Parents find best fit schools. Schools tell their stories. San Antonio becomes a learning city.
When it comes to choosing a school, parents need information before all else. The trouble is that we are stuck with yesterday’s systems and we need today’s innovations. With 17 school districts, dozens of public charter schools, and numerous after school programs, information is scattered all over San Antonio. Parents often can’t find accurate, helpful information, so even a good choice can feel like a shot in the dark.
The current system for finding schools and learning opportunities in San Antonio is outdated, time-consuming, and confusing. It favors those with the time to hunt down parent groups, wade through administrative call trees, and scour the internet for ratings, blogs, and info session. Until now, no single place existed where families seeking schools and educational programs could find comprehensive and accurate information about schools and programs.
It shouldn’t be just a distant dream that public schools, charter schools, after school programs are all organized, searchable on a laptop, phone or connected device at your fingertips.
The dream is becoming a reality. City Education Partners’ School Finder will help families find their best fit schools, offering a web-based platform for schools and out-of-school programs to tell their stories, and parents a simple, accessible way to find them.
We know the San Antonio School Finder will be helpful, because we’re filling it with the information that families told us was important to them. They will see information on school performance, program offerings, and logistical information like transportation and meal plans.
We realize that no one organization can do this on their own. Our approach is simple: partnership. We are getting the information straight from the schools themselves. Districts, charter networks, and the Up Partnership have agreed to fill School Finder with objective data, but also the kind of testimony that helps parents get a better feel for the spirit of the school.
We’ve paid a lot of attention to creating something new, to address a real need we’ve heard from families, we’ve heard from school systems and we have experienced ourselves. We’re not just replicating other ratings websites or type-specific search tools. It’s all tuition-free public schools, district and charter, without artificial ratings and rankings that can mislead families about the quality of the school. We use real Texas Education Agency data and real testimony from the schools themselves. Schools can even contribute video and audio stories to capture the story of their schools.
We are excited to launch a tool that is one of a kind, and one of a handful that exists across the country. The site will be in English and Spanish (authentically translated), and will be mobile responsive. So while not an app, it will have the look and feel of an app from any mobile device.
Once all families have this information at their fingertips, we know that their voices will become more powerful. As they explore a clearer landscape, their choices will tell school leaders, districts, and networks what they are really looking for—not just what they will settle for. The voices and choices of real families will drive education forward in San Antonio.
Brian Regnier is the Director of Innovative Projects at City Education Partners. After a spending most of his career managing operations for global brands, he is now putting his entrepreneurial skills to work in developing and launching new projects in service of providing groundbreaking public schools for San Antonio children.