What's New

May 4, 2017

Rockdale Principal Selected 2017 Hawkins Educator of the Year

John F. Barrett, Belinda Wallace and Superintendent RonanWestern & Southern Financial Group has announced that Belinda Wallace, principal at Cincinnati Public Schools' Rockdale Academy, has been named the 2017 Dr. Lawrence C. Hawkins Educator of the Year.

Wallace was chosen by Western & Southern and CPS from finalists who were nominated by their CPS peers for the award. She was recognized on May 3, 2017, with a plaque and a personal check for $10,000 during a ceremony at Western & Southern’s Guilford Institute.

“We are very pleased to recognize Belinda for advancing the quality of education at Cincinnati Public Schools,” said John F. Barrett, Western & Southern’s chairman, president and chief executive officer. “Recognizing educators like Belinda and preparing young people for the future is a focus of Western & Southern in its efforts to help make Cincinnati great.”

Belinda has been employed with CPS for 20 years, serving as the principal of Rockdale Academy for eight years.  

“Demonstrating outstanding leadership and effectiveness, Belinda is truly deserving of the Dr. Lawrence C. Hawkins Educator of the Year Award, a recognition that exemplifies educators’ passion for their work,” said Mary Ronan, superintendent of CPS. “We thank Western & Southern for honoring Belinda and commend all of the educators who were nominated – that in and of itself is an honor.”

Western & Southern established the Dr. Lawrence C. Hawkins Educator of the Year Award in 2007 to inspire and reward excellence among CPS educators. This distinguished award honors one educator each year who has elevated the educational process in public schools to an exceptional level through personal commitment, dedicated focus and outstanding results.  The namesake of the award, Dr. Lawrence C. Hawkins, was a member of the elite Tuskegee Airmen, a well-respected Cincinnati educator, former executive vice president of administration at the University of Cincinnati and former Western & Southern board member. He passed away in 2009.

For more information on the Dr. Lawrence C. Hawkins Educator of the Year Award, visit westernsouthern.com/hawkinsaward.

Photo: (L-R) John F. Barrett, Western & Southern’s chairman, president and chief executive officer, Belinda Tubbs-Wallace, Principal of Rockdale Academy and CPS Superintendent, Mary Ronan.


April 27, 2017

Cincinnati Board of Education Announces Superintendent Finalists

The Cincinnati Board of Education today (April 26, 2017) announced it has selected two finalists to become the next Superintendent of Cincinnati Public Schools.

Catherine Laura Mitchell and Andre SpencerThe finalists:

  • Catherine Laura Mitchell, Deputy Superintendent of Cincinnati Public Schools
  • Andre Spencer, Superintendent of Harrison School District 2, Colorado Springs, Colo.

The public is invited to meet the finalists at a reception from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. on Monday, May 8, 2017, at Mayerson Academy, 2650 Highland Avenue, 45219 (Corryville).

The two emerged as the leading candidates through an extensive national search process shaped in large part by input from local stakeholders, said Board President Ericka Copeland-Dansby. Thirteen priority qualities for the superintendent were identified in surveys, open meetings and small-group sessions involving parents, district employees and community representatives, she noted. Some of the questions used in the interview process were suggested by stakeholders.

“They are both bright, dynamic educational leaders who rose to the top based on proven track records of raising academic achievement, achieving greater equity in access to opportunities and outcomes for all students, and a commitment to deeply engage the community,” she said.

The Board began the search following the announcement of Superintendent Mary Ronan in November that she would retire at the end of July following nine years in the district’s top administrative position.

Ray and Associates, an educational executive search firm with extensive experience, spearheaded the search, which attracted 58 candidates in a diverse demographic pool including applicants from across the country. The candidate pool included 14 females and 44 males; 30 white candidates; 21 African-American candidates, three Hispanic candidates and four representing other ethnicities. They came from more than 40 states.

“The selection of a superintendent of schools is one of the most important decisions to be made on behalf of a community,” Copeland-Dansby said. “The Board knew it was important to listen to our stakeholders’ voices in this process, and they have led us to these excellent finalists.”

She said Board members will continue to focus on stakeholder priorities in making a final selection. Their goal is to name the Superintendent in May and have the person selected assume the position no later than August 1.

“We hope that many in our community will take advantage of the opportunity to meet our finalists in person on May 8,” Copeland-Dansby said.


