You have more options than you may think…
Brick & Mortar Public Schools
Your child’s age is your first indicator of his or her eligibility for beginning school. Students may start kindergarten if they turn five on or before September 1st. A child does not have to enroll in school at age five, but must be enrolled in 1st grade if he or she is six on or before December 31. see more >
Ohoio school districts set the requirements for what documentation is required prior to enrolling a student in their district. To get that information, contact the district directly.
Some legal documents are required for Ohio students to attend school:
- Certified Birth Certificate/proof of identity
- Official copy of records/transcripts from the previous school the child most recently attended
- A shot immunization record (or proof that immunization is not required for the child)
- Click here to view the immunization requirements
- Proof of home address (for example, a rental agreement or tax statement)
Paying some fees is a part of public education, though it is primarily a free education. Students are expected to supply their own basic school supplies such as paper, pencils, and notebooks. Each district has a list of approved expenditures for students. Fee waiver forms can be requested from the school if there is a situation that prevents a family from being able to pay for required materials or events.
Some typical items on that list include:
- Summer school
- Student parking passes (high school)
- Lost textbooks
- Late or lost library books
- Field trips
- Special class-required fees (e.g., science lab fees)
Public Charter Schools
What are Charter Schools?
Charter Schools are tuition-free public schools operated by independent, non-profit governing bodies.
Parents, teachers, and community leaders sign a “charter” or contract with a school district or state agency to create a charter school and give students more educational options than their assigned school. Charter schools have flexibility over classroom hours, curriculum, and employment policies, but are subject to periodic reviews based on student performance. In Alabama, public charter school students are measured against the same academic standards as students in other public schools. Local boards of education monitor the academic and financial performance of charter schools, and, can revoke or refuse to renew a school’s charter.
Ohio Charter Schools
Find your Ohio charter school at the Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools.
Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently asked questions about charters can be found at the Ohio Department of Education.
Most charter schools do not have attendance zones. If you are interested in applying for your child, you must apply directly to the school. The application and selection process can be quite complicated. Make sure to contact the school early to determine the correct next steps to applying.
Virtual Public Schools
What makes a school “private”?
Private schools charge tuition, and many have a religious mission. Some private schools offer families assistance to make tuition payments. Click below for the complete list of over 1,000 private schools across the state.
Private School Review offers free, detailed information on U.S. private schools combined with useful community data (e.g., housing costs) and maps of the surrounding areas.
*Information on non-public school admission requirements should be obtained from the school directly.
Income-Based Scholarship Program
Ohio enacted and launched its Income-Based Scholarship Program in 2013. It offers private school vouchers to students from low- and lower middle-income households. These school voucher amounts vary depending on family income. Continue reading to learn more about this program’s funding, eligibility, regulations, governing statutes and more.
View Program Details
Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship Program
The Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship was enacted in 2011 and launched in 2012. It provides Ohio students with disabilities school vouchers for private tuition and other educational services. The Ohio Department of Education sets school voucher limits for different types of disabilities, so funding and eligibility vary. Learn more about that, regulations and more here.
View Program Details
Autism Scholarship Program
Ohio’s Autism Scholarship Program, the nation’s only private school choice program designed for students with autism, was enacted in 2003 and launched in 2004. The program offers reimbursement vouchers of up to $27,000 to students with autism who receive private educational services, including private schooling. Learn more about the program, including its funding, eligibility and regulations, on this page.
View Program Details
Cleveland Scholarship Program
Ohio’s Cleveland Scholarship Program was enacted in 1995 and launched in 1996. Through this program, students who attend the Cleveland Metropolitan School District can receive vouchers to attend neighboring public schools or private schools. Learn more about the program’s eligibility, funding, requirements, regulations and more on this page.
View Program Details
Educational Choice Programs
Educational Choice Scholarship Program
Ohio’s “EdChoice” scholarship program, enacted in 2005 and launched in 2006, offers private school vouchers to K–12 students who are assigned to “low-performing” public schools. Participating private schools are required to accept the voucher as full tuition for students whose families are at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. Learn more about this program’s funding, eligibility and regulations on this page.
