Parents camp out for 13 days to enroll students in Clifton Fairview German School

CINCINNATI – The camp out to land a spot in Clifton Fairview German Language School began Thursday - 13 days before registration.

Cold days and nights await about 40 groups of parents and guardians who hope to enroll their kindergartners in the Cincinnati Public Schools magnet school.

Peter Chamberlin and parents of three other children initiated this year’s frenzy when they showed up at about 1:30 p.m. By 3:10 p.m., 33 people had signed up on a makeshift list that Chamberlin took charge of compiling. By 3:20, the list had grown to 40 for what the campers believed are about 32 open spots in the first-come, first-served portion of enrollment.

In fact, there are 35 spots available, said Janet Walsh, CPS spokesperson.

Clifton Fairview has been a coveted spot for Cincinnati parents for years, with its highly praised K-6 curriculum that integrates German language teaching. The first-come, first-served system has come under fire for being unfair to parents who can’t afford to take time off work to camp out for up to two weeks. As a result, Cincinnati Public Schools added a lottery for some slots – 16 this year – but kept a limited number of spots reserved for the campers after an outcry from parents who wanted to preserve that method.

The surplus of campers above the number of spots available came about because some of them are also awaiting word of whether they won the lottery to enroll their students. The lottery closed Saturday, but parents have not been informed who was chosen.

“It just seems to me they could do a lot of families a lot of good if they send out that information in a timely manner,” said Sherri Prentiss, who unhappily showed up for the camp out while awaiting word on whether she won a spot in the school for her son, Walker, through the lottery.

She said the school office referred her to the district office, which referred her to CPS’s IT department. She has not heard back from the IT people.

But there's good news, lottery campers.

"The letters are at the post office today and they should be getting them as early as tomorrow," Walsh said. "It’s their choice if they want to continue standing in line, but it will be a short wait if they were selected in the lottery."

Angelo Dania, whose daughter Sophia will start kindergarten next year, had his trunk packed with a tent, sleeping bag and other essentials for a week before he high-tailed it to the school today.

“I would rather be doing anything else, but if this is what it takes, it’s worth it,” he said. “This is less ridiculous than standing in line for an X-box."

Dania is a web developer and has everything he needs to work from the field – literally, in a grass field – except electricity. He’ll need to find substitutes to sit for him while he recharges his computer and phone.

The first person in line has historically been an object of scorn for the rest of the parents who face long days and nights waiting for registration day. Chamberlin said he came with four other parents so that they could share responsibility.

They played the “rock, paper, scissors” game to choose who would sign up as No. 1.

Chamberlin lost.

“That’s how it goes,” he said with a shrug.

When another parent approached him and asked if he was the one who started the line, he announced with a smile,

“There’s a no-hating policy!”

His best hope for a mellow crowd may be Leslie Sikes, parent of Lila, who is a yoga instructor and plans to lead the group in yoga classes as the days wear on.

“Maybe we can raise some awareness,” she said. 

Print this article Back to Top

Comments

or Subscribe now so you can share your opinion! It’s only a penny for a month trial.

Latest Forecast
More Education
Preschool funding can't keep up with the need
Preschool funding can't keep up with the need

http://www.uwgc.org Head Start funding is flat again this year, leaving more children from low-income families without the means to attend a…

UC scholarship aims to solve third-world crises
UC scholarship aims to solve third-world crises

James O'Reilly, a UC public health and law professor, has established a scholarship to help students from Third World countries…

Column: Cincinnati needs universal preschool
Column: Cincinnati needs universal preschool

My wife Sarah and I have been blessed with two amazing children, both of whom attend quality preschool.  We can afford it, but most…

NKY community dinners leave kids hungry to learn
NKY community dinners leave kids hungry to learn

Northern Kentucky program to get kids ready for kindergarten, that starts with dinner, expands across state with $1.4 million boost.

Young parents get second chance at degrees
Young parents get second chance at degrees

Cincinnati State provides a crucial boon to adult students by offering quality preschool and daycare on campus. 

Babies going hungry, Freestore aims to stem tide
Babies going hungry, Freestore aims to stem tide

Three out of 10 families that use Children's Hospital's health clinic have trouble getting enough food on a monthly basis, posing an…

Don't call it a local spy school, but it's close
Don't call it a local spy school, but it's close

UC says its new connection with the National Security Agency has nothing to do with spying and everything to do with fighting cyber crime and…

Tuition at most Ohio universities to rise again
Tuition at most Ohio universities to rise again

Tuition at 11 of Ohio's 13 traditional, four-year public universities will rise this fall.

Quartet throws a pie in face of cyberbullying
Quartet throws a pie in face of cyberbullying

Back to school is not far off. So, The Cream Pies decided to put their talents to work for an anti-bullying campaign.

Summer camp offers artful access to museum
Summer camp offers artful access to museum

The Cincinnati Art Museum opens a door to "Artworld," a place many adults only wish they could explore.