Monday, February 6, 2017

‘Oakland School Finder’ Platform Stirs Public District vs. Charter Debates | EdSurge News

‘Oakland School Finder’ Platform Stirs Public District vs. Charter Debates | EdSurge News:

‘Oakland School Finder’ Platform Stirs Public District vs. Charter Debates


 School officials and education activists in Oakland, California have teamed up in a notable collaboration to simplify public school enrollment. As a step towards universal enrollment—in which families can fill out one application for district and charter schools alike—Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) and nonprofit Enroll Oakland Charters (EOC) are providing newly unified access to resources and applications for the variety of school choices available, a move that is delighting some while worrying others.

The New “Oakland School Finder”


A key piece of this initiative is The Oakland School Finder, which launched in December. The site provides consolidated information about public and district schools, as well as links to applications for both. Using the School Finder wizard from any device, parents can input their address and select criteria that matter to them in a school, like blended learning, an emphasis on the arts, or after-school programming. The School Finder then generates a map that highlights all of the surrounding schools—both district and charter—that fit the parents’ preferences. With additional detail about each school and direct links to applications, this tool seeks to be a one-stop shop for school enrollment.
Additionally, OUSD and EOC partnered with school choice platform provider SchoolMint to provide a unified application platform. While the applications for district and charter schools are still separate, families only have to create one account and profile that they can use for both. With participation from 90% of Oakland’s charter schools, this platform allows families to complete just one application for charter schools (as opposed to one application for each charter school) and one application for district schools. Not only does the platform support the submission of the applications, but it also facilitates key stakeholder communications. From submitting the application to awaiting varying lotteries to actually completing the requirements to enroll, parents can access all of of this pertinent information at any time from their computer or device.
“Any tools that can help streamline these application processes would be useful for today's households,” says Lisa Schultz, a parent in Oakland who began thinking back in late December about school options for her ‘Oakland School Finder’ Platform Stirs Public District vs. Charter Debates | EdSurge News:

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