NC Schools Around Me (NCSAM) is an innovative digital tool that gives parents personalized information about schools closest to them, directly on their smartphone or tablet, to help them make informed decisions about where to find educational options for their children. NCSAM recently underwent some exciting and important upgrades.
Public reception was incredibly positive following its original release. Hundreds of users reported the tool was helpful. The North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority (NCSEAA) now provides information and a link to NCSAM on its homepage, ensuring the tool reaches even more parents.
Of course, with any innovation, updates are needed. These new updates address feedback by some that the original tool did not provide enough information about schools in the database. For example, private schools in North Carolina do not receive an A-F letter grade, like their traditional public and public charter school counterparts. While there was no way to grade private schools with a common metric, the new tool has more information on what private schools offer. It now contains an updated private school list, grade levels, and more information on the state scholarships accepted by each school.
We did not stop there. The upgraded tool also provides more information about traditional public and public charter schools. Now, in addition to the school’s report card grade, the tool shows each school’s specific proficiency rate, as well as whether the school met, exceeded or failed growth expectations.
Including growth metrics, in addition to public school report card grades, provides parents with more information to make an informed choice. School report card grades are calculated based largely on achievement, with only 20% of the grade based on growth. As such, growth metrics offer schools that enroll higher concentrations of low-income students a way to show they are improving student learning even if their overall marks for achievement and proficiency are not as high. School growth standards are also specific to that particular school, whereas achievement scores are measured by a standard external to the school.
PEFNC is excited about these improvements to NCSAM and believes this new digital tool can significantly help parents access targeted, relevant information about the schools closest to them in an easy-to-navigate format.
Visit NCSAM online at www.ncschoolsaroundme.com.