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Students have options — plenty of them

By JOE CENTERS • May 14, 2018 at 9:00 AM

Neighborhood schools no more.

There used to be a day when students would go to the closest school — many they could just walk to.

But that all changed a few years ago in Norwalk when the elementary schools got a facelift. Now, if a student goes all 12 years through the Norwalk City Schools district they will attend six different schools — Maplehurst Elementary for kindergarten through the first grade, Pleasant Elementary for second and third grade, League Elementary for fourth grade, Main Street School for fifth and sixth grade, Norwalk Middle School for seventh and eighth grade and Norwalk High School for ninth through 12th grade.

Thanks to the state’s open enrollment policy, students have more options to leave their home school district.

These numbers, provided by the Norwalk City Schools, show just how students move around.

Here is the breakdown by district of the student's open-enrolled to Norwalk:

• Bellevue — 2

• Edison — 34

• Elyria — 1

• Huron — 2

• Monroeville — 32

• New London — 5

• Perkins — 2

• Sandusky — 2

• South Central — 17

• Western Reserve — 54

That’s 151 students from outside of the district who attend Norwalk City Schools.

Below is the list of students who are residents of Norwalk but attend another district via open enrollment or are enrolled in a community/charter school:

Bellevue — 2

Colonel Crawford — 3

Danbury — 2

Edison — 82

Firelands — 1

Huron — 8

Monroeville — 49

New London — 1

Perkins — 2

Sandusky — 4

South Central — 4

Western Reserve — 54

Willard — 2

Alternative Education Academy — 3

Buckeye On Line School for Success — 1

Insight School of Ohio — 2

Ohio Connections — 4

Ohio Virual Academy — 16

Townsend — 94

Treca Digital Academy — 3

That’s 337 students who leave the district for other schools.

That does not take into consideration the students who live in the Norwalk City Schools district who attend Norwalk Catholic and St. Paul High schools and EHOVE Career Center. And there are students who pass up some of their high school careers to get an early start on college.

Norwalk City Schools Superintendent George Fisk said options are good.

“As a parent myself I think you should have the choice to send your children to the school you want,” said Fisk, who is completing his third year on the job.

“I think the way I look at I just try to market Norwalk City Schools the best way I can. We know we have one of the best arts program and we are trying to be an area leader in STEM (science, technology engineering and mathemetics). Kids are free to experiment, learn and modify. It’s a model to allow the natural creativity. ... An amazing development in education today.”

Fisk said he is proud of what the Norwalk City Schools have to offer.

“We believe as a district we have more offerings for students than any district in the county,” he said. “It’s up to the individuals and families for their choices. You put our offerings up against any of the schools in the county. ... I don’t think there are any schools that can compete with us.”

While charter and online schools are growing, Fisk said it’s not so much in the rural communities.

“Probalby the last 20 years the options have grown, but I still think the majority of parents (here) are still looking at traditional schools,” he said. “In our area the online schools are not as popular as they are in the big cities.”

Fisk said Norwalk is a special town with two strong school districts. 

“My entire time in Norwalk, the three years, I feel we have had a great relationship with the two districts and we want that to continue,” he said. “My only experience has been a good one with Norwalk Catholic School.

“We just want the kids to succeed. We are both strong — two strong options here. It’s a great opportunity for the kids.”

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