Saturday, September 09, 2000

Magnet sign-up change lauded

No more 'Super Saturday' rush

By Andrea Tortora
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A move by Cincinnati Public Schools to make registration for popular magnet programs more accessible goes a long way toward leveling the playing field, some parents said Friday.

        A day after the school district announced a new sign-up plan, parents said they like the convenience of signing up when they visit schools in the fall rather than rushing to sign-up locations on controversial “Super Saturday,” as in years past.

[photo] CINCINNATI PUBLIC SCHOOLS dedicated one of its first charter schools Friday, the East End Community Heritage School. Kindergartners in Carrie Roberts' class got commemorative t-shirts. The school, with 186 pupils, will focus on the heritage of the neighborhood. It is one of three new charter schools approved by the Cincinnati Board of Education.
(Glenn Hartong photo)
| ZOOM |
        Of the district's 44,000 students, about 14,000 attend magnet schools.

        Adriane Powell said she likes knowing she won't have to rush to register her son, Kameron Brown, for school.

        “It will be much easier now because you don't have to get up early and go stand in line,” Ms. Powell said.

        Last year, Ms. Powell went to a central registration site to get Kameron into North Avondale. There were no spaces left, so she put him on several waiting lists. Kameron, now in first grade, ended up at College Hill Academy.

        “That was discouraging,” Ms. Powell said. “This new way makes sense because you can simply register at the school, like they do at colleges.”

        That was the theory behind changing the magnet registration process, which had parents up at dawn, scrambling to get their children into one of the city's 12 magnet programs.

        Critics said that procedure penalized parents who lacked the means to scramble to locations announced over the radio.

        Starting Oct. 16, parents of students in elementary schools that feed to a magnet high school can register their children.

        On Oct. 23, parents can register siblings of students already attending a magnet school. On Nov. 13, enrollment is open to students new to magnet schools. On Feb. 1, schools can register students who live outside their boundaries.

        Christopher Buchanan, whose niece Risha North attends College Hill, said he didn't mind the Super Saturday scramble.

        “Yeah, it was a rat race, but it separated out the parents who really wanted something better for their children from the ones who don't,” Mr. Buchanan said.

        He said he hopes parents who take advantage of the simpler process are ready to support the schools they choose for their children.

        The on-site process will also reduce paperwork for schools and lessen the chance that registration materials will get lost, said Barbara Gordon, College Hill Academy principal.

        “This will be less confusing. Now they can come in and we can enter the information on the computer right away.”


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