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New iPhone App Teaches Parents About City's Elementary Schools

 Kips Bay resident launches app that makes finding information on schools as easy as pressing a button.
School Search NYC App
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KIPS BAY — A Kips Bay father who got overwhelmed while sorting through the mounds of data on the Department of Education's website has created a new iPhone app designed to simplify the search for information.

Eric Goldberg, a member of the Community Education Council for District 2, found that while the DOE puts a plethora of data on its website — including demographics, class sizes, test scores and more — it's not always easy to find or use.

He hopes his free app, called School Search NYC, will make it easier for parents to research elementary school options.

“The DOE and the city has done a great job in the past few years to have info they collect available to the community, but they don’t take the next steps to make it consumable” said Goldberg, 40, who has two daughters, one at P.S. 116 and another at P.S. 281. “Often you have to have multiple spreadsheets open, or scroll through pages of lists, but the app makes it easy.”

The app allows users to type in the name of a school and then browse categories of data including test scores from the past four years, right up through the just-released 2013 state test scores, Goldberg said.

Other details include historic data and student demographics based on race and gender.

“It’s a lot of the quantitative data,” Goldberg said. “It might not be a full picture of what the school is about, but at least it’s consolidated information. Whether a parent values test scores, or if overcrowding is an issue, or if you want to see the English language learners population, you can find the info.”

Goldberg created the app by building a database of publicly available information about the city's 850 elementary schools and then hiring a developer in Rochester to design the interface. He launched it earlier this week.

Goldberg, a Waterside Plaza resident, works for the Met Life Foundation in corporate philanthropy and previously worked in online marketing for eight years, developing websites and applications, he said.

While the app only includes elementary school data, Goldberg hopes to add middle schools soon. He also wants to add a school zone finder.

“The more parents know about their local schools," Goldberg said, "the better advocates they can be within the school."