December 6, 2011

HUD and GreatSchools: Helping Parents Help Their Children

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As the mother of two children, I know that every parent wants the best educational opportunities for their kids. That’s the primary reason HUD began a search to give parents – particularly those who live in public housing or participate in HUD’s Housing Choice Voucher Program – the tools they need to help their children succeed in schools that best fit their interests and academic pursuits.

Because we wanted HUD-assisted households to have the best possible opportunities, we partnered with the Department of Education to discuss ways to meet this challenge. After careful consideration, we decided joining forces with GreatSchools, a national nonprofit, that would provide the best opportunity for HUD and public housing authorities to give our families the information they need about local schools in an easy one-stop-shop format.

Based in San Francisco, GreatSchools is a national non-profit organization that supports parents through a wide variety of web-based resources available at www.GreatSchools.org.  The organization’s flagship offering is a database of school performance information for more than 200,000 public, private, magnet and charter schools across the U.S.  The user-friendly website also has information about how parents can help their children achieve success in PreK-12, including subject-area worksheets, homework help and college preparation.

In a letter today, I asked public housing authorities across the country to help by making the resources and school information at GreatSchools.org easily accessible for families. When residents come in for annual recertification or when parents are in the office for other business, they can learn more about the quality of school options available for their children.

When a parent chooses a home, they choose more than a place to live. They also choose the teachers, parents and resources in their neighborhood school. And through this partnership, we’re showing that HUD is committed to providing access to information, such as school performance and extracurricular activities, that is critical to helping parents make more informed choices and find the school that fits their child’s needs.

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