In a state where residents have numerous options from which to choose to send their children to school, Fort Wayne Community Schools is counting on some familiar faces to tout the benefits of enrolling in the school district.
And just who will speak on behalf of the district during Saturday's School Choice Fair, scheduled for 1-4 p.m. at Northrop High School?
Graduates of the system, of course. Adults who are willing to discuss their positive experiences while growing up and being educated in various schools in the districts.
Former athletes, an attorney, a surgeon, and figures from music and entertainment will all be on hand Saturday for one-hour segments, according to Krista Stockman, the public information officer for the school district, all to help explain what the district meant to them.
"We want to show people that our graduates go on to do great things. They go on to do great things in a variety of fields," Stockman said.
"In the past, the public schools were a given. That's where people went and expected to go," Stockman said. "With the amount of choice there is now, we do have to tell people about our programs, what sets us apart."
The School Choice Fair is the first step in enrolling in the district for the next school year. Information about the district's schools and programs will be provided to parents, who can also ask questions to available personnel.
The district assigns students to schools, based on where they live. However, with school choice, parents can apply for transfers or to enroll in one of the district's various magnet schools, with the district providing information that about one-third of its students do just that.
The next step in the process will see "Tuesday Tours," where parents can visit various schools, in January. Applications to attend different schools must be submitted by Jan. 31, with the district's lottery -- the process where applicants are chosen if there are more of them than spaces available at a given school -- scheduled for Feb. 28.
Applications will be available at Northrop, 7001 Coldwater Road, on Saturday. They are also available at district schools or online at www.fortwayneschools.org.