April 21, 2017

Young Entrepreneurs Featured at OTR Pop-Up Shop

Young Entrepreneurs Offer New ‘Cincinnati Landmarks’ Coaster Line for Sale in Over-the-Rhine Pop-Up Shop

Rothenberg, Westwood Schools Partner with MORTAR in Student Enterprise Program

WHAT: Fifth and sixth-grade students from Rothenberg and Westwood Schools, who have launched a student-run business called Dream Coasters as part of their schools’ new Vision 2020 Student Enterprise program, will roll out their new line this weekend. The students have designed sets of coasters featuring Cincinnati landmarks, retailing for $15 for a set of four. Proceeds go to a Dream Fund to provide funds for supplies to bring their ideas to life. Students will donate $1 of each sale to a local charity they selected.

WHEN: Saturday & Sunday, April 22 & 23, 2017– 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

 1327 Vine Street 45202 (Over-the-Rhine)

WHO: Rothenberg Preparatory Academy and Westwood School elementary students, teachers, principals and coaches
Supporters from MORTAR, among the consultants and community partners who have shared their business acumen and expertise with students and school staffs
Prospective customers looking to support young entrepreneurs while picking up a great set of Cincinnati-themed coasters!

At the beginning of the 2016-17 school year, Cincinnati Public Schools started Vision 2020, a multi-year plan to bring students greater equity, access and opportunities by strengthening neighborhood schools with new programming selected in partnership with their communities. Rothenberg in Over-the-Rhine and Westwood School in Westwood selected a Student Enterprise Program. This program has served as an incubator for young entrepreneurs and their creative business ideas. In addition to MORTAR, consultants supporting the program include the University of Cincinnati Economics Center and Learning Through Art, Inc. Volunteers also have helped students sharpen ideas through a Shark Tank process, and Universal Woods, Inc. donated the coasters.

Attention Reporters and Editors: Coverage is welcome!


April 13, 2017

Finalists Named for Hawkins Educator of the Year Award

Western & Southern Financial Group recently announced 20 finalists for the 2017 Dr. Lawrence C. Hawkins Educator of the Year Award.

The award, established by Western & Southern in 2007, honors one educator each year in Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) who has elevated the educational process in the district to an exceptional level through personal commitment, dedicated focus and outstanding results.

The 2017 recipient will be announced May 3, 2017, at a ceremony and reception hosted by Western & Southern at The Guilford Institute on its downtown Cincinnati campus. The award winner will receive a personal check for $10,000 from Western & Southern.

Finalists for 2017, chosen from nominations submitted by CPS teachers and administrators:

Rebecca Arlington - Mt. Airy School                

Ceair Baggett - Taylor Academy 

Sandra Bogle - South Avondale School 

Jeffrey J. Brokamp -  Walnut Hills High School

Aaron Brown - Academy of World Languages

Carmie Chambers  - Hyde Park School

Caitlin Halkiu - Academy of World Languages

Jessica Hartman - Hartwell School

Maria Hidalgo - Withrow University High School

Michael Jones - Kilgour School

Jenny Mauch - Pleasant Ridge Montessori School

Jennifer Miller - Rockdale Academy

Ann Myers - Covedale School

LeVaughn Neal - Withrow University High School

Melissa Ridley - Parker Woods Montessori School

Carla Romanos - Withrow University High School

Erin Sanders - Dater Montessori School

Susan Shackelford - Dater Montessori School

Caitlin Vagedes - Hughes STEM High School

Belinda Tubbs Wallace - Rockdale Academy

“Western & Southern recognizes that educators and administrators in the Cincinnati Public School system work hard and make a direct impact on our community through the children they guide and teach,” said John F. Barrett, chairman, president and chief executive officer for Western & Southern. “The Dr. Lawrence C. Hawkins Educator of the Year Award is a way for us to recognize and reward these educators for their commitment to inspiring Cincinnati’s children to excel in the classroom and beyond.”

