Cincinnati Public Schools

Dear CPS Community,

Thank you for your guidance and feedback as we prepare for a return to school in the fall. We began planning in April, and we are grateful for the outpouring of questions, perspectives and ideas that have been shared in the last several weeks and months.

We heard you through participation in planning committees, focus groups and our survey of more than 6,200 employees, parents, students and community members. We have seen record-breaking participation in recent board meetings.

Earlier today, the CPS Board of Education approved a go-forward plan that we believe provides the best balance of safety and academic success for our students. This plan will return students to in-person instruction 2–3 days per week. Because no plan that includes classroom instruction is completely without health risk, we encourage families for whom in-person instruction does not make sense to explore our Cincinnati Digital Academy for the 2020–2021 school year.

Future of Schools Plan

Our guiding principles — safety and health, as much in-person learning as possible, equity, data-driven decision making and fiscal responsibility — remain at the forefront of our planning process.

Our return to school plan includes three important components:

1. Blended Learning

This model includes dividing our students into two groups in order to maintain the CDC's recommended six-feet of social distancing. Each group will receive a minimum of two-days per week in class (Monday/Tuesday or Thursday/Friday) and will alternate attending in-person on Wednesdays. On days that students are not in the classroom, they will utilize remote learning. Students will stay in their schools, and will not spread across other buildings or community spaces.

2. Cincinnati Digital Academy

For parents and guardians concerned about their family’s or their student’s health in an in-person school environment, a full-time digital learning option is available. Our Cincinnati Digital Academy offers a K–12 curriculum which includes both virtual time with teachers and digital classroom lessons.

We are glad to have this option already in our portfolio of choices for our CPS families, as many districts are working to quickly launch a fully online option. We are spending the summer enhancing the curriculum and ensuring that we are prepared for a potential increase in enrollment.

Importantly, students who enroll in Cincinnati Digital Academy for the upcoming academic year will be able retain their position in their current CPS school for the following year. Families can also make this choice on a semester-by-semester basis. We encourage families who are interested in an existing, accredited fully-remote option to explore our Digital Academy.

If you’re considering this option, please complete our interest form and a Cincinnati Digital Academy representative will contact you.

3. The ability to quickly flex to remote learning.

Throughout both the summer and academic year, we will continue to follow guidance from Governor DeWine, the Ohio Department of Health, the Ohio Board of Education and the Hamilton County Health Department regarding the overall health and transmission risk within our state and the community. We are prepared to transition to a completely remote environment should that be necessary.

It’s important to note that current CDC guidance recommends schools close for two to five days for deep cleaning and monitoring of symptoms in the event of a confirmed case. Although we are currently making final decisions about when and for how long schools might close in the event of an outbreak, we all need to be prepared to make this transition quickly and smoothly.

We learned a lot during the state closure, and we also received feedback from parents and staff about how to improve the experience. As a result, remote learning will look much different than it did in the spring, including:

  • Detailed requirements in place to ensure a consistent remote learning experience,
  • Clear communication for students and families,
  • Access to technology and Wi-Fi, and
  • More robust paper packets connected to specific curriculum.

Health and Safety Protocols

We understand any return-to-school plan presents risks. For this reason, we are partnering with Cincinnati Children's Hospital to develop health and safety protocols that help protect our employees, students and families as much as possible.

These processes will be based on guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and any state direction that is provided in the next several weeks. We will be able to share specifics later this summer, and expect these protocols to include:

  • Rigorous prevention techniques, including at-home and in-school health assessments, temperature checks, and staff and student mask-wearing; and
  • Quick decision, communication, and, as necessary, isolation protocols in response to confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Access to Technology

Regardless of whether we are in-class or learning remotely, technology and internet access are essential tools for our students. Digital disparities between households is one of the greatest sources of inequity in our district. This is why we are expanding our 1:1 device program, and children grades 2–12 will have a take-home device that is safe and includes the tools needed to work from home.

In addition, we are incredibly grateful to be a part of the Cincinnati Bell "Connect Our Students" program, with support from the Greater Cincinnati Foundation and other partners. This program will give all CPS students free access to Wi-Fi, and is currently in a pilot phase through July with five of our schools, Rockdale Academy, South Avondale School, Hays-Porter Elementary School, Roberts Academy and Fairview-Clifton German Language School. We expect to be able to launch the full program prior to the start of school.

Please visit our website for more details.

Please Update Your Contact Information

One of the most critical steps you can take today is to ensure your home address, phone and email are updated. Please call your school office; or Customer Care at (513) 363-0123 or email Customer Care to do so. This information is necessary to ensure all families receive updates this summer, including confirming eligibility for free internet connectivity, a survey about whether or not you intend to return your child to an in-person classroom, important by-school details and safety protocols, and transportation.

Upcoming Key Dates

Launch of Cincinnati Bell 5-school pilot programCincinnati Bell Wi-Fi connectivity program
Parents and guardians update contact information for future communicationsEmployee Return-to-School meeting
Survey for parents to understand plans to return children to schoolState of the Schools, including details about returning to school
Employee meetingsTechnology and safety workshops for parents
Safety protocols finalized in partnership with Cincinnati Children's HospitalTechnology and safety workshops for students
Detailed planning by school 
Devices distributed to students without technology 
Enrollment deadline of July 17 to help ensure transportation for those who qualify 

Summer Communication Timeline

The Future is Now

While the 2020–2021 school year will be different, it creates new opportunities for us to be more innovative and flexible than ever. And through it all, our commitment will remain the same, preparing our students for life through academic achievement, personal well-being and career readiness. We will come out of this together stronger and better than ever. Thank you for your support along the way.


