Education Week, February 17, 1999, p. 18

GreatSchools.net, a web site launched a year ago by a non-profit group of the same name, is an example of one of the many recent sites that offer communities more information about their schools and the quality of education they provide.

GreatSchools.net includes data on roughly 300 public schools in California’s San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. In profiling each school, GreatSchools.net draws on available state data as well as the answers principals provide to 15 questions that address issues such as safety, teaching, curriculum, and leadership.

GreatSchools.net is currently in the process of updating its profiles to create a more structured rating system. In the future, GreatSchools.net will survey schools’ parents and teachers, and make a one-day visit to the school to observe its atmosphere and climate. The information garnered through these activities will be combined with state data to come up with ratings for the school in the categories of “performance,teaching, learning environment, and leadership.”

Schools will either be ranked “acceptable,” exemplary,” or “needs improvement” in each area. A one-page description of the school and its programs will also be provided. <

Foundations currently support GreatSchools.net. However, in the future they hope that selling sponsorships of school profiles will become their primary source of funding. They also intend to provide their services to six additional California counties in the coming year.