Make informed school choices with NashvilleSchoolFinder.org

Nashville education community comes together to create NashvilleSchoolFinder.org

Metro Schools, Mayor Karl Dean, the Tennessee Charter School Center and the Nashville Public Education Foundation are proud to unveil a powerful new tool to aid families in school choice. NashvilleSchoolFinder.org is a website where parents can learn about schools, compare their performance, schedule a visit and apply all from one place. This tool is the product of collaboration among Nashville’s education community with the single goal of helping families make informed choices about education.

“There are 157 public schools in Nashville representing different neighborhoods, academic programs, schedules, instructional styles and more,” said Mayor Karl Dean. “Families deserve an easy-to-use tool to explore these schools to make the choices that are best for their children. School Finder is that tool.”

School Finder gives complete and objective information on schools, including academic performance, programming, offerings like transportation and after care and more. It is optimized to be viewed on any device – computer, phone or tablet – and gives families the power to easily research all schools before making an important decision.

“School Finder is essentially step one in the choice process,” said Director of Schools Dr. Jesse Register. “Families know what they are looking for in a school, and School Finder tells them where to get it. They can look for great schools right in their neighborhoods or other options that cater to their child’s particular needs and interests. Either way, School Finder is a one-stop shop for exploring their choices now and in the future.”

At the center of Nashville School Finder is the district’s Academic Performance Framework (APF). This powerful tool assesses school performance on several levels, including student achievement, academic growth, school culture and student satisfaction. Families can easily see how each school measures up on the APF and use that knowledge in making a final choice.

“The Academic Performance Framework is an incredibly powerful tool because it looks at a wide array of factors to examine school culture and how students are learning,” said Justin Testerman, Chief Operating Officer of the Tennessee Charter School Center. “Families deserve to know as much as they can about schools so they can make informed choices. Dr. Register and his team have built a measurement system that gives them what they need.”

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On the homepage of NashvilleSchoolFinder.org, parents will find search tools allowing them to search for schools by address and grade level or to find schools by name. The results of their search will be plotted on a map with the ability to filter results according to schools’ performance ratings on the APF and availability of before and aftercare. Once they select a school, they can dive more deeply into information about each school, including programming, special offerings, demographic information and detailed achievement data. From the school’s information page, parents can contact the school to schedule a tour and go straight to the online application.

“There’s much more to a school that its test scores and reputation. There are so many options in Nashville, and they all have something unique to offer,” said Dr. Register. “The best way to explore those offerings and to find out if a school is the right fit for you is to research it for yourself and visit it in person.”

“Parent engagement and high quality options for all kids are at the heart of Nashville’s ability to have strong public schools,” NPEF President and CEO Shannon Hunt said. “And perhaps just as important as the product itself is the fact that this was done through a strong public-private partnership. Kids and parents win when we work together rather than against one another. I hope this becomes a model for future collaboration.”

School Finder is a joint effort co-financed by MNPS, the Nashville Public Education Foundation and the Tennessee Charter Schools Center. Its development marks another strong collaboration among Nashville’s education community to improve outcomes and offer families high-quality educational options for their children. It will serve families during the current Optional Schools Application period and in the months and years to come as they make future decisions.

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“The work is always better when you do it together,” said Mayor Karl Dean. “I’m proud of the collaboration this project represents and the joint focus on Nashville families finding the right school for their children regardless of label or location. Everyone on this project worked together to give all parents real, informed school choices.”

Though the vast majority of optional schools in Nashville use a shared application through the Optional Schools Application process, some charter schools use their own applications. Links to all applications can be found from individual school pages on School Finder.

Metro schools on the Optional Schools Application are open for tours Tuesdays during the application period, with one remaining date available Dec. 2. Tours at other times can be scheduled on an individual basis.

The Optional Schools Application deadline is Friday, Dec. 5 at 5:30 p.m. for the paper application and 11:59 p.m. for the online application. There is no advantage to turning in an application early as it is not a first come, first served system. All applications will be randomly selected on Selection Day, Jan. 9.

The Metro Schools Customer Service Center is also available to answer any questions and provide additional information at (615) 259-INFO (4636) or by emailing CustomerService@mnps.org.

Posted on November 20, 2014, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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