The New York Times and WNYC joined forces last year to start SchoolBook, a resource about New York schools. Both organization’s goal is to provide parents with resources they can use to make decisions about New York schools.
What makes this web site stand out is their approach to data. On Schoolbook, you can access teacher ratings, look up your child’s school and review the ratings for all of the 4th to 8th grade math or English teachers.
The FAQ section provides insight into how the reports were formed and to their logic for providing the information. What is also interesting is that in addition to providing the ratings, teachers also have the opportunity to provide input.
When you look up your child’s school, you will be able to access every other data you can imagine about the school. Aside from links to the school’s Inside Schools profile and DOE portal and reports, you’ll see scores for academic performance, student/teacher/parent satisfaction, and diversity in comparison to other schools.
If you click on “View all Data,” you’ll see graphic representation of all the data that they’ve analyzed about the school. Information ranges from scores on state tests to demographic information on students. A unique aspect of this information is that they strive to provide this sort of information for all NYC schools, parochial, private, and charter included. While the information on non-DOE schools is much less– it’s something they’re working on expanding. This pre-digested information can really help the way you look at your child’s school and certainly you will be able to use the data when choosing a middle school. If you are considering more than one school, you can use this web site to compare the stats for each side-by-side.
An important component of this web site is the community involvement. Many school reports include comments from principals, for example. That said, SchoolBook also encourages input from users. You can contribute by starting or contributing to a discussion on your school’s page at SchoolBook. They also encourage news tips and are building a “Public Insight Network”. The plan is to reach out to this network of parents, teachers, and students to get input on stories.
SchoolBook’s staff has put together a number of guides to help New Yorkers better understand the education system in the city. The most amazing one is a sort of glossary to everything about the NYC public school system. It’s titled “Guide: Understanding New York City Schools” and it’s a must-read. This report highlights the different ways you can become involved in your child’s education and this one highlights how to enroll your child in school.
Finally, there are articles about the latest topics in education and hot topics. Make Schoolbook, a must view resource for your family.