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BACK TO SCHOOL: Central Ohio Districts Welcome New Students in 2013

COLUMBUS (Lu Ann Stoia/Ken Hines) -- Wednesday was the first day of school for many central Ohio children, including hundreds of students who are attending classes in new districts this year.

More than 900 new students have registered for classes this summer at the Olentangy Local Schools' Welcome Center, which was opened a decade ago to provide a one-stop enrollment center for the district's new families.

Olentangy Local Schools educates approximately 18,000 students in its 23 buildings, and is the fastest growing district in Ohio.

Olentangy's enrollment process has served as a model for other central Ohio districts, including Columbus City Schools (CCS), which recently opened a new Central Enrollment Center on the Fort Hayes campus.

Karen Hopper, Director of Student Services and Enrollment for CCS, said the district's officials saw what Olentangy was doing, and soon found that centralizing enrollment services decreases errors and increases data integrity.

"We have had some long lines and a wait at times, but once parents get here, they go away all smiles because they don't have to travel to different places all over the district," Hopper said.

CCS administrators hope all students register before the start of school Wednesday in order to set bus routes for the year, according to Hopper.

The CCS center is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, for students who are new to the district, or have changed neighborhoods.

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