New Tools Empower Parents to Help Children Develop Emotional Intelligence

GreatSchools Partners with Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence
to Create Social Emotional Learning Tools for Parents, Children

OAKLAND, CA — June 23, 2015 — GreatSchools, a national nonprofit that helps millions of parents guide their kids to great futures announced today in collaboration with the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, the launch a new set of tools called “Emotional Smarts.” These tools will help parents help their children develop emotional intelligence, build character, and shape valuable life skills such as independence, resilience, confidence, gratitude, courage, empathy, and grit.

Research shows that students with higher levels of emotional intelligence are more engaged in the classroom, and do better academically. They are also most likely to find success later in life in the workplace and at home.

“Every year at GreatSchools, we help millions of parents who want to guide their child’s success in life,” said Bill Jackson, CEO and founder of GreatSchools. “We support parents through every stage of their child’s education — whether it’s finding the right school for their child, demystifying national education trends and policy, or surfacing new ways for parents to engage in their child’s learning. This new partnership with the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence is designed to translate cutting-edge research into practical steps that parents can take to help support their child’s social and emotional learning.”

Based on research conducted at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, home to the original scientific theory of emotional intelligence, the new content and tools that will help parents teach their children how to resolve conflicts, foster positive relationships and build emotional intelligence.

“The sustainability of a strong society requires each of us to use our emotions intelligently.  Research in the area of social emotional learning has shown us that the skills of emotional intelligence impact a person’s ability to thrive personally and academically,” said Dr. Marc Brackett, Director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. “The valuable content created through this project will support families in equipping their children with the skills of emotional intelligence they need to succeed in all aspects of their lives, in and out of school.”

The end result of this collaboration is a series of social, emotional learning tools including articles, videos and features, hosted on to help parents facing challenges such as homework battles, sibling rivalry, discipline, friendships, bullying and competition.

Among the tools you will find at are:

  • Through a child’s eyes — A series of videos that help parents see issues like homework, friendships and sibling rivalry from their child’s perspective.
  • Do you feel me? —  A game that helps children understand and recognize emotions by allowing them to guess the “feeling word” they are watching in a series of videos.
  • Emotional toolbox — Videos, articles and expert advice on parenting challenges and building character in your child.
  • Yale Center For Emotional Intelligence tools — Tools to help your family resolve conflicts, foster parent relationships, and build children’s emotional intelligence.
  • Mad-Sad-Glad Libs — Explore “feeling words” in a fun way!

About GreatSchools:

Founded in 1998, GreatSchools is a national nonpartisan nonprofit that helps millions of parents find great schools, support great learning, and guide their kids to great futures.

The Webby award-winning website,, is the nation’s leading guide to preK-12 schools, with profiles of about 200,000 public and private schools and more than one million ratings and reviews by parents, teachers, and students.  In addition, GreatSchools offers thousands of articles, videos, and worksheets to help parents support their children’s learning.  Last year, GreatSchools had more than 59 million unique visitors, including more than half of all U.S. families with school-age children.  Headquartered in Oakland, California, GreatSchools partners with cities and states across the country.

About The Yale Center For Emotional Intelligence: 

The Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, co-founded by Dr. Marc Brackett, is home to the original scientific theory of emotional intelligence. The Center conducts research on emotions and the role of emotional intelligence in important life outcomes. The Center also develops innovative approaches to teaching emotional intelligence in school systems and other organizations, and studies the influence of emotional intelligence training on student, teacher, and leader effectiveness. RULER, the Center’s signature approach to teaching emotional intelligence has been adopted by hundreds of public and private schools across the United States, including, most recently large districts such as Bridgeport, CT and Seattle, WA. RULER has been shown to enhance teacher effectiveness, reduce problem behavior, positively shift school climate, and boost academic performance. The Center also works with Facebook on efforts related to both preventing and reducing bullying and state level departments of education and justice to promote the adoption of evidence-based approaches to social and emotional learning.


Steve Padilla, Director of Communications


GreatSchools Printed School Guide Helps Indianapolis Parents Find Quality Schools printed and online guide helps parents
find the right fit school for their child

INDIANAPOLIS, IN, June 16, 2015: Today, Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard and GreatSchools announces its annual distribution of the city’s school guide for the 2015-16 school year which compliments the website.  The printed guide and website continues to provide Indianapolis families a one stop shop to gain in-depth information such as AP offerings, before and after school care, school clubs, sports and organizations, to help with the selection of a school that will fit the needs and preferences of their children.

Mayor Ballard will be joined by GreatSchools Senior Director of Local Engagement, Jodi Goldberg and Jackie Nytes of the Indianapolis Central Library today to discuss the importance of providing school information resources for parents. Last year, over 10,000 families in Indianapolis used the printed guide to support their school selection and Indianapolis has the highest number of families using compared to all other GreatSchools partner cities. The mayor’s Office of Education Innovation collaborated with more than 180 community partners and organizations to ensure this information gets in the hands of Indianapolis residents.