Past recipients of the award (listed with their schools at time of award):

  • Melissa Estell, Woodford Paideia Academy, 2016
  • Krista Taylor, Gamble Montessori High School, 2015
  • Mary Beth Platen, Fairview-Clifton German Language School, 2014
  • Harrison Collier, Jr., Walnut Hills High School, 2013
  • Kathleen Donohoue, Sayler Park Elementary, 2012
  • Barbara J. James, Riverview East Academy, 2011
  • Nancy L. Johnson, CPS Turnaround Team, 2010
  • Angela Roddy, a consulting teacher for CPS, 2009
  • Kimya Moyo, Aiken College & Career High School, 2008
  • Sharon Johnson, Withrow University High School, 2007

Western & Southern’s inspiration for establishing the award in 2007 was Dr. Lawrence C. Hawkins, a renowned educator in Cincinnati who served as a distinguished member of the Western & Southern board of directors for many years. Hawkins, a member of the elite Tuskegee Airmen, earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Cincinnati, as well as a doctorate in education. He worked as both an educator and administrator at CPS before joining the University of Cincinnati faculty where he founded the College of Community Affairs. He was promoted to vice president of continuing education and metropolitan affairs and then again to executive vice president of administration. Hawkins served on several local community and business boards and was named a Great Living Cincinnatian in 1989 by The Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce.


April 1, 2017

CPS’ Open Enrollment Period

CPS’ Open Enrollment Period for Out-of-District Students Begins April 1

Cincinnati Public Schools welcomes out-of-district students to apply online during April for open seats in our schools.
Applications for open enrollment in CPS will be accepted for the 2017-18 school year April 1 - 30, 2017.

CPS’ Board of Education adopted an Interdistrict Open Enrollment policy in January 2013, allowing students who live outside the CPS district's boundaries — but in Ohio — to enroll in CPS’ schools without paying tuition.

Students who live within CPS’ boundaries have priority for enrollment before out-of-district students are considered. Students applying under Open Enrollment must meet any entrance criteria required by a CPS school (such as an entrance exam or an audition).


March 27, 2017

Cincinnati Public Schools Launches New Elementary School Websites

Mobile-friendly websites bring new features to support and engage familes, students and the community

Ethel M. Taylor WebsiteIn early March, CPS launched new websites to showcase what’s special about the district’s elementary schools and to help parents, students and community members find important information.

CPS’ new Vision 2020 schools and their programs also are showcased on the new websites.

With these new websites, you can:

  • View the site from any device — it’s mobile-friendly.Stay current with school news through the site’s What’s New section
  • Stay up-to-date on school events with each school’s Google calendar
  • Find the information needed with improved navigation
  • Use the staff list to find the contact information for teachers and staff
  • Report a student’s absence with a convenient online absence form
  • Quickly access Naviance, Playbook, PowerSchool and Schoology from the home page or any page on the Website
  • Send a message to school staff  with the online Contact Form
  • Find links to important CPS information — including student forms, transportation information and severe weather procedures
  • Find enrollment information and links for the three types of elementary schools within Cincinnati Public Schools: neighborhood schools, magnet schools, and neighborhood schools with magnet programs.

Several schools now have new web addresses that make them easier to locate.

New website addresses:

Hays-Porter School — haysporter.cps-k12.org
Mt. Washington School — mtwashington.cps-k12.org
North Avondale Montessori School— northavondalemontessori.cps-k12.org
Pleasant Ridge Montessori School — pleasantridge.cps-k12.org
Roselawn Condon School — roselawncondon.cps-k12.org
Sayler Park School — saylerpark.cps-k12.org
South Avondale School — southavondale.cps-k12.org
Ethel M. Taylor Academy — etheltaylor.cps-k12.org
Winton Hills Academy — wintonhills.cps-k12.org


March 8, 2017

Dater High Students Participate in Day of Service

Dater students with large boxAbout 100 juniors from Gilbert A. Dater High School fanned out into the community in January to donate their time in a day of service to others — while building skills that will support their futures.

The students, all members of Dater’s new Junior Seminar class, are participating in a project on philanthropy. The class has partnered with Magnified Giving, a nonprofit organization that provides groups of students with $1,000 to donate to a nonprofit of their choice.

The students have been charged with convincing their peers to choose a Cincinnati-area nonprofit to receive the gift. To do so, they had to select one of 10 nonprofits to research, volunteer at, and promote with a video and presentation.

“We wanted students to not only volunteer their time but to also interview workers to get a better understanding of their mission and values,” said Catherine O’Shea, community resource coordinator at Dater. “It’s hard for them to advocate for an organization if they don’t dig into it.”

For many students, the organizations they picked were personal.

Gabriel Bock-Marshall joined 20 fellow students at the Freestore Foodbank to pack Power Packs — packs of kid-friendly food to feed children in need on weekends. The volunteers packed more than 683 Power Packs in two hours.

“I know there are people out there who need this,” said Bock-Marshall. “I know for a fact that there are people who are grateful to receive anything.”