Laura Mitchell

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Applying and Registering in Magnet Schools

About Magnet Elementary Schools

Cincinnati Public Schools provides the best educational options to students and families in our region — including 22 Magnet schools and programs offering a variety of content focuses and teaching styles to support students’ interests and learning preferences.

Magnet Lottery Application (Round 3 runs March 17, 2020-May 8, 2020)

2020-21 Magnet Lottery Application Rounds

Enrolling your child in a Magnet school or program requires participation in the Online Magnet Application Process, also known as the Magnet Lottery. Applying is easy from any computer with Internet access. This online process offers families a fair and convenient application experience.

Magnet Lottery at a Glance

  • Six Citywide Magnet schools and programs
  • Eight East Area Magnet schools and programs
  • Eight West Area Magnet schools and programs
  • Applications are submitted online; seats are assigned via random lottery.
  • Only one online application per child per school year accepted.
  • Select up to five Magnet schools and programs, ranked by preference.
  • All Magnet schools and programs are open to Students with Disabilities.
  • Magnet schools and programs may accept Out-of-Area Applications if there are no waiting lists after Round 3 ends.
  • Preschool applications for Magnet schools are submitted using the Magnet Lottery

All parents or guardians living within CPS' 91-square-mile district can apply for their elementary-age children to attend Magnet schools or programs in their geographic area — East, West or Citywide. Interstate 75 serves roughly as the dividing line between the East Area and West Area. Citywide Magnet schools and programs accept students who live anywhere in the CPS district.

CPS' neighborhood schools also offer strong educational choices to children living in each school's attendance boundary; the Magnet Lottery is not required to attend neighborhood schools.

Families also can visit each school's website to see what’s special about each school.

No matter the CPS school choice, families can be assured their children will receive a solid educational foundation that prepares them for successful futures.


Board Policy No. 5113.01 — details about how CPS' lottery prioritizes applications for preschool and magnet elementary schools

Preschool Applications

Applications for CPS' Magnet school preschools are submitted using the Magnet Lottery. The timeline for processing Magnet preschool applications varies due to funding and licensure requirements.

More preschool information.

Or, contact CPS' Early Childhood Education Department: (513) 363-0240

How the Magnet Lottery Works

Magnet applications are submitted a school year ahead of when the child would enter the Magnet school or program.

To Apply

  • Parents or guardians create an account and password, then enter the requested student information.
  • If you have an existing account and have forgotten your lottery ID number or password, send an email here to have your ID/password emailed to you. (Although the email address is active, the application doesn't go live until 8 a.m. Tuesday, October 29.)
  • Note: Parents of current CPS students must have their child's PowerSchool ID number and a valid email address to submit a magnet lottery application. 
  • Parents or guardians submit an online application.
    • Only one Magnet application may be submitted per child per school year.
    • Each online application allows parents or guardians to select up to five Magnet schools or programs, ranking them in the order of preference.
    • Magnet seats are given out via random lottery.
  • Only parents or guardians may submit online applications.
    • Only the first lottery application will be accepted; any subsequent applications for the same student will not be considered.
  • Parents or guardians may enter Magnet applications from any computer with Internet access. If needed, parents or guardians may access computers in CPS schools and at the CPS Customer Care Center, located inside the CPS Education Center, 2651 Burnet Avenue, Corryville, 45219.

Each online application is given a computer-generated lottery number, which determines the order in which space at each Magnet school or program is assigned.
Magnet seats are assigned until spaces fill up, starting with the lowest numbers. If a student’s first-choice Magnet school or program is filled, the student will be placed in the second- (or third-, etc.) choice where space is available.

Changes to a student's Magnet placement, based on assigned lottery number and application preferences, will be updated as Round 2 and Round 3 are run. For example, a student placed in a second-choice Magnet school could move up into a first-choice Magnet slot if space opens.

Magnet waiting lists are created as capacity limits are reached. Applicants to magnet programs with entrance requirements also are placed on waiting lists, pending confirmation that requirements have been met.

Waiting lists are in effect until June 30; if a child who applied in the Magnet Lottery has not been placed by June 30, the child's parents or guardians should register the child at the assigned neighborhood school.

Parents or guardians may submit applications any time during Round 1, which is open for six weeks. There's no rush to be the "first in line" in Round 1.

Applying in Round 1 gives students the best chance to receive their first-choice Magnet school or program. Many Magnet spaces fill up during Round 1. Rounds 2 and 3 are for new applications only.

Sibling Application Period

Process: Siblings are given priority to enter magnet schools. Paper applications must be submitted at the magnet school during the Sibling Application Period; this application is not part of the online lottery process. Parents should call the magnet school for office hours for handing in paper applications.

Who may apply during the Application Period for siblings?

Siblings of in-district students already enrolled in magnet schools may apply to the sibling's magnet schools. The entering student must meet the magnet school's eligibility requirements, if any, and live within the CPS district at the same address as the current student.


A student enrolled in the assigned area Magnet school or program, or in a Citywide Magnet, is eligible for bus transportation if the student lives one mile or more from the school. If a student is enrolled in a school outside the assigned East or West Area, families must provide transportation to and from school.
Bus transportation is not provided for preschoolers.

CPS is not responsible for any incorrect information entered on a Magnet Lottery application.


After a child is accepted into a magnet school and before the school year begins, the parent/guardian must fill out the Student Registration Information Form and complete the registration process, which includes required documentation.

Only a parent or legal guardian may register a student in school. A legal guardian must present proper documentation (i.e., custody granted by a court or accredited agency).

Important: The information on this page applies only to in-district students (living within the Cincinnati Public School District's boundaries). Students who live outside CPS may apply to CPS schools ONLY during the Open Enrollment Online Application Period. In-district students get priority for seats in CPS schools.

Information, assistance for magnet school applications and registration: CPS Customer Care Center (513) 363-0123

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