Now parents have one more tool at their disposal when it comes to selecting the proper school for their child.
A new website – www.GreatPhillySchools.org – was created through a unique private/nonprofit collaboration between the Philadelphia School Partnership, Philadelphia Public School Network, and the Urban Affairs Coalition. The website, which allows the visitor to select and compare any of the city’s more than 400 schools, launched last week.
“GreatPhillySchools is more than a website. It is a tool that allows parents and caregivers to play an active role in the education of their children,” Mayor Michael Nutter said during the website’s launch. “By making information available about the performance, academics, attendance and safety of different types of schools, GreatPhillySchools.org will ease the process of school selection.”
The site uses an intuitive matrix, utilizing data derived from the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the National Student Clearinghouse, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Office of Catholic Education and from the School District of Philadelphia. Each school in the city was also offered the opportunity to submit descriptive information and other data profiles of their school.
The schools are then rated in five categories: academics, safety, student attendance, achievement gap metrics and the percentage of an individual school’s population that enroll in either two- or four-year colleges.
“This is all about equipping families with the information to ask the right questions, make the best decisions, and demand the best schools for their children. We communicated with parents throughout the process so that we could create a site that best delivers the information and data that parents want or need to know. GreatPhillySchools is an attempt to put all of the information families need in one, easy-to-use place,” said Philadelphia School Partnership Executive Director Mark Gleason. “Special acknowledgement goes to the leaders of Philadelphia’s Catholic elementary and high schools. These schools educate about 12 percent of the city’s students, in many cases well, yet before now detailed information on these schools could be hard to find.
“Catholic school leaders have been committed and cooperative partners in this effort.”
According to GreatPhillySchools, each school is rated on a 1-10 scale on each category, and then assigned an overall score. A rating of 10 means that particular school is among the city’s very best in that particular category. The site also includes other useful information, such as a parental checklist for college visitations, and the differences between private and public schools.
The site also provides the admission policies, special programs and language offerings of each school.
“I am confident that the GreatPhillySchools.org website will be an important resource for city families for years to come,” said School District of Philadelphia Superintendent Dr. William Hite Sr., “and I am hopeful that families will take advantage of this valuable tool.”