Community (Charter) Schools Included in CPS’ Portfolio of School Choices
Cincinnati Public Schools serves as a sponsor, or authorizer, of community schools, also known as charter schools.
As a sponsor, CPS contracts with these independently-governed and independently-managed community schools to provide public education and is responsible for oversight of the schools. CPS’ mission for the sponsoring of community schools is embodied in the Board of Education’s Policy No. 7560.01, titled Creation of High Quality Schools, which states that CPS will use a data-informed approach to support and expand successful existing programs, and to create new schools, to increase the variety of choices available within Cincinnati Public Schools.
Ohio Association of Charter School Authorizers - Explanation of responsibilities of community schools, sponsors, the Ohio Department of Education and community school operators/management companies.
CPS-Sponsored Community Schools
Lighthouse Community School serves students ages 12-22 who are experiencing behavioral and academic difficulties at traditional schools. The school provides intensive academic and behavioral-health diagnostic assessments and interventions, as well as remediation for high school students who are at least one grade level behind. The current CPS contract for Lighthouse Community School runs August 19, 2014, to August 18, 2017.
Applications for CPS Sponsorship of Community Schools
Under Policy No. 7560.01, the Board may offer community school sponsorships “to programs with a proven track record of success based on available data” or “to programs demonstrating a new approach to learning that addresses specific needs of the District, provided such approach is supported by effective practices that are research-based.”
Policy No. 7560.01 also states that, “The Board shall not offer sponsorships to schools or programs with a substandard academic track record based on comparative school data.”
CPS considers community school applications by invitation only. CPS currently is not seeking applications for community schools; however, the application kit with information on the application process is available for review.
CPS' Community Schools Application Kit (78-page PDF)
Key deadlines for CPS-Sponsored Community Schools
Cincinnati Public Schools as sponsor and its sponsored community schools have numerous annual reporting and other compliance deadlines during each school year.
Key reporting and compliance deadlines, per Ohio Department of Education:
Professional Development Opportunities
Staff from CPS-sponsored community schools may take advantage of professional development opportunities offered to Cincinnati Public Schools’ employees.
Information on upcoming professional development opportunities - Mayerson Academy (CPS’ professional development partner)
Cincinnati Public Schools issues annual reports for the parents, guardians and stakeholders of the community schools it sponsors.
- Lighthouse Community School
Annual Report (PDF) - 7 pages)
In 1997, the Ohio Legislature passed a law allowing charter schools to operate in Ohio. Since then, the number of charter schools — also called "community schools" — has grown to more than 200 around the state, with about 35 operating within Hamilton County.
Charter schools are publicly funded elementary or secondary schools that operate under a contract, or charter. These public schools do not have to follow some rules, regulations and laws that apply to other public schools, in exchange for accountability for producing specific results set out in each charter school's charter. As a public school, a charter school may not discriminate in their student enrollment, cannot teach religion and cannot charge tuition.
Cincinnati Public Schools is working to form partnerships with proven successful charter schools, such as the Carpe Diem Schools, to expand CPS' portfolio of school choices.
The large number of local charter schools can present a confusing picture of public education in Cincinnati and can raise questions for parents about which schools will best serve their children. Most charter schools are relatively new, with limited experience in the field of public education and often are unproven in terms of how they educate students.
Frequently Asked Questions About charter Schools
Are charter schools part of Cincinnati Public Schools?
No. Charter schools have their own staffs, curriculum and boards. CPS does sponsor two charter schools — the Lighthouse Community School — but this school are not operated by CPS.
How can you tell if your child attends a charter school or one of Cincinnati Public Schools?
Ask the school's office staff; check the CPS School List on our website; or, call CPS’ Customer Care Center, (513) 363-0123, to see if your child’s school is operated by Cincinnati Public Schools.
Can a child return to Cincinnati Public Schools if parents are not satisfied with a charter school?
Yes, CPS welcomes every child who lives within the Cincinnati Public School District's boundaries - at any time - to enroll in district schools. To learn more about school options in Cincinnati Public Schools, browse the website or call CPS’ Customer Care Center, (513) 363-0123.
Education Associations' Charter School Comparisons
More information about Ohio charter (community) schools: Ohio Department of Education or call (614) 466-7058