Cincinnati's first tuition-free charter school to open in August

Just in time for the new school year, Carpe Diem Learning Systems will open its first Ohio school at Aiken High School Aug. 21 in College Hill. Carpe Diem is Cincinnati’s first tuition-free public charter school for the general district population, and is sponsored by Cincinnati Public Schools.
Carpe Diem-Aiken will offer a blended learning model of digital curriculum with blended learning experiences, says Rick Ogston, founder of CDLS.
Twelve years ago, Ogston’s wife, Sharon, encouraged him to go back to school and get a Masters' degree in education. After that, he started to learn about charter schools and the difference they can make in communities. From there, Carpe Diem was born.
“Carpe Diem is about personalizing education to the nth degree,” Ogston says. “It brings the uncommon combination of personalized education and high academics with a career focus on achievement to the table. We prepare students academically for the 21st century, but we also allow students to progress at a pace more comfortable to them.”
The curriculum at Carpe Diem is tailored to meet the needs of a spectrum of students, from those who are lost in large schools or traditional classrooms, to gifted students who want to work at an accelerated pace.
Tyree Gaines is the new principal of Carpe Diem-Aiken, and she hopes to contribute instructional leadership that opens the door for students and teachers to maximize their potential.
“I want Carpe Diem-Aiken to empower students to be learners, thinkers, doers, believers and achievers,” she says.
Carpe Diem-Aiken will bring an innovative new educational model to the area, but it will also be debuting Aiken New Tech, which infuses technology into curriculum while incorporating project-based learning and real-world experiences, says Janet Walsh, director of public affairs for CPS.
“We love that the Carpe Diem model incorporates ‘blended learning’—a combination of technology-driven and teacher-led instruction, which is very much a wave of the future,” Walsh says.
CDLS is North Central Association-accredited and includes Edgenuity’s instructional content, uBoost’s online recognition and reward system, and a secure online portal to provide parents with real-time student data. Carpe Diem also offers opportunities for career concentrations in Information Technology, Science and Engineering, Business Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Digital Arts and Entertainment, and Health Sciences.
Carpe Diem-Aiken joins CDLS’s first school, Carpe Diem Collegiate High School in Yuma, Ariz., and Carpe Diem Meridian, which opened in August in Indianapolis. Carpe Diem Summit in Fort Wayne is scheduled to open this August as well.
 Parents and students who are interested in meeting with Gaines and learning more about Carpe Diem-Aiken can email her at [email protected] or call her at 513-612-0153.
If you’re a Cincinnati student who is interested in attending Carpe Diem-Aiken and is 12-16 years old, you can enroll in Carpe Diem here.
By Caitlin Koenig
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