At Crayons to Computers, eight students spent several hours sorting donations. The organization provides free school supplies to teachers from qualifying schools or to teachers who donate their time. Since July 1, 2016, the organization has benefited 150,000 students and relied on more than 8,000 volunteer hours to keep its shelves stocked.

Von Edwards said her peers should vote for Crayons for Computers because it will help other CPS students.

“I think it’s a good organization because we were all elementary school students once. We all benefitted from the program in some way,” Edwards said.

While the service-learning project focuses on philanthropy, the Junior Seminar students also are honing skills that will be critical to their career prospects. Those skills —including research, collaboration, communication, persuasive speaking and use of technology — tie in with My Tomorrow, Cincinnati Public Schools’ districtwide initiative aimed at ensuring that all students graduate from high school ready for careers of their choice.

The project is also doubling as an opportunity for students to explore potential career pathways, said Junior Seminar teacher Jennifer Franzoi.

“There are a lot of things you can get out of volunteering,” she said. “Obviously, it’s good for the community, but there is also a personal component to it. It’s an opportunity for students to explore what they like to do and to consider their place in the world.”

The day was made possible in part by the Mayerson Foundation, which provided grant money for transportation. LaRosa’s Pizza donated lunch.

“I hope the students see the time, treasure and talent that makes our community better,” said Clare Blankemeyer, director of the high school service-learning program for the Mayerson Foundation. “If they can see themselves in each one of those facets, that’s a dream. We are helping kids do meaningful service and ask the hard questions about why it matters.”

After spending the morning at their chosen nonprofits, the students regrouped for lunch and a period of reflection. In addition to reporting out on their experiences, they were asked to consider their own values and the greater purpose of their work.

“Even if it felt small to you, together we were able to make a huge difference today,” Blankemeyer told the students.

Later this year, students will amplify that difference when they select one nonprofit to receive the Magnified Giving grant.


March 2, 2017

CPS Announces New Neighborhood School Programs and Magnet Schools for 2017-18

Cincinnati Public Schools’ Superintendent Mary Ronan announced eight new programs that will be launched at nine neighborhood schools in time for the 2017-18 school year. In addition, Superintendent Ronan announced the opening of two new magnet schools and a new elementary school, also in time for the new school year.

Last year, CPS conducted a stakeholder survey, which revealed that stronger neighborhood schools should be the district’s top priority. Nine neighborhood schools are being enhanced with special programs that offer students unique ways to apply academic concepts through hands-on activities and project-based learning. These new programs and locations are as follows:

  • Bond Hill Academy - Math and Science Discovery
  • College Hill Fundamental Academy - Expeditionary Learning
  • Ethel M. Taylor Academy - New Tech
  • John P. Parker School - Global Environmental Literacy
  • Mt. Washington School - Expeditionary Learning
  • Rockdale Academy - Global Conservation
  • Roll Hill Academy - High Technology
  • South Avondale School - Creative Integration of Arts and Sciences
  • Frederick Douglass School - Dance and Movement    

These nine schools join seven other neighborhood schools that received new programs in time for the current school year.

New Magnet Schools for 2017-18
Superintendent Ronan also announced the opening of the Spencer Center for Gifted and Exceptional Students, a new citywide magnet school. The success of the Gifted Academies at Hyde Park and Cheviot schools has attracted more students than those schools can accommodate. Spencer Center will help meet the increasing demand and will serve students in grades 3-8 initially, with additional grades added, each year, up to grade 12.

Spencer Center will be located in the former Frederick Douglass School building on Alms Street in Walnut Hills. The building is under renovation.

Cincinnati Public Schools also will open LEAP Academy at North Fairmount as a West-side magnet school offering world language instruction in Spanish. LEAP, which stands for Language Enrichment and Academic Proficiency, initially will serve grades preK-3, and will expand each year up to grade 6.

The North Fairmount building also is under renovation.

New Early Learning Center in Carthage
Cincinnati Public Schools also will open Rising Stars Academy at Carthage inside the former Carthage School. This early learning center will serve preschool and kindergarten students starting next year. Carthage joins Rising Stars Academy at Vine, the district’s other free-standing preschool. With this expansion, Cincinnati Public Schools will add 420 new preschool seats and will be able to serve more than 2,000 preschool students starting next year.

The new neighborhood programs, magnet schools and preschool expansion efforts reflect both Board of Education and stakeholder priorities to improve neighborhood schools and increase quality educational options to meet diverse student needs and expand choices for families.


