Registration and Enrollment
Parents, or legal guardians, first must register a child using CPS' Student Registration Information Form. After the completed registration form is handed in at the school, staff enrolls the child.
Cincinnati Public Schools educates children in preschool through 12th grade:
- Neighborhood Elementary Schools — (grades K-6 and K-8; preschool at most) Assigned to a child based on the child's home address
- Magnet Elementary Schools — (grades K-6 and K-8; preschool at most) Selected by parents via online lottery application
- Neighborhood Schools with Magnet Programs — (grades K-6 and K-8; preschool at most) Neighborhood program assigned by child's home address; Magnet program selected by parents via online lottery
- High Schools — (grades 7-12) Selected by students and parents via online lottery application (and paper application for upper grades)
- Combination Schools — (grades K-12 - Cincinnati Digital Academy, Oyler School, Riverview East Academy and School for Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA) - Entrance by various ways depending on the school
Some Cincinnati Public Schools have entrance requirements, such as academic entrance exams at Walnut Hills and Dater high schools, and auditions to SCPA's upper grades.
Only a parent or legal guardian may register a child in school. (A legal guardian must present documentation, such as custody granted by a court or accredited agency.)
Neighborhood Elementary Schools
Neighborhood elementary schools are the foundation of Cincinnati Public Schools, serving as Community Learning Centers and neighborhood anchors, and are the main entry points for most students into elementary school. A child is assigned to a neighborhood school based on the child's home address. All students not enrolled in magnet programs are enrolled in neighborhood schools.
To apply to a neighborhood school that is not the child's assigned neighborhood school, see Board Policy No. 5120.
Cincinnati Public Schools has a long history of offering all-day kindergarten in all elementary schools.
Children must be age 5 by September 30 to enter kindergarten. Ohio law requires that children attend kindergarten prior to entering first grade. Parents should follow the registration guidelines for Neighborhood Schools and Magnet School Enrollment.
Early Entrance to Kindergarten: Younger children who turn age 5 between October 1 and December 31 may enter kindergarten only after passing a test that determines a child's readiness for school.
Students with birthdays after December 31 will be addressed on a case-by-case basis.
Early Entrance Evaluation application packets are available at neighborhood elementary schools, or download the packet here (PDF - 4 pages). Proof of the child's birth and proof of the child’s home address must be provided with the packet.
The completed and signed Early Entrance Application packet and required documents should be returned to the district’s lead psychologist's office at CPS' Education Center, Department of Student Services, 2651 Burnet Ave., 45219 (or turn the packet in to the school's principal).
Information on testing for early kindergarten entrance: CPS' Student Services Department — (513) 363-3251
First Grade Guidelines
Children who turn six prior to September 30 should be enrolled in first grade for that year; children who turn six after September 30 will be enrolled for the following year.
Early Entrance to first grade may be available for a child whose sixth birthday falls on or between October 1st and December 31st of the Early Entrance year. It may also be considered for a six-year-old child who has not had a kindergarten experience by a request to the district pupil personnel services committee consisting of a school principal, school psychologist, and grade level teacher.
Magnet Elementary Schools
Parents must apply via a lottery for their child to enter a magnet school or program. Applications to magnet schools are made a school year ahead via an online lottery application process.
High School applications to grades 7, 8 and 9 are submitted online, and seats are awarded via lottery. Students in grades 10, 11 and 12 apply in person at the high school of their choosing.
Open Enrollment allows students who live outside the boundaries of the Cincinnati Public School District - but in the state of Ohio - to enroll in CPS schools without paying tuition. Priority always is given to students who live within the CPS boundaries. Applications to the open-enrollment lottery are submitted May 1-31.
Students applying under Open Enrollment must meet any acceptance criteria required by a CPS school.
If a child is transferring from another school within the Cincinnati Public School District (including charter, private or parochial), the parent/guardian will be asked to provide:
- Proof of residency
- Final report card of last school attended
If the student is returning from outside the Cincinnati Public School District to the same school in the same school year, the parent/guardian must provide the following documents:
- Proof of residency
- Final report card of last school attended
- Verification of kindergarten attendance, if entering first grade
The parent/guardian should review the CPS'to update any incorrect information.
Leaving the District
If a student is leaving Cincinnati Public Schools, the parent/guardian should come to the school and fill out a withdrawal form (Student Records - Active Student Records Release Form).
Each school is responsible for maintaining individual student's records. Parents and guardians must keep school records up to date by:
- Providing accurate information supported by legal or required documents.
- Telling the school of changes in address and other information.
Cincinnati Public Schools collects student fees annually. The money is used to pay part of the cost of essential classroom materials.
- Students fees are based on a family's income and the number of children in the family who are enrolled in Cincinnati Public Schools.
- If a student's family income qualifies for the federal Free or Reduced-price Lunch program, student fees may be waived or reduced, but families must fill out the form each school year.
- A separate Student Fee Form must be filled out for each child.
Payments are accepted in cash (exact amount only), online at PayForIt.net, by money order or certified checks. (No personal checks accepted.)
Student fees can be paid online with Visa or MasterCard credit cards, or a checking account.