Navigating Columbus City Schools: Your Cheat Sheet


Are you new to Columbus City Schools or anticipating enrolling your child into school within the next year or two? It seems it’s never too early to start preparing for the process and deciding what school you want your child to go to!

The year before my oldest started kindergarten I spent a lot of time googling various lists, requirements, options, scholarships, vouchers, lottery schools, home school boundaries, charter schools, enrollment dates, etc.! OH MY! I have found it a challenge to remember where I found certain tidbits of information so I decided to put together a cheat sheet for parents enrolling their kids into Columbus City Schools! This information is for the 2019/2020 school year and is meant as a reference, so be sure to do your own research and fact check.


When researching schools, there is a lot of information available online, but the best way to get a feel for the school is to schedule a visit! You can schedule a visit by calling the school you wish to visit. Some schools have regular times scheduled for visits. Many of the visits are handled by the Parent Consultants.


Enrollment for Columbus City Schools has begun! All ages can be enrolled into their home school right now!

To enroll in your home school, first, you need to find out which one that is! You can do so by calling the Columbus City Schools Factline at 614-221-3228 or email them at: [email protected]. Emailing is the preferred option.

Columbus City Schools now offers the option to begin enrolling your student online. However, you must still complete the enrollment process at the Central Enrollment Office. At the end of your online process, you can choose an appointment time to complete your student’s enrollment. 


You will also want to check out the lottery for Columbus City Schools. The lottery offers the possibility of enrolling your child into another school within the Columbus City  School District.

Some important things to know:

  • If your child is not currently a CCS student, you must complete the online enrollment process prior to submitting a lottery application. Parents are encouraged to utilize the online SpeedyPass registration process and schedule an appointment to present required enrollment documents. You’ll receive your Parent Portal access code at your enrollment appointment
  • If your child currently attends a Columbus City School, they can get the activation code by going to their child’s school with a picture ID. 
  • You can choose the top 3 schools that you would like your student to lottery into.
  • When you receive notification of an offer to one of your lottery choices, you have 2 days to make a decision. 
  • Once you accept your lottery school choice, if you change your mind, you will need to put in a new application for a different school, even if it is your home school. 
  • You may lottery again at any new year, but once you lottery into a school, you are guaranteed a spot in that school through its highest grade.

Important Lottery dates.

  • High School Lottery Applications: Accepted via the Parent Portal January 9 through February 28, 2019.
  • Elementary/Middle School Lottery Applications: Accepted via the Parent Portal February 4 through March 28, 2019.
  • High School results of the random drawing will be available in March (no exact date yet); elementary and middle school results in April (no exact date yet).


If your home school qualifies, you may be eligible for an EdChoice Scholarship to a private school. 

Important things to know about the EdChoice Scholarship:

  • You must go through the admissions process at the private school of your choice and be accepted. If your child is accepted, the school will apply for the EdChoice Scholarship on your behalf.
  • Scholarships are to be used to help pay the cost of tuition at a participating private school; up to $4,650 for grades K-8, and $6,000 for grades 9-12. Parents are responsible for any remainder.
  • This process begins on February 1 and closes April 30.

If your home school does not qualify, but you want to pursue other options, you may qualify for the Income-Based Scholarship Program which you can use at a private school. Families must be below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines and you can see the income levels at the link above.


You may also choose a charter school (also called a community school.) Public charter schools must accept everyone who applies unless they are full. There is no cost to attend a charter school.


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Julie Miller
Julie is a Wooster, Ohio native whose past jobs include GED teacher, mosaic artist, ACT tutor, group facilitator for homeless children, and picture framer, to name a few! After getting married and moving to Columbus with her husband Eric in 2008, they helped start Capital City Grace Church. Julie got her Masters of Social Work at OSU and worked for a homelessness prevention program for 5 years before the opportunity presented itself to stay at home with her then 2 year old. Currently, Julie is the Children’s Ministry Director at her church and blogs about her experiences exploring the city she loves to call home with her sons, who are now 4 and 20 months. Julie loves trying new recipes and doing creative projects but her most common achievements these days are peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and building Lego police stations. Her favorite things include big cities, coffee (and lots of it!), spending time with friends, traveling and ice cream (lots and lots of it!). You can follow her family's adventures around Columbus on her blog, What Should We Do Today Columbus?


  1. This is a great summary of info, thanks!
    As a parent of young elementary school kids I’d love to hear about other parent experiences in different Columbus City Schools.
    We are planning to go thru the lottery process and really don’t know what to expect.
    Are there any applicable forums or FB pages?

  2. Thanks for this article! My family and I are moving to Columbus from another state and have no clue on what schools to pursue. This will be a great guide to start with!

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