U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development/GreatSchools Partnership – Coordinating Housing Assistance with Educational Opportunities
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has partnered with GreatSchools, a national non-profit educational resource for parents, to provide their free web-based tool to parents who live in public housing or who receive Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) rental assistance. This user-friendly website, www.GreatSchools.org offers a database of more than 200,000 PreK-12 public, charter, magnet, and private schools across the U.S., and includes information on how parents can choose the best school for their children. It also features about 2,000 articles and videos that provide information on how parents can help their children be successful in school with free materials such as subject-based worksheets, parent-teacher conference information, homework help tips, college preparation support, and answers to parenting questions.
To find a school, users simply type in a city, zip code, or mailing address and their child’s grade level. From there, a listing of local schools will appear with a GreatSchools Rating, including school performance information, school description, and parents’ comments, and other relevant information, such as school address and contact information. School data on the website comes from a variety of sources, such as the National Center for Education Statistics.
By providing parents access to school-related information HUD hopes to:
- Enable parents to make informed educational choices for their children
- Empower parents to become further involved in their children’s education; and
- Increase the number of HUD-assisted households with school-age children who have access to schools performing at or above the local average.
Information on the website can be useful to all families at any time, but this information can be especially useful when families are looking to move with a voucher. School differences can vary by school district or by neighborhood, and Great Schools can help families choose a better performing school in their own neighborhood or someplace new. Providing this information when families first obtain a voucher or during their annual recertification will give parents and guardians timely access to details about schools, test scores, and extracurricular activities where they live or choose to live.
Other ways to provide useful information include:
- Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) can provide printouts of the local school listings found on the website to all residents with a voucher. This can be done by visiting http://www.greatschools.org/find-schools/, typing in a city, zip code, or mailing address, then printing copies of the resulting list of schools to distribute to residents. Information can also be shared in resident newsletters, at resident meetings, a Neighborhood Networks Center or other computer lab, community centers, or through local service providers.
- PHA can post the GreatSchools URL, www.GreatSchools.org, on their website as a valuable resource to parents and other community members visiting your site. Please contact your web administrator for information on adding the URL to your site.
For more information on the HUD-GreatSchools partnership, please refer to the HUD websites below and/or contact your local HUD Office of Public Housing.