“We are excited to continue our partnership with Mayor Ballard and the City of Indianapolis to offer families a valuable resource to help them find schools that best fit the needs of their children,” said GreatSchools founder and CEO Bill Jackson. “GreatSchools strives to make it easier and more accessible for parents to get a great education for their child.”

The online guide at offers innovative filters to help narrow down the school search for families. Parents have the ability to discover schools by searching for transportation services, programs and extracurricular activities.  The partnership with Mayor Ballard and the City of Indianapolis builds on GreatSchools’ longstanding work to help parents make well-informed decisions about their children’s education.

About GreatSchools

Founded in 1998, GreatSchools is a national nonpartisan nonprofit that helps millions of parents find great schools, support great learning, and guide their kids to great futures.  The Webby award-winning website,, is the nation’s leading guide to preK-12 schools, with profiles of about 200,000 public and private schools and more than one million ratings and reviews by parents, teachers, and students.  In addition, GreatSchools offers thousands of articles, videos, and worksheets to help parents support their children’s learning.  Last year, GreatSchools had more than 59 million unique visitors, including more than half of all U.S. families with school-age children.  Headquartered in Oakland, California, GreatSchools partners with cities and states across the country.

Media Contact:
Steve Padilla,; 707.330.6559


New Videos Help Parents Understand Educational Standards

Milestones videos from GreatSchools demonstrate Common Core Standards for grades K-5 and empower parents to understand their child’s progress

OAKLAND, CA — February 4, 2015 — GreatSchools, the nation’s leading non-profit education site for parents, today introduces Milestones, an online collection of videos aimed at helping parents understand grade-level expectations in grades K-5.  Milestones show students demonstrating what success looks like in reading, writing and math, grade by grade.

“There is no better way to gauge how your children are doing in school than to actually see other children their age demonstrate critical skills,” said Bill Jackson, chief executive officer and founder of GreatSchools. “These short, accessible videos provide that necessary benchmark. They are a cornerstone of GreatSchools’ mission: to help parents get a great education for their children.”

In designing Milestones, GreatSchools worked closely with Student Achievement Partners, a nonprofit founded by the lead writers of the Common Core that supports teachers in aligning their instruction to the college and career-readiness expectations of the Standards.  Each Milestones video shows real teachers working with students to demonstrate end-of-the year grade level expectations in reading, writing, and math. By seeing what success looks like at the end of the year, parents can get a good understanding of their own child’s educational development.

“National PTA is committed to educating and supporting families as states and schools adapt to Common Core Standards,” said Otha Thornton, president of National PTA, a launch partner for Milestones. “We are pleased to collaborate with GreatSchools and bring the Milestones videos to families nationwide to help ensure they are informed and supportive of their children with their schoolwork.”

The Milestones video collection is also a great resource for school teachers. Educators can share these free videos with parents to help them understand changing academic expectations. Each video on the site is also accompanied by relevant worksheets, booklists and other resources aimed at helping children improve or get ahead.

The development and distribution of Milestones is supported by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, and many others.

The 120+ video collection is now available in English and Spanish on any device or platform at Videos for grades 6-12 are coming soon.

About GreatSchools

Founded in 1998, GreatSchools is a national nonprofit that helps millions of parents find  schools and support their children’s learning. The Webby award-winning website,, had nearly 60 million unique visitors last year and reaches more than half of all U.S. families with school-age children every year. As the nation’s leading guide to preK-12 schools, the site offers profiles of about 200,000 public and private schools and more than one million ratings and reviews by parents, teachers, and students. In addition, GreatSchools offers thousands of research-based articles, videos, and worksheets to help parents support their children’s learning. Headquartered in Oakland, California, GreatSchools has local programs and offices in Indianapolis, Milwaukee, and Washington, DC.


Natalia Garcia, Director


Steve Padilla, Director of Communications


Come one, come all and show us your school pride

Part 1 in a series: Gathering community insights about schools

Parents considering new schools for their children examine many factors and while specific priorities may vary, there is one thing families consistently tell us. When it comes to assessing schools, they value objective facts as well as the subjective opinions of others.

At GreatSchools, we gather facts and opinions and present them in an accessible fashion so parents can feel confident in their decisions about their children’s education. It’s no small task. With 130,000 K-12 schools nationally, providing a rich profile of each school means gathering information from multiple sources. Getting input from the millions of parents, teachers, administrators and students who visit our site each month plays a big part. You are the ones who know your school best.

Here are three ways you can help ensure that we’re providing an even fuller picture of your school on GreatSchools:

Write a Review: More than a million people have posted a review about their school on GreatSchools. Keep them coming! Reading first-hand perspectives is illuminating. New families, especially those who are relocating and may not know people in their new community, read reviews to get the inside scoop on a school.

