GreatSchools Milwaukee Offers Free Resources to 17,000 Families Choosing Schools, Joined by Mayor and Governor at School Choice Event

Group co-hosts National School Choice Week event on January 30th, kicking off the most important open application period in the school selection season.

Milwaukee, WI – January 28, 2013 – GreatSchools Milwaukee will co-host a special National School Choice Week event on January 30th from 8:30-10:00 a.m. at the Grain Exchange. More than 350 students, parents, teachers, community members, and elected officials are expected to attend. The January 30th Milwaukee stop will bring together an unprecedented bipartisan coalition of educators and education reformers with representatives from all school sectors – private, public and charter. Governor Scott Walker, Mayor Tom Barrett and others are scheduled to speak and students from eight local schools will perform. Now in its third year, National School Choice Week is Jan. 27- Feb. 2 and boasts 3,500 local events spanning all 50 states.

The Milwaukee chapter of GreatSchools, a national nonprofit that promotes parental engagement in education, offers free resources to local families choosing a K-12 school. Interested families can call the organization’s bilingual hotline at 414-748-1211 or visit their website at www.greatschools.org/milwaukee for the most up-to- date information about the city’s more than 300 public, private and charter schools. The GreatSchools.org website includes profiles of every elementary, middle and high school in the city, performance ratings for all schools—public and private—interactive maps, school visit checklists and more. Parents can even read reviews of schools posted by real parents, students, and teachers to get the inside scoop. The site is mobile-friendly, so it works on either a computer or a smartphone.

Regina Williams, a Milwaukee mom who recently used GreatSchools Milwaukee to find schools for her son and daughter said, “GreatSchools is a one-stop shop packed with services parents can access for free and all the information families need to know when selecting a new school. The best part is the staff members are always available to help, just a click or a phone call away.”

GreatSchools Milwaukee estimates there are currently 17,000 Milwaukee families with children enrolling for the upcoming 2013-14 school year. Some of these families selected schools during the early enrollment period which ended in early December, but as many as 10,000 will be making their decisions in the next 4-6 weeks. The organization encourages parents to act now on behalf of their children, since many options will vanish for families who miss the February window. “Given where we are in the school selection season, parents really need to be visiting schools and applying now,” explained Jodi Goldberg, Director of GreatSchools Milwaukee.

The organization’s ultimate goal is to improve student outcomes, and one way to do that is by making it easy for families to find high-performing schools that meet their needs. “I strongly recommend that families visit and apply to at least two high-performing schools they know will fit their family’s needs,” said Goldberg. “Our staff knows the schools inside and out and we’re here to help, so please call us or visit our website.”

Lisa Graham Keegan, executive director of Education Breakthrough Network and former Arizona state superintendent of education, is helping to organize the Jan 30th event in Milwaukee and notes, “Many people including courageous principals, community advocates and legislators have taken hard stances and worked to ensure that Milwaukee families have more choices than almost anywhere else in the nation. But without parent engagement—researching options, visiting schools, and applying on time—all that work is meaningless. Families need to do their part now to make it all worthwhile. And that’s where GreatSchools comes in.”

Since 2007, Goldberg and her team have been helping Milwaukee parents make informed decisions about where to send their children to school. They work with more than 70 local partners including social service agencies, community-based organizations, and faith-based organizations, and train local volunteers to ensure parents receive accurate information about their school options. “I’ve been at this for two decades,” says Goldberg. “But today I’m more energized than ever to get the word out to families about the many high-quality options that exist. There are good schools in every sector. Now is the time to act.”

About GreatSchools Milwaukee
GreatSchools Milwaukee is a local chapter of the national nonprofit GreatSchools. Since 2007, GreatSchools Milwaukee has provided 70,000 families with information, tools, and advice to help them choose high- performing, good-fit schools and support their children’s learning at home. The group hosts events throughout the year. For more information, call the GreatSchools Milwaukee Parent Hotline at 414-748-1211 or visit www.greatschools.org/milwaukee.

Founded in 1998, GreatSchools is a national nonprofit that helps parents get a great education for their children. Our Webby award-winning website, GreatSchools.org, helps families make crucial decisions about where to live and where to send their children to school. With profiles of 200,000 public and private schools and more than one million parent ratings and reviews, GreatSchools.org is the nation’s leading guide to PreK-12 schools. In addition, GreatSchools.org offers thousands of articles, videos and worksheets that give parents practical ways to support their children’s learning. Last year we reached 44 million people, including nearly half of all American families with school-age children. Headquartered in San Francisco, GreatSchools has local chapters in Indianapolis, Milwaukee and Washington, DC.

Follow GreatSchools on Twitter at @GreatSchools, on Facebook at facebook.com/greatschools or on Pinterest at pinterest.com/greatschools.

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