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School & Program Styles

Explore Ohio's School & Program Styles

Students have different personalities, learning styles, likes and dislikes. Because of this and the wonders of modern technology, there is an increasing personalization of education in Ohio.

There are education programs catering to a huge range of students’ interests, learning styles and preferences. Some students are artists and learn better when their education has an art-based focus. Some love the idea of spending their time in an individualized education program that’s computer-based, so they see themselves succeeding in a blended learning program or online.

Program styles can be found in any type of school sector across the state. If you think an arts-based education program would fit your child’s needs perfectly, you can likely find an arts-based option in any of the public or private school sectors. Some schools may incorporate multiple styles, for instance you may find a school that is both project-based and extended day, or both dropout recovery and blended learning.

Below you will find examples of the various school styles available in Ohio. We’ve also included videos for those of you who would like a more visual explanation of your style options. Note that the schools featured in the example videos are not located in Ohio, but the videos will give you a better understanding of each style option.


Arts-based schools offer students an art-infused curriculum, incorporating music, dance, drama and visual arts in daily lessons and activities for all students in the school. These schools focus on new insights, different perspectives and provide new approaches for decision-making by challenging students in creative ways. Arts-based schools also offer arts-focused extracurricular activities for students, too, such as a drama or orchestra.

Some arts-based schools require students to audition to be accepted into their school. Students audition in the arts-focused area of their choice, whether it be dance or playing an instrument.


Project-based learning is an approach to education where curriculum focuses on students exploring real-world problems and challenges. Hands-on projects keep students active and engaged and help them obtain a deeper knowledge of the subjects they’re studying. Project-based learning focuses on “learning by doing” and helps develop skills like collaboration, communication and critical thinking.


Gifted school programs are designed for students who perform or show potential for performing at remarkably high levels of academic accomplishment when compared to others of their age. Gifted programs can involve just one accelerated class in a typical school or be a completely separate school. Students experience fast-tracked learning that is tailored specifically to the way your gifted student learns.


A year-round school offers the same instructional program as a traditional school, except students attend year-round. The school calendar at a year-round school tends to be divided into 9-week quarters with a break at the end of each quarter. Often, there is no long summer break. While some students may protest not having a long summer vacation, proponents of this style say some advantages are more subject retention from year to year and less need for childcare.

Extended School Day

An extended school day school offers the same instructional program as a traditional school, except students attend school for an extended amount of time each day before and/or after the traditional school day. Many schools use extended class time to focus more on literacy and math to help ensure proficiency for all students. Many parents with irregular working hours opt for extended school day programs, because they could lessen a family’s need for child care.

Dropout Recovery

A dropout recovery school identifies and recruits students who have already dropped out of school or who are at a high risk of dropping out of school. These schools provide these students with services designed to enable them to earn a high school diploma. Students that attend dropout recovery schools have individual graduation plans developed for them, receive support services respective of their needs and are typically engaged in an individualized, self-paced and computer-assisted education program.


Montessori schools emphasize independence, freedom within limits and respect for age-appropriate psychological, physical and social development. The environment inside Montessori classrooms is student-centered with teachers being seen as guides and observers. These schools believe that students are intrinsically motivated and can work at a self-directed pace. Montessori schools usually have an open schedule with self-directed work or stations for its students to complete.


STEM schools focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in order to help students develop the ability to solve complex problems and prepare for technical careers. STEM education typically features strong levels of collaboration among schools, businesses and community partners to help develop relevant curriculum and provide opportunities to help students connect classroom learning to the real world.

An eSTEM school has the same concentration as the typical STEM school, but adds in the “e” to symbolize its focus on the environment as well.

Special Needs

Special needs programs focus on educating students with special needs by addressing students’ unique social, emotional, and academic needs. These programs can offer mainstreaming or inclusion, which places students with special needs in a general education classroom setting with accommodations from the regular classroom teacher or with an individual tutor. Other special needs programs focus specifically on educating students with special needs with other students that have similar needs and strengths.

Global Studies

Global studies programs engage students in an education experience that fosters international understanding and diversity of thought that helps prepare them for a globally interconnected world. These schools encourage students to become internationally aware of past and current events and globally responsive by highlighting the interrelatedness and connections among world regions.

Language Immersion

Language immersion programs fully immerse students in a foreign language by using it to teach all or most subjects. Instruction or speaking in English is rare in the early grades of a language immersion program. By consistently hearing and using a foreign language in day-to-day life, students are able to speak and comprehend it fluently.


At a boarding school, students study and live at the school with fellow classmates, teachers and administrators. Boarding schools tend to be college preparatory institutions and can provide students with a sense of independence and responsibility.

Boarding schools generally offer two options to its students when it comes to living at the school. Students can choose to either stay at the school full-time, or stay at the school on weekdays and return home for the weekends.


Blended learning is an educational program in which a student learns partly through online instruction and partly through supervised instruction at a physical school. Blended learning also incorporates some element of student control over time, place, path and/or pace of instruction, allowing them to tailor the learning process themselves. There are four models of blended learning, including: Rotation Model, Flex Model, A La Carte Model, and Enriched-Virtual Model.