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All children who are 5 years old by September 30, are required by law to attend school until age 16. There are three school levels: elementary (ages 5 - 11), middle school (ages 11 - 14), and high school (ages 14 - 18).


At most public and some private schools, children who are 5 years old (by September 30) attend kindergarten. Children are required by Ohio law to attend kindergarten. Children learn reading readiness, social skills, and basic elementary education. A child cannot enter first grade without completing kindergarten. If the child's birthday occurs between October 1 and December 30, and you believe he or she is ready to go to school, it is possible for your child to take an early admission test.

Columbus Public Schools

The city of Columbus and surrounding suburbs offer education to school-age children living within their city boundaries. (The schools are funded with tax dollars, so parents don't pay for tuition, books, or transportation.)

Boys and girls attend classes together, Monday through Friday, usually seven hours a day. Hot lunches are available for purchase or your child may bring a lunch from home. By State law, all public schools must offer "English as a Second Language" to students who need it. You will be encouraged to enroll your child in the ESL program if he or she has shown a need on the English Enrollment Test. In Columbus, many, but not all, schools offer ESL.

For more information, please contact:

Columbus City Schools
270 East State Street
(614) 365-5000

Dublin City Schools
7030 Coffman Road
(614) 764-5913

Hilliard City Schools
5323 Cemetery Road
(614) 921-7000

Worthington City Schools
200 E. Wilson Bridge Rd.
(614) 450-6000

The Columbus Public Schools has alternative schools which differ from conventional schools in the way subjects are taught or in the focus of the instruction (arts, sciences, or foreign languages, for example.) All offer unique educational experiences. It is important to realize that few alternative public schools offer English as a Second Language classes. There may also be a different bus stop location and schedule. A complete description of each alternative school can be found on the school's application.

Students are selected through a city-wide lottery process once a year, in March. In order to enroll at an alternative school for the fall, parents must complete an application and submit it to the Alternative School Office. Forms are available in any school office. The rest of the enrollment process is the same as for conventional schools.

For more information, please contact:

Alternative School Office
61 S. 6th St.
(614) 365-5630

Additional notes for enrolling your child:

Acceptable documents for the child's birth date are: a valid passport, form I-94, or birth certificate in English.

If English is your child's second language, you should contact the English as a Second Language (ESL) department at (614) 365-5281 for an appointment in order to enroll your child in Columbus Public Schools.

If you have any questions regarding enrollment, school bus schedules or location of your child's school, call the Fact Line (Columbus Schools Information), (614) 221-3228, Monday through Friday, 8 am - 12 noon, and 1 - 5 p.m.

For immunization records, please read below:

Get a tuberculin skin test for your child. Free tests are administered at:

  • Ben Franklin Clinic
  • Columbus Health Department Room 119
  • 181 South Washington Blvd.
  • (614) 645-7310

Bring your child's medical records. The following immunizations must be documented:

  • DPT (diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus)
  • Rubella ("old-fashioned" measles)
  • MMR (measles, mumps, rubella)
  • Polio

Note: If you do not have a record of your child's immunizations, take your child to be immunized at the public health department. For information on immunizations, please call:

The Columbus Health Department
(614) 645-8137

The Franklin County Health Department
(614) 462-3635

Special Services

Special services are offered by the Columbus Public Schools for children with learning disabilities, hearing impairment, or high academic talent. Your child may need to be tested in order to participate. Call the Fact Line at (614) 221-3228 for detailed information about fees and services.

Summer School

Summer school is not required but may give your children an opportunity to practice their English to prepare for school in the fall. Call (614) 365-5300 for fee information and summer school options and details. For information about English as a Second Language instruction call (614) 365-8802.

Parochial Schools

In the Columbus area there are a number of schools affiliated with religious organizations. These schools are partially subsidized by the religious organization as well as the family. Children learn the same basic subjects as in conventional public schools but may also study religion. Hot lunches are provided at the school and parents may be asked to volunteer to help with various school services. In order to enroll and/or learn more about the parochial schools in your area, check with appropriate religious organizations under "Schools" in the yellow pages.

Private Schools

Private schools are fully funded by families and outside donations. The philosophies of the schools vary greatly so parents should visit the school and read about its philosophy before enrolling their children. Since there is no central office for private schools, interested parents should consult Yellow Pages.

Parent's Responsibilities

  • Talk to the teacher if you are worried about your child's social, cultural, and educational adjustment. Call the school and ask for an appointment to discuss your concerns.
  • Make sure that your child is at school on time. If your child misses the school bus, you must provide transportation.
  • If your child can't go to school, write a letter explaining why. Acceptable reasons for absence are: sickness, sickness or death in the family, and religious holidays.
  • Schedule appointments with doctors or dentists after school hours when possible so the child will not miss school.
  • Dress your child for the weather. Play times are usually outside so your child may need an extra jacket or sweater. Label all clothing and personal items with your child's name.
  • When you leave Columbus, a letter should be sent to the child's teacher or to the principal giving the exact date of withdrawal. Report cards, certificates of attendance, etc., will be given to you by the school upon request.
  • Volunteer as a parent aide in your child's class. If you would enjoy helping with school activities or want to share information about your culture, let your child's principal or teacher know at the beginning of the year.