Insideschools has a new website!

We've redesigned not only to make the site visibly better and easier for our readers to use, but because the back end databases and software that fed all the different components of the site over the last decade had become outdated and unmanageable and had to be completely rebuilt. The invisible back end was dragging us down. With the new site, we're able to spend far more time producing reviews, news, and more and better information for you, while also cultivating new ways for parents and young people to discuss their schools and the city's education system.

Here's a rundown of some of the new features:

  • If English isn't your first language—as it isn't for some 40% of NYC public school parents—you can translate our pages into almost any language
  • We've got videos! We've set up an Insideschools YouTube channel where you can watch videos of many schools and get tips on how to apply.
  • We've taken photographs of dozens of schools so you get a chance to visualize a school in operation
  • We've refined our school search and created new district pages to make it easier to find schools.
  • And we've created specialized pages for parents at each school level.

If you've got a 4-year-old and are looking ahead to kindergarten, check out our elementary school page for pertinent blog posts, slideshows of featured elementary schools and helpful links on how to apply to gifted and talented programs or a school outside of your neighborhood. All elementary parents will find comments, news and events of interest to that age group. And we provide a forum where you can share information with other parents. There's a list of free programs just for young kids.

We've created a similar page for middle school with free programs for young adolescents, a forum, blog posts, reviews and featured photos of some popular middle schools. You can comment and share information on the middle school forum or on topics such as selective programs.

Parents of rising 8th-graders facing the high school admissions process this fall will find answers to lots of questions on the high school page. There are slideshows of sought-after high schools, a timeline for what to expect this fall, and a forum to exchange information. Search for blog posts about high school admissions and check out our latest video about whether you're better off applying to a school that's located close to home or far away.

Our goal is to reach as many public school parents as possible throughout the city, and we need your help to do that. We've created new interactive features to help our users connect with one another and trade insights and information.

Along with the new features and information, we know you'll find plenty of glitches. We're working on them. There's a reason we're launching at the beginning of August. Along the way, we may have dropped some items that you really liked from our old site. Don't worry. We're keeping track of what you want to see, and we'll keep listening and adding topics as needed.

All users who participate in our forums, or post a calendar event, will need to change their passwords. We sent out an email with temporary passwords so if you didn't get one, check your spam filters, or contact us.

We appreciate your comments. suggestions, and help, enabling us to keep up with the extensive NYC public school system. Please stay in touch.

The redesign and rebuild has been possible only because of the remarkably generous support of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

If you're able to support the work of the Insideschools team, please donate now.

(This post was updated on Aug. 17 to include information about how to register to use some features on the new site.)