalities through interaction with their environments and came to believe in encouraging children’s natural willingness to learn. She observed how children learned as they spontaneously selected and worked with didactic materials she provided.

Her approach to education stemmed from a solid grounding in biology, psychiatry and anthropology. She studied children of all races and cultures, soon seeing the common laws of human development playing out before her.

A Montessori classroom environment is designed to develop the whole child and to teach students skills for life. Students don’t always sit in desks lined up in rows, but, instead often work alone or in small groups at tables. Montessori classes are multi-age groups, where younger children and older children learn from each other. Students develop valuable social skills by learning to work with others and through volunteer service projects. A parent’s involvement is a critical part of the Montessori program.  

Magnet Schools offering a Montessori Program

At the high school level, Montessori education continues to embrace Dr. Montessori's teachings, creating opportunities for students to form caring grade-level communities and multi-grade teams, while learning through a strong college-preparatory curriculum. Montessori high school is a place to develop young people into productive members of society.  Montessori high school students go on two-week "intersessions" twice during the school year, with regular curriculum halted and each student selecting an in-depth immersion course to focus on.  Each senior in Montessori high school completes a yearlong project that requires long-range planning and presentations to their peers.

New Tech

High School Program
New Tech offers an innovative and nationally recognized instructional approach to education that is known for engaging students in project-based learning, using technology every step of the way.

The New Tech program has received national recognition for improving graduation rates, raising ACT scores, and increasing college and career readiness. Instead of simply learning academic concepts, students develop an understanding for why the content is relevant, as well as how to apply the knowledge to solve complex, real-world problems.

Students will be evaluated for proficiency in traditional subject matter as well as for progress in mastering skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, communication, technology fluency, creativity, information and media literacy, and contextual learning.

New Tech embraces three major components:

  • Rigorous and engaging instruction, with project-based learning at the heart of the instructional approach. Students collaborate on projects that require critical thinking and presentation skills, which makes learning relevant so students are eager to learn.
  • A collaborative culture, which empowers students and teachers, and promotes trust and respect. Students have exceptional ownership of their learning experience and are given responsibilities similar to what they might experience in a professional workplace.
  • Integrated use of technology, with students using technology every day. All classrooms offer a computer for each student to allow students to become self-directed learners who no longer rely primarily on teachers and textbooks to learn.

Paideia (py-day-uh)

Elementary Magnet and High School Programs

Paideia comes from the Greek word for "the upbringing of a child," meaning the process of educating children so they reach their potential and live successful lives.  The development of good habits, grounded in the values of citizenship and leadership, is a fundamental part of this philosophy.

The Paideia method of teaching provides three forms of instruction:

  • Didactic instruction enables students to get the facts by introducing them to concepts through listening, reading and observing.
  • Coaching requires students to work with information learned in the didactic lessons by practicing and applying concepts under the guidance of Paideia-trained teachers.
  • Socratic seminars use questioning that requires students to think critically. The seminar is excellent preparation for law school or fields that draw conclusions based on evidence.

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