Cincinnati Parents for Public Schools (PPS) was formed in 1995 as an affiliate of the national organization. The PPS model was introduced to Cincinnati by Kelly Butler, formerly a Cincinnati public school parent and at the time the Executive Director of the national organization in Mississippi. In an effort to build as broad a base of community involvement as possible and to test the climate for such a project, Kelly spent six months meeting face-to-face with a cross section of the civic, corporate and parent leadership.  These early meetings included the CPS superintendent and president of the school board, the local teachers union and the parents from neighborhood and magnet schools; primary, middle and secondary schools, east side and west side schools

Underscoring the importance of Corporate and civic involvement and support, Kelly also contacted representatives from the Cincinnati Business Community, Downtown Cincinnati, Inc. Leadership Cincinnati, the Mayor’s office, the Urban League, the Children’s Defense Fund, the Civic Confederation, the Coalition of Neighborhoods, Cincinnati Human Relations Commission, the Committee of Fifty and the Urban Appalachian Council.  Of equal importance were contacts in the religious philanthropic and media communities, including The National Conference, Metropolitan Area Religious Coalition of Cincinnati, the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati (parochial schools office), the Baptist Ministers’ conference, the Jewish Federation, the Mayerson Foundation, Fifth-Third Trust Department, the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, the Procter and Gamble Fund, the Kroger Company, Federated Department Stores, WCPO, the Cincinnati Post, the Cincinnati Enquirer and the Cincinnati Herald.

In addition, it was important to recognize and make contact with the existing compatible, but distinct organization who were already working to support public schools, including all LSDMC chairs, PTA/PTO’s, the Cincinnati Youth Collaborative and Cincinnatians Active to Support Education (CASE).

The results of these contacts were unequivocal and overwhelming support for a parents’ organization to support the public schools in Cincinnati.  With exception, those interviewed agreed that, given financial, political and social climate surrounding the schools in Cincinnati, the time was right.

The Cincinnati chapter incorporated May of 1995 and immediately set out to elect a diverse and representative slate of officers.  It was important to us that our leadership and membership reflect the diversity of parents in the district so that our goal setting process accurately reflected the true need of all schools with CPS.

In an era when American public schools are imperiled by the increasing polarization dividing teachers, administrator and voters, PPS has earned the trust of these key groups in Cincinnati because of our demonstrated ability to pay a constructive and collaborative role.  The administration of Cincinnati Public Schools has responded by inviting PPS to play and increasingly significant part in policy discussions and on district level committees and taskforces that require community input, such as budget, discipline, curriculum, special education, information systems, and academic standards.  PPS has hosted parent forums with the superintendent and school board members, support groups for children with special needs and their parents, parent taskforces, groups and working committees.

PPS collaborated with the district for many years on “Back to School/Ready To Learn” an event that drew thousands of parents & children each year in the first day of school celebration.  Thousands of school supplies and book bags were given to support children and their families. 

Annually PPS organizes and hosts an evening of recognition (The Extra Mile Award Ceremony) of parents, school staff, volunteers and community organizations that go above and beyond to strengthen our public schools. Public School supporters look forward to nominating deserving recipients for this prestigious award each year.

In 2002, PPS organized and implemented a “Parent Involvement Taskforce” (PITG), where 120 parents and community members developed a plan to make CPS “the most friendly district” in the nation.  Among several recommendations adopted by the school district was the creation of a Customer Help Center.

PPS leads the parent engagement component in Cincinnati’s GEARUP collaboration. Led by the University of Cincinnati, GEARUP is a federal college awareness and readiness program for first generation, economically disadvantaged youth. As a GEARUP partner PPS is “guiding over 4,000 Cincinnati Public School students and parents step by step to college”. 

In 2006, the Cincinnati PPS began to collaborate with the Prichard Committee to bring the Parent Leadership Institute (PLI) to Cincinnati. This professional development program is designed to empower parents to be effective advocates for Ohio’s children. The PLI prepares parents to collaborate with other parents, teachers, and administrators to develop / implement action based projects that will increase academic achievement.

The Cincinnati chapter launched their first PLI class in Cincinnati Public Schools in 2007. With funding from the United Way-led Parent Information Resource Center, the program was disseminated statewide.

To date, 249 parents have completed the PLI in Ohio. Fellows’ projects range from math, science, reading and robotics, with the common goals of increasing student achievement while also increasing parent involvement.

In 2007 the organization’s name was changed to Parents for Public Schools of Greater Cincinnati (PPSGC) to encompass our work throughout the state.