Cincinnati Public Schools High School Lottery Opens: Here's What To Do Now

Jan 7, 2020

Updated:

The chance to choose what Cincinnati Public high school your student attends is now open.

The online lottery process allows families to choose five out of 16 high schools that students are interested in attending for the 2020-2021 school year. CPS Customer Care Central Manager Leslie Bryant recommends you choose up to two if you want the odds to be in your favor.

Last school year CPS received 1,880 applications during the three round process.

A computer system randomly assigns students to schools based on a list of priorities. They range from sibling(s) at desired school; non-CPS student with same course of study without sibling; CPS resident attending school that doesn't have the same course of study with a sibling at desired school.

The only students with leverage in choosing their schools are siblings. "It helps with community, it helps with homework, it helps with students knowing where they’re going, what to expect, relationships are built with staff members," Bryant says. However, if the applicant's older sibling is a senior, the computer system won't prioritize the applicant since the older sibling will no longer attend the school.

The school district has a guide on what high schools offer so families can decide the best option based on their needs. Schools have a variety of options, like supply chain business management at Dater High School and child development associate credentials at Taft High School. The neighborhood schools' pathways are tailored to fit CPS' goal of enrollment in college, enlisting in the military or employment with a business.

Bryant says CPS stopped trying to fulfill ethnicity and gender quotas years ago and works for equity in a different way. "By giving everyone the same opportunity to apply on Day 1, you don't have to apply on Day 1," she says. The only eligibility to apply, Bryant says, is to have a student in 7th - 12th grades and live in the district.

But the earlier the better. The first round will assign students to high schools through Feb. 21. Bryant says in rounds two and three, families can only choose high schools with open spots.

Walnut Hills High School and the School for Creative and Performing Arts aren't included on the lottery list since they have their own processes.

For in-district students who want to attend Walnut Hills, they must pass the Iowa exam and register for Walnut to be considered for admission. The school has registration nights on Jan. 23, Feb. 19 and March 19 this year for parents to secure their student's seat.

Students hoping to attend SCPA must register and audition on Jan. 21 and 23.