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New State Web Site Allows for School Comparisons

Posted: February 16, 2008 2:50 a.m.
Updated: April 18, 2008 5:02 a.m.
 

The state of California has launched a Web site that Sacramento believes will give parents and students a faster path to finding that to-die-for commodity: A good education.

In January, Gov. Arnold Schwarze-negger unveiled the creation of California School Finder, a Web site created by a partnership between the California De-partment of Education and the private sector that will act as a "priceline.com" for finding and comparing the public schools - be it high school, elementary school, or charter school - that best fit a student's educational needs.

The primary purpose of the site is to make it easier for parents and students to find necessary data, such as student to teacher ratio and AP courses offered, that will shed greater light on the process of lining up a school's promises and actual results with a student's real needs.

By entering a city or zip code, mileage radius and type of school, one can find a complete list of the desired school type in that locale. For example, the Valencia parent of a special needs student can find all the schools within a five mile radius that cater to that child's needs.

By clicking the "View Details" button, a parent can examine any of the schools' data on after-school programs. From there, a parent can really particularize the search by clicking the "Add To My Schools List" button on the right of every listed school and then the "My Schools List" button to do a side-by-side comparison of up to three schools at a time. The comparison feature enables parents to better compare the student support and special education branches of the schools that might best suit each child.

Another feature of the Web site is a complete list of the courses offered at each school. For a sophomore whose family is moving to Santa Clarita and who wants to major in childhood development,
California School Finder will help indicate that Canyon High School offers a course on child develop-ment/guidance, whereas certain other schools may not.

That tool can greatly aide the junior and senior as they look for high school courses that will better prepare them for their college major.

More than school statistics, this Web site also gives an aerial imagery of a school's location. After clicking the "View Details" button, atop the statistics is an aerial shot of the school's surroundings. Street names, the immediate neighborhood, and the school's specific location are shown.

A more expansive aerial view can be found in the Map Search's "Select A Region" section.

By selecting a specific region of California, you can find an aerial view of, for example, southern California.

That view can be sized down by double-clicking on a particular city so that all schools in the city are identified by varying pushpin legends, color coded according to the type of school.

Go to the Web Site
The new state Web site comparing schools is at: www.schoolfinder.ca.gov

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