New website publishes Houston school reviews, profiles, research, and analysis

On Friday 3/14, thousands of Houston area students will receive notifications of whether or not they were admitted to the private school of their choice. Schools time the mailings to coincide with spring break so that parents have time to “chill” over drinks at the beach. Two weeks later, HISD will mail notifications of magnet school admissions on March 28th; they only allow two days for the information to sink in before the phones start buzzing on Monday morning.

A new website aims to provide parents with the research, analysis, and reviews they need to make more informed decisions about which school to send their children. General Academic, a Houston-based academic consultancy, announced today that it has launched HoustonSchoolSurvey.com. In addition to survey-driven reviews from parents and students, the site also provides detailed school profiles, analysis, advice, discussion forums, and a “school finder” application. The site is available at no charge.

Homepage with featured schools.

Homepage with featured schools.

At launch, the site offers narrative profiles, survey-driven reviews, and data analysis on 64 of Houston’s best private and select public schools. General Academic began curating the list of schools in 2011, with the first edition of its book, “Houston Private and Select Public Schools.” While the list originally comprised schools in which its central Houston families were most interested, the site will grow to include many more schools.

“Since we began compiling school data in response to client questions in 2011, we’ve grown from just 20 private schools in the first edition of our book to 64 private and application-based public schools in the third edition,” said General Academic Founder Shelby Joe. “We began compiling parent and student survey information on more than 300 Houston area schools in 2013, and we look forward to expanding our editorial coverage on more of these schools as the website matures.

Parents will be particularly interested in the detailed parent and student reviews of each school. The site features a whopping 15 pages of graphical survey response data, which General Academic says has never previously been released. Unfortunately, there are not always a lot of responses for many schools.

HSS-chart

“We are actively soliciting more responses to our school survey. We know from feedback from schools and families alike that this survey data is valuable, and we look forward to receiving more and more reviews as more people are made aware of the survey and its responses,” said Joe. Parents can take the survey, which should require approximately ten minutes, at HoustonSchoolSurvey.com/survey.

General Academic’s editorial staff researches and compiles the school profiles using information from a combination of sources. The company starts with information provided by the schools themselves, including formal visits with administrators, then it gathers additional information from government and public sources like the National Center for Education Statistics, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, and even the Internal Revenue Service.

Schools not currently included on the website are invited to submit their information for inclusion at no charge. Administrators can start the process themselves by completing and submitting an online survey at HoustonSchoolSurvey.com, including uploading media like pictures and videos.

“We want parents to have access to profiles, comparative data, and analysis on as many schools as possible,” said Joe. “In keeping with this goal, we seek to partner with schools to provide an accurate and positive portrayal of their organization. We look forward to reviewing submissions from new schools using our online form.”

HoustonSchoolSurvey.com is accessible now without any fees. Interested families can also participate in the discussion forums. General Academic staff monitor the forums and provide expert answers and advice at no charge. Insightful members of the general community are also invited to share their knowledge with others.

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