View Program Details
For more information on policy change or to get involved in the school choice movement in Ohio visit EdChoice.
Private Virtual Schools
George Washington University Online High School is an online college preparatory academy for motivated students who are willing to be challenged to become the best students and persons they can be. Combining award-winning curriculum with small class sizes and intensive college counseling, students receive a flexible, individualized education attuned to their own needs and goals.
International Academy is a K12, Inc accredited, online private school for grades K–12. Students earn a U.S. high school diploma while using award-winning K¹² curriculum
They offer extensive, individualized academic and counseling support keep students on track. The flexibility allows students to explore their passions. Full-time and part-time options are available.
International Connections Academy is a fully-accredited, online, college preparatory private school serving K–12 students worldwide. The program combines a top-rated curriculum with talented teachers, cutting-edge technology, the flexibility to learn at home, and direct family involvement to ensure each student realizes his or her full potential.
The Keystone School offers flexible education programs for high school and middle school students. Whether your student wants to study full-time or just needs individual classes, they offer more than 170 courses from credit recovery to world languages and AP. Students can enroll at any time.
Ohio parents may choose to homeschool under the state’s homeschool statute or as a non-chartered, non-tax-supported school. learn more >
Under the Homeschool Statute
Children may be excused from compulsory attendance in order to be home educated if their parents comply with the state’s homeschool regulations. Follow these steps to homeschool under this option:
Submit annual notification to the school district in order for your child to be excused from compulsory attendance.
In order to receive an excuse, parents or guardians must submit annual notification to the resident school district superintendent. The notification must provide the following:
- School year for which notification is made;
- Name and address of the parent, and full name and birth date of child;
- Name and address of person(s) who will be teaching the child, if other than the parent;
- Assurance that the homeschool will include the required subjects listed below (“except that home education shall not be required to include any concept, topic, or practice that is in conflict with the sincerely held religious beliefs of the parent”);
- A brief outline of intended curriculum;
- List of textbooks or other basic teaching materials; and
- Assurance of hours and qualifications (see below).
Make sure you have the required qualifications.
Parents who teach their own children at home are required to have a high school diploma or GED, or scores from a standardized test demonstrating high school equivalence. A parent who lacks any of these qualifications may still homeschool under the direction of a person who holds a baccalaureate degree. Such oversight is required until the children’s test results demonstrate reasonable proficiency.
Teach the required subjects.
Home education programs are required to teach language, reading, spelling, writing, geography, history of the United States and Ohio, government, math, science, health, physical education, fine arts (including music), first aid, safety, and fire prevention.
Teach the required number of hours.
Parents providing a home education program must assure the superintendent that they will provide at least 900 hours of home education per school year.
Assess your student annually.
Parents home educating their children under Ohio’s homeschool statute are required to annually assess their children’s academic proficiency. You may select one of three options to comply with the assessment regulation.
Option 2: Homeschooling as a non-chartered, non-tax-supported school (“-08 school”):
Ohio Administrative Code 3301-35 08 permits a school which is not chartered by the state board of education, nor seeking a charter, because of truly held religious beliefs to operate if it meets certain minimum standards. HSLDA has successfully litigated to defend this section of the code as a means for parents to homeschool, and there are a variety of reasons why parents may find this approach appropriate for their family. There are specific requirements and qualifications for forming an -08 school. HSLDA members should read our -08 schools memo before choosing this approach.
Ohio’s College Credit Plus can help you earn college and high school credits at the same time by taking college courses from community colleges or universities. The purpose of this program is to promote rigorous academic pursuits and to provide a wide variety of options to college-ready students. Taking a college course from a public college or university College Credit Plus is free. That means no cost for tuition, books or fees if you attend public school in the state of Ohio. If you choose to attend a private college or are homeschooled, you may have limited costs.
Your high school may have an agreement with a local college for specific courses, however, you can choose to take College Credit Plus courses from any college that offers a course that would benefit your future. This could include online courses.
For more information about dual enrollment in Ohio visit the Ohio Department of Education or the Education Commission of the State’s website.
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