BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The choice of which high school Baltimore City students attend is in the hands of students and parents.

As Gigi Barnett explains, the decision is usually made after students attend a convention center filled with options.

Zoned middle and high schools are a thing of the past for Baltimore City students. Each year, students hand-pick the school they attend. So to shop all of Baltimore’s schools in one fell swoop, parents and students flock to the fifth annual Choice Fair at the Convention Center.

“It’s like a part-time job trying to learn about all of these schools and there are so many options,” said parent Louisa Creamer.

Creamer brought her son Luke to the fair. He’s looking for a good middle school to study art.

“We want to have a school that he enjoys doing. We don’t have to slam him with homework every night but he’s also prepared for high school adequately,” Creamer said.

School leaders say choosing a middle or high school based on their interests forces students to think about the future.

“It’s about what do you want to do? What are your short-term goals? What are your long-term goals? What are your career and college goals?” said Director of Enrollment Choice Lara O’Hanian. “We have programs to meet almost every one of those goals.”

Last year, this fair was held at Camden Yards.

“We have kids who are enrolled in our schools here. We have people who are thinking about moving into the city who are here, so there are a wide range of folks coming in to find out what Baltimore has to offer,” O’Hanian said.

More than 6,000 parents and students attended this weekend’s fair.

The fair comes as the city school district was ranked seventh in the nation when it comes to school choice.


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