March 1, 2017

Cincinnati State, CPS unveil new grant program for low-income CPS grads

Grant aims to reduce cost for tuition, books to $0

CPS students showing Cincinnati State T-shirtsCincinnati State’s new Be Great High School Grant program is taking aim at a financial challenge that keeps many low-income students from attending college.

That challenge is the gap that often occurs between the standard financial aid students receive (federal and state aid, and scholarships) and the total cost of tuition and books. For many low-income students, those gaps, even if they are in the hundreds of dollars, may as well be canyons.

The new Be Great Grants will provide low-income graduates of the Cincinnati Public Schools who attend Cincinnati State on a full-time basis with up to $1,000 for tuition and $1,000 for books to help fill gaps beyond their financial aid.

Seventy-five percent of the 14,500-plus students enrolled in CPS high schools are economically disadvantaged, according to data from the Ohio Department of Education. However, in 11 of the 15 CPS high schools for which data is available, that percentage soars to more than 98 percent economically disadvantaged.

“This program will make college possible for many CPS students who might not otherwise be able to pursue a degree,” said Dr. Monica Posey, president of Cincinnati State. “This is also about the future of our region. We must provide students with opportunities to develop the skills needed by employers.”

The Cincinnati State Foundation is providing funds to support the Be Great Grant program, which takes effect beginning with the 2017-2018 academic year. Any student graduating from a CPS high school who qualifies for a federal Pell Grant and who attends Cincinnati State on a full-time, degree-seeking basis will be eligible for a Be Great Grant.

"We’re very excited about this new college grant opportunity for our students,” said Mary Ronan, superintendent for the Cincinnati Public Schools. “While a large majority of CPS graduates are eligible for college financial assistance through federal programs, sometimes that’s not sufficient to overcome all the financial barriers.”

The Be Great Grant program is a key component in Cincinnati State’s efforts to partner with local high schools and four-year colleges to create affordable pathways for students to earn college degrees at both the associate and bachelor level.

For example, Cincinnati State is also working closely with CPS to expand the College Credit Plus program, which allows high school students to earn college credits while still in high school, jumpstarting their education while further reducing the cost of earning a college degree.

And on Feb. 10, Cincinnati State and the University of Cincinnati announced a new transfer agreement through which students who are pursuing bachelor’s degree can save more than $13,000, enough to pay for a full year of tuition and books at UC.

In addition, students receiving Be Great grants who complete a two-year degree at Cincinnati State and continue their education in a degree program at University of Cincinnati will also be eligible for a similar grant from UC called the Cincinnati Pride Grant.

To qualify for a Be Great Grant, students and their parents or guardians will need to complete a free Cincinnati State Admissions Application and a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), help for which can be provided by the Cincinnati State Educational Opportunity Center.

Once a student’s FAFSA is complete and her or his federal, state and institutional aid have been determined, the Be Great grants kick in to cover any gaps in tuition and book costs.

Students, parents and high school counselors interested in learning more about the Be Great High School Grant program can contact Tammie Larkins, Cincinnati State College Representative, at 513-569-1470, or at tammie.larkins@cincinnatistate.edu.

About Cincinnati State

Cincinnati State offers more than 130 associate degree and certificate programs in business technologies, health and public safety, engineering technologies, humanities and sciences and information technologies. It also offers a nationally recognized cooperative education program, and custom training through its Workforce Development Center.

About Cincinnati Public Schools

Cincinnati Public Schools serves 35,000 students (preschool to 12th grade) in 56 schools spread across a 90-square-mile district in southwest Ohio, Cincinnati Public Schools is Greater Cincinnati's largest school district and Ohio's third largest

Photo: L-R Withrow Principal, Paul Daniels and Cincinnati State President, Dr. Monika Posey, with Withrow students Sharrell Lasley, Oscar Martinez and Superintendent Mary Ronan


February 22, 2017

Business Volunteers needed for upcoming Career-Readiness Events

Get a jump on the competition — and contribute to a thriving area economy — by engaging with tomorrow’s workforce today. Businesses from throughout the greater Cincinnati region are invited to help CPS students gain insight into potential careers and build their career-readiness skills.

Get a jump on the competition — and contribute to a thriving area economy — by engaging with tomorrow’s workforce today.

Businesses from throughout the greater Cincinnati region are invited to broaden the horizons of area students through these upcoming opportunities:

Job Shadowing
Student Interviews of Professionals