To get the 2013-2014 year off to a great start, we’re running a Back-to-School Sweepstakes. Schools with at least 3 new reviews in a calendar month are eligible to win $5,000. Best of all, there are 3 chances to win with monthly drawings in August, September and October.

See official rules and enter here >>

 Answer a School Questionnaire: We’ve just rolled out a *new* online questionnaire aimed at those of you who know a school directly. When you visit a school profile that doesn’t have any information provided by a verified school leader, you will be prompted to answer a few questions, for example whether your school has specific programs, extracurricular activities or extended care. There are nine questions. So it only takes a minute or two to share what you know.

Register as a School Official: Principals and other verified school leaders, you can edit the information that is displayed about your school. Sign up today and tell the story of your school. It’s a simple and free way to showcase your school’s unique qualities. Your Official School Profile allows you to add details about programs, services, extracurricular activities and more. Principals can also use this feature to respond to reviews that are posted, and provide a “Principal’s point of view.”

Consider this an open invitation. Come one, come all. Show us your school pride!

Evolution of the GreatSchools Rating

Since its inception back in 2006, the GreatSchools Rating has helped millions of parents evaluate their neighborhood schools, make clear and simple comparisons, and find a great school for their child. In a world of dizzying education data, the GreatSchools Rating offers an easy-to-understand measure of overall test score performance. The value of the rating is its simplicity and scale; the 1-to-10 rating is straightforward, while maintaining methodological integrity and scalability.

However, we know that parents care about more than test scores alone, so we’ve begun to test ways to include multiple measures of school quality in the GreatSchools Rating. Just as a doctor wouldn’t give a patient a clean bill of health based on blood pressure alone, it is important to evaluate various factors of a school’s overall performance. Here are a few concepts we’re beginning to test with an eye toward scaling the innovations that look most promising:

Introducing our new school profiles

While measures of a school’s academic performance (such as test scores) are important, we know from experience that parents crave a far broader perspective on the schools they’re considering. In response, we at GreatSchools have enhanced our school profiles by collecting and providing details on school culture, climate, and programs. And, we’ve made this information available to readers in a simpler, more comprehensible format.

“School Profiles” have always been the core of the GreatSchools mission, and with the roll out of our new profile design, we have already begun to see parents spending more time on the site, viewing more pages, and considering more options than ever before. We’ve created a new feature that allows representatives of schools and organizations to contribute to their schools’ profile and provide details about their institution’s strengths and unique programs. If you are a school leader or influence school leaders, we’d appreciate you passing information about this feature along so we can keep improving our school profiles.

Proof of impact

A Stanford study finds that GreatSchools Local has a real impact on how parents of elementary age kids choose schools

For the past five years, GreatSchools has been operating local programs in select cities to help parents who might not otherwise have access to resources and knowhow find the right schools for their children. As we have collected feedback that parents appreciate and use our services, our local offices have expanded and evolved. Milwaukee’s office opened in November 2007 followed by ones in Washington, DC in 2009 and Indianapolis in 2011. All three communities have open enrollment, abundant charter options, and voucher programs for low-income families. We reach predominantly low-income families. In 2011-12, 60% of families we served in Washington, DC and 70% in Milwaukee, WI were eligible for free or reduced-price lunch.

Yet without a well-designed rigorous study conducted by a neutral party, it’s been difficult to measure the impact of our programs. This fall, with the preliminary release of findings from a randomized control trial (RCT) conducted through Stanford University’s Center for Education Policy Analysis (CEPA), we can finally point to strong evidence that GreatSchools Local is influencing parents to choose higher performing schools.

GreatSchools Takes Silver at Gates-Facebook Hackathon

GreatSchools recently participated in and won 2nd place at HackEd, an inspiring 1-day education “hackathon” sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, CA.  College Summit and King Center Charter School co-sponsored the event.

The goal of the hackathon was to encourage developers, education experts, and nonprofits to prototype Facebook apps that help low-income and first-generation students get into and graduate from college.  HackEd was also the official kickoff for the College Knowledge Challenge, a broader challenge issued by the Gates Foundation with 30 more prizes totaling $2.5M.

More than 150 people attended HackEd, including representatives from organizations such as iMentor, 4.0 Schools, EverFiMytonomy, Unigo, and more.

Giving parents more and better information about schools

Reaching nearly half of all American K-12 households, GreatSchools is the leading source of information about schools for parents nationally. For more than a decade, we’ve published data to help families understand how schools are performing academically and we’ve coupled that with an unparalleled collection of community ratings and reviews – more than one million at last count.

While our ratings and reviews are one of the best ways to learn about a school, we know that parents must also look beyond the numbers in order to fairly assess whether a particular school will be a good fit for their child and family. They need reliable information about a school’s programs, culture, and unique features – information that is hard to come by at scale.


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