If you're looking for an elementary school for your child, you want to know: Do most parents and teachers recommend the school? Is it welcoming? How many students are in a kindergarten class? Is the atmosphere calm or rowdy? How do children do on standardized tests?
Now, just in time for the Feb.14 deadline to apply to kindergarten, we've got the answers to those questions for 735 public elementary schools, including charters. Our new feature, called Insidestats, presents easy-to-read data on elementary schools on each school's profile page. For example, you can see that at popularPS 321 in Park Slope, 97 percent of the teachers think the principal is a good manager.
Data is drawn from the Department of Education's parent and teacher surveys as well as the results of standardized tests and other DOE statistics. (We'll have stats for schools with grades K-8 posted soon!) The new feature is similar to Insidestats for high schools and middle schools, but for elementary schools, we include information about what parents think of the school.
We know that parents of young children are most likely to be at the school on a daily basis and see what's going on. Take a look at how many parents responded to the school's annual survey. A low response may indicate problems at the school. You can see at a glance whether parents attend PTA meetings and whether the school regularly invites families to events and whether parents recommend the school to other parents.
A couple of years ago, we criticized the Department of Education's school Progress Reports for oversimplifying the strengths and weaknesses of each school with a single "A" to "F" grade. (Apparently Mayor Bill de Blasio agrees with us, having said he'll do away with the simplistic letter grades.) With Insidestats, we offer a more nuanced picture, because different schools are good at different things. Some schools take high-achieving kids and push them to ever greater heights. But others do a particularly good job with kids who need special education or English language instruction. Insidestats shows you the difference.
We hope Insidestats will help those of you still wondering which schools to rank on your application. Read our Q&A which answers many questions about how to apply to elementary school.