The City’s Most Popular School Resource for Families, GreatPhillySchools.org, Gets Even Better
The new website allows families to compare up to three schools side-by-side
Philadelphia, PA – Philadelphia School Partnership (PSP) announced the launch of the redesigned GreatPhillySchools (GPS) website, GreatPhillySchools.org, which still has the helpful information that over 130,000 people rely on each year, but now includes even more search filters and data points to help families find their great school. The website also has the new 2019 ratings for around 400 schools of all types – public district, public charter, parochial and private – across Philadelphia.
Families use GPS to research and compare Philadelphia schools on both academic and non-academic factors. Schools earn a rating on a 1-to-10 scale in multiple categories, including student performance in reading, math, and science, in addition to student attendance, school incidents, and college matriculation. All of these are then weighted together to generate a school’s overall rating. In addition, each school has a comprehensive profile with other essential data for families, such as demographics, school culture, special programs, and extracurricular activities. Additional information about the methodology is on the ratings methodology webpage.
“Based on feedback from families through surveys, focus groups and advisory panels, GreatPhillySchools tries to give families the information they need in a way that is most accessible and user-friendly for them,” said Director of GreatPhillySchools Salma Khan. “Families said they wanted more ways to find and compare schools based on specific criteria, so we built the new GPS website with more search filters than ever before.”
The new GreatPhillySchools.org now includes:
- Search Filters – It is easier to filter searches according to factors such as school ratings, school type, grade level, and location.
- Compare Feature – Users can now compare two or three schools at once, with factors like overall school rating, student achievement, and program offerings displayed side by side for each comparison school.
- Open Seat Finder – Families can search for schools that are still enrolling children for the current school year.
- Easy-to-Understand Data – School profiles now contain more detail on the data that underlies the 1-10 ratings and display comparisons to state averages in many categories.
The new 2019 ratings available at GreatPhillySchools.org are based on 2017-18 school year data, except in cases where that data wasn’t available in time. To highlight the public district and charter schools that have shown significant student growth on state assessments over the most recent three years, GPS has once again included a ‘High Academic Growth’ indicator on their profiles. The underlying data for this indicator comes from the Pennsylvania Value Added Assessment System (PVAAS), which endeavors to measure how much progress students make in a year (many students make significant progress even though they may not reach the achievement level that corresponds with proficiency). GPS obtained from PVAAS 3-year Average Growth Index (AGI) data, separately in math and ELA, for each school. A list of the 93 High Academic Growth schools in 2017-18, with schools that have earned high growth marks two cycles in a row highlighted in blue, is available online and attached.
GreatPhillySchools (GPS) is presented through the collaboration of several nonprofit partners, led by the Philadelphia School Partnership. GPS provides free, convenient and unbiased resources to help parents, guardians, and students find, compare and choose great schools in Philadelphia. Each year, GPS reaches over 130,000 families in multiple ways, including greatphillyschools.org, which provides information in one place on the academics, extracurriculars, performance data, school incidents, and student engagement of Philadelphia’s more than 400 public district, public charter, Catholic and private K-12 schools, as well as a searchable database of more than 2,000 early childhood education programs. GPS also manages the city’s annual High School Fair and co-manages the K-8 School Fair. Further, GPS’s free guides, toolkits, workbooks and workshops promote and explain the enrollment process of Philadelphia schools. GPS also sends text and email notifications to keep families up to date on available seats and important deadlines.