GREEN BAY - Open enrollment for public schools begins on Monday.
It allows parents to apply to send their children to a school that's not in their home district, if there is space available.
One of the area's largest districts, which this year had nearly 1,000 students choose to go elsewhere, says it's putting out new programs to retain them.
An open house for alternative programs in Green Bay area public schools brought a whole new meaning to the word "school shopping."
Parents browsed curriculum, not clothes. The district hopes its style of education has staying power with students' families.
"We have about 1,000 kids that are open-enrolled out of the school district. They go to De Pere or Ashwaubenon or Howard-Suamico. And we've been looking into why people are open-enrolling out. Some of it was programming," said Amanda Brooker, a spokesperson for the district.
The district says it's rolling out a slew of new interactive programs for students next school year.
Whether making models in high school engineering classes or catching butterflies in a 4-K nature-based program, parents in the Green Bay School district say they choose to keep their kids here because of the location and the different options.
The district says courses like engineering and college prep have helped retain and even grow student population.
"Because we are able to offer some programs that aren't offered anywhere else in Northeast Wisconsin, we feel pretty special," said Brooker.
One of those touted programs, Green Bay West's International Baccalaureate, drew interest from current students Saturday.
It's an intense learning program that students can receive college credit for if the pass exams, but goes more in-depth than advanced placement courses.
"I'm just looking for more information about the IB program, what it has to offer, educational opportunities it has," said Michael Yeager, currently a sophomore at West High School.
A FOX 11 Fact Check found other area school districts also offer that intense college-prep track.
Bay Port High School in the Howard-Suamico district offers International Baccalaureate. The private Notre Dame Academy in Green Bay also offers IB in high school.
The only certified International Baccelaureate World School in Northeast Wisconsin for kindergarten through eighth grade is the private Wisconsin International School in De Pere.
While Franklin Middle School and Chappell Elementary in Green Bay offer IB directed courses, they have not yet been certified.
Parents we spoke with say that's not the only deciding factor in school choices, though.
"I don't know if I was really thinking okay, when he's in high school he's going to be in IB program, but it's a perk. It's important to look around and make decisions based on your child. Everyone learns differently," said Jenni Selissen, whose children go to Chappell.
Sound advice for parents in the market for what could be the most priceless thing for their child: a good education.
Open enrollment in Wisconsin runs from Feb. 4 through April 30. Parents are encouraged to fill out applications online.
The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction says more than 41,000 students statewide open enrolled this school year.
On Wednesday, a state committee will release its recommendations on what Wisconsin should do with the Common Core standards.
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