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02-26-2013 12:25 AM
One number. All information. Public School Index is a single numeric number between 0-100 assigned to a location to indicate the quality of nearby public schools. It helps parents or home buyers quickly find the quality of schools in an area, before they delve into details of each individual school. The index is computed based on publicly available data with our proprietary metrics designed specifically for school quality evaluation.
02-27-2013 10:35 PM
The site is pulling "indexes" from GreatSchools.org.
IMHO, API scores only offer partial profiles of schools. Read the comments instead (I find the unfavorable ones much more illuminating, especially if there's a common theme to the "complaints"), or better yet, go to the schools and speak with the Admin staff/parents, or attend any school functions like Open House etc. Then you'll get a much better feel as to whether your children will be a good fit or not.
Like me, my kids are "kinetic" learners, and traditional style lectures allude us...we react much better to tactile/hands-on methods. It was hard for me in my days, but thank goodness, times have changed...
02-28-2013 10:05 AM
Good points NK! I haven't thought of this for awhile as my youngest is graduating high school this year as I'm going through the last of college searches aka senior madness. It happens way too fast. When the kids were in elemenary I thought that my volunteering at school would end there. What I learned is that being an advocate never ends and that being involved provides good relationships with the teachers that is invaluable for the student.
Even a walk by at start/ending times will provide a flavor of the school especially elementary. How do the teachers interact with students/parents and is it predominately a happy time for all?
I'm dyslexic and remember the struggle of getting good grades in school. How outside the norm is handled matters to me. Are teaching styles a good fit for my children? Academics came easy for my children which often led to boredom and sloppy work when there was no encouragement to engage more into the assignments.
It's easy to get wrapped up into the "best" school or teacher. The best is only the best if it works for the student. One year during elementary school many of the parents were trying to get their kids into the "best" 3rd grade teacher. My kid ended up with the teacher without a request. The teacher was a great fit for my kid and her classroom looked choatic. Many of the parents who wanted their kids to have the "best" teacher complained all year.
Another thing to look at in elementary schools are the programs offered and what the PTA funds including how long it takes them to fundraise for it. This shows what the district pays or doesn't pay for. If the PTA is funding music/art teachers then that gives a district priority. If the PTA has been fundraising for playground equipment for five years then that could be an indication of low parent involvement or that there are more immediate needs than equipment.
The SARC report tells much about the problems facing a school and how they are solved. Especially good for middle/high school. All schools have problems and bad student behavior at times.
School websites tell much about the school from programs to activities. Most schools have significantly reduced funding every year for music/drama/art/extra curricular activities.
When we moved in 2009 our youngest was starting high school. We shopped schools prior to house hunting. I was interested in programs and academics. I created a list of schools that met the requirements and contacted principals and teachers. We attended 9th grade orientation programs and specific program/academic meetings. We are more than pleased with the school and our youngest has flourished.