December 06, 2010
Taking Transparency to Another Level: New Online, Interactive Tool Offers the Public More Information about DC Schools Than Ever Before
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WASHINGTON, DC – Today, DCPS is launching a new, easy-to-use online tool that will give families unprecedented access to information about our schools as they search for the right DCPS option to support their children’s academic and extracurricular interests.
The new online School Profiles tool available at www.profiles.dcps.dc.gov gives families general information about academic programming, extracurricular activities and facilities, and offers a wealth of details on testing data, community partnerships, demographics and enrollment.
The user-friendly interactive format – complete with map functions, mouse-over dialogue boxes that explain programs and frequently used terms, and scroll-down menus – allows users to customize their search and do a quickly compare schools side-by-side using any of the following criteria:
- Grade level, including early childhood to adult;
- Program of interest, such as Full Service Schools, School Application Models, STEM, Arts Integration, Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, Catalyst Schools and Montessori;
- School name with an auto-fill function
- In-boundary school.
The School Profiles also give users the chance to download PDFs of school information to print out; get directions to the schools they are interested in visiting; find the nearest public transportation; search for other public amenities such as libraries; access school websites and Facebook pages; connect with the school principal; and share the information with friends and family members through Facebook.
“This exciting new tool brings transparency to a level we have never seen at DCPS,” said Interim Chancellor Kaya Henderson. “Families now will have greater access to a wealth of information about our schools and greater choice in deciding which DC public school is best for their children.”
The DCPS Office of Data and Accountability developed these School Profiles over the past year based on feedback from parents, school staff and the community that was gathered through a series of 25 outreach meetings that engaged more than 350 stakeholders in all eight wards.
“Stakeholders told us what they wanted and we developed this comprehensive consumer-driven tool with the goal of providing the most accurate information so that families can make the best decisions for their children’s education,” said Erin McGoldrick, chief of Data and Accountability.
The School Profiles were not designed to be a one-stop shop, or even the last stop in a search for a school. From this information, parents and the community should get a comprehensive overview of a school and be prompted to ask the right questions – they can even connect immediately with school principals through an email link to ask those questions.
DCPS invites current and prospective DCPS families to explore the site and let us know what they think. An interactive button on the site gives users the chance to provide immediate feedback through on online survey.
Additionally, we will be soliciting feedback through social media, the DCPS website and direct communications with parents and stakeholders to get:
- Suggestions on how to make it better
- Tips from residents on how they use it
- And ideas on ways to further increase access and transparency.
With community feedback, we will continue to refine the tool while developing data-intensive School Scorecards for publication next year.
Download parent letter from Interim Chancellor Kaya Henderson.