‘Find your dream school’

Boston Globe

October 13th, 2013 by 

Image by Michael Malyszko

When Jack Schneider, assistant professor of education at the College of the Holy Cross, began experimenting with the Boston Globe’s “Dreamtown Finder,” he had no idea the path he was headed down. After recognizing that the methodology of determining educational opportunities wasn’t quite hitting the mark, he began tweeting his thoughts on the tool. One thing led to another, and two weeks later he was sitting in his office with representatives from the Globe and other College faculty members, poring over data from the Massachusetts Department of Education and putting together a plan for a new tool.

That tool, the “Dreamschool Finder,” was available online for the first time on Sunday, Oct. 13 from the Boston Globe, and was the result of collaborative efforts by Schneider, Anil Nathan, assistant professor of economics and accounting at the College, and Globe staff.  The goal of the tool is to allow parents to locate the public school system that fits the needs and interests of their child, drawing on data from the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

“Lacking high-quality information, parents are frequently forced to fall back on word-of-mouth or raw MCAS scores when making enrollment decisions,” said Schneider. “And the result is that a small handful of schools gain outsized reputations while a larger number go unrecognized.”

Nathan and Schneider will be participating in a live online chat on Wednesday, Oct. 16 at 11 a.m. with developer Alvin Chang and the Globe’s Andrew Ba Tran and Matt Carroll. To join the conversation, visit the ‘Dreamschool Chat with Creators.’

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