Detroit parents and guardians looking for quality education for their children have a new website to add to their favorites list that aims to help them navigate the city's education system and find out which schools are best.
GreatSchools Detroit is a one-stop website for school rating and performance information, hatched thanks to a partnership between local education advocacy nonprofit Excellent Schools Detroit and GreatSchools, a national site known for providing school performance information. Detroit is the fourth city in which GreatSchools has created a localized website.
"GreatSchoolsDetroit.org contains all of our local data, our proficiency information, the progress and growth information – as well as the climate and culture information that Detroit parents, families and schools all make available – as well as the GreatSchools rating that they're known for nationally, which compares schools across the state," Dan Varner, CEO of Excellent Schools Detroit, noted at a press conference on March 25.
On the site, parents can search through hundreds of schools – including private, charter and public early childhood centers, elementary, middle, and high schools – and get a breakdown of the school's state rating, Excellent Schools Detroit scorecard rating, and GreatSchools rating – all in one place. Plus, parents can review the school themselves, so aside from seeing data, they can browse real reviews.
The ESD data will be updated twice a year, and reviews from parents and updates to a schools' directory information can be updated any time, Varner explained.
For parents, the tool is essential.
"Detroiters need tools like GreatSchools Detroit in order to make the best possible choices about where to send their kids because those choices begin a trajectory for those kids, and we want the trajectory to be to the moon and beyond," Varner said at the conference.
Sharlonda Buckman, CEO of Detroit Parent Network and a Detroit parent who works with other parents throughout the city, noted at the press conference that GreatSchools Detroit "provides parents another tool to get closer to reaching our goal and our dreams for our kids that they attend a great school."
"I think in Detroit as parents we're just so tired of education failing our kids and falling short of what we need to make sure that they're successful," Buckman said.
Varner explained that while there are "good schools in Detroit, none are good enough yet."
"Those good schools have to be accessible for everyone – not just the well-connected families in our community," Varner said. "They have to be accessible for everyone, and GreatSchools Detroit helps to make them accessible for everyone."