Sunday, January 28, 2001

Parents check out schools

Fair highlights variety of programs

By Lew Moores
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Stephanie Y. Smith had already cruised around the room at the 2001 Greater Cincinnati School Fair, snapping up literature from booths, asking questions, but the Technology College Preparatory World Academy made her pause.

        “What are the hours?” she asked Cindy Saulsbury, a first-grade teacher at the new community school in Pleasant Ridge.

[photo] Stephanie Y. Smith (left) gets help from Damaris Rosado, a teacher at Technology College Preparatory World Academy, in filling out paperwork for the school.
(Mike Simons photo)
| ZOOM |
        “9:15 to 4:15,” Ms. Saulsbury told her.

        She asked about curriculum, whether the school offers before- and after-school programs, whether she could take a tour of the school.

        Ms. Smith of Walnut Hills was one of hundreds of parents who spent three hours Saturday afternoon trolling for schools — public, commu nity, charter, Catholic and private — and investigating choices at Albert B. Sabin Cincinnati Convention Center.

        The 2001 Greater Cincinnati School Fair featured more than 50 schools and their teachers and administrators who stood at booths, answered questions and offered literature.

        This is the second year for the school fair, planned by Cincinnati Councilman Phil Heimlich.

        Rick Williams, president of Cincinnati Public Schools board of education, said CPS is “setting the pace in those choices,” with schools that offer everything from an emphasis on foreign languages to Montessori to performing arts and college prep. CPS had more than a dozen booths among the schools represented.

        Parents, many of whom came with strollers and children in tow, bounced from booth to booth, gathering brochures.

        Ms. Smith was taken with TCP World Academy, a school that caters to students K-6 looking for a technology-based education. She filled out a registration form for her son Corey, 8, a student at Windsor Elementary School.

        “I'm looking for something challenging, something totally different,” Ms. Smith said. “I wanted to see the alternatives, find something relating to his personality and style of learning, something that will be best for him to succeed.”

        Katrenia Brackens and her two children, McKenzy, 7, and Lexey, 5, live in Florence, Ky., but she is thinking of moving to Cincinnati and would like to see her children get involved in a school that specializes in foreign languages.

        “Phonics is my favorite,” McKenzy said.

        “What I'd like is an early language education,” Ms. Brackens said. “We want to start them as early as we can for a language.”

        Denise McMillan of Bond Hill came to the fair with her husband and two daughters.

        “We're trying to see what's out there, what opportunities there are,” said Ms. McMillan, whose daughters, Mya, 10, and Michela, 8, attend North Avondale Montessori, but will need to find another school when they each reach the seventh grade.

        “We want to get a head start. We'll look for something that they can build off of (Montessori).”

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