about SmartChoices: a parent-friendly public school search tool

SmartChoices is a parent-friendly tool to navigate the growing number of public school choice options in the metropolitan Hartford region. Search for all of a student’s eligible choices by address and grade level, then view map and sort by column. Developed by the Cities Suburbs & Schools Project and Academic Computing at Trinity College in Fall 2008, the project is currently supported by Achieve Hartford. Explore our site at: http://SmartChoices.trincoll.edu

Our open-source code is freely available upon request to jack.dougherty@trincoll.edu.

To better understand how web visitors navigate the school choice process, we anonymously collect data entered into the site (such as location, grade level, and how they sort columns of information). In accordance with Trinity’s research ethics guidelines, we protect individuals’ right to privacy. When reporting our findings, all address information is grouped into larger units (such as school district or zone). Furthermore, if web visitors do not wish to use their street address, they may enter a more general location (such as the street name, or zip code, or municipality), but search results will be less precise.

Read more about our web design, outreach efforts, and research findings:

Dougherty, Jack, Diane Zannoni, Maham Chowhan, Courteney Coyne, Benjamin Dawson, Tehani Guruge, and Begaeta Nukic. “School Information, Parental Decisions, and the Digital Divide: The SmartChoices Project in Hartford, Connecticut.” In Educational Delusions? Why Choice Can Deepen Inequality and How to Make Schools Fair, by Gary Orfield and Erica Frankenberg. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2013. http://www.ucpress.edu/book.php?isbn=9780520274747.

Dougherty, Jack. “Commentary: Commissioner, Let’s Build a Better School-Rating System.” CT Mirror, December 28, 2012. http://www.ctmirror.org/story/18581/commissioner-pryor-lets-build-better-public-school-web-tool.

Dougherty, Jack. SmartChoices Website User Statistics for Year 3 (2011) and Year 4 (2011-12) and Year 5 (2012-13) and Year 6 (2013-14). Cities, Suburbs & Schools Project: Trinity College, Hartford, CT. http://commons.trincoll.edu/cssp/smartchoices

Dougherty, Jack. “SmartChoices: A Geospatial Tool for Community Outreach and Educational Research.” Academic Commons (August 20, 2010). http://www.academiccommons.org/commons/essay/smartchoices-geospatial-tool.

Dougherty, Jack, Diane Zannoni, Maham Chowhan, Courteney Coyne, Benjamin Dawson, Tehani Guruge, and Begaeta Nukic. “How Does Information Influence Parental Choice? The Smart Choices Project in Hartford, Connecticut.” Paper presented at the American Educational Research Association, Denver, 2010, and National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education (NCSPE) Occasional Paper 189 (April 28, 2010). http://digitalrepository.trincoll.edu/cssp_papers/2/.

Coyne, Courteney. “Reputations and Realities: A Comparative Study of Parental Perceptions, School Quality and the SmartChoices Website.” Educational Studies Senior Research Project, Trinity College, 2010. http://digitalrepository.trincoll.edu/cssp_papers/14/.

Hughes, Devlin. Designing Effective Google Maps for Social Change: A Case Study of SmartChoices. Hartford, Connecticut: Author, 2009. http://digitalrepository.trincoll.edu/cssp_papers/8/.

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