May 5, 2011/CBS Detroit
By Matt Roush
Grand Valley State University has developed a Web site designed to help Michigan residents and educators learn more about their schools and communities, and how they impact one another.
The Web site, www.Mi-School.net, combines 2010 U.S. Census data with information from the Michigan Department of Education, Michigan Department of Community Health and local police departments and clerks. The site features visual markers that represent all traditional, charter and private schools in the state. Each marker representing a school can be selected to view information about that specific school or district, including enrollment characteristics and standardized test performance.
Mi-School.net is built on a platform similar to Google Maps and allows users to visually display information such as an area’s population, housing, vital records, crime, education, income, voting and transportation through color-coded maps. The site also features a comparison tool that allows users to compare up to five schools or districts using 40 different indicators.
Each data set can be narrowed to feature more specific information. For example, an area’s population can be analyzed based on total population, race, average household size, population under 5 years old or population under 18 years old. The geographic area being analyzed can be customized as well, featuring an area as large as the entire state or as small as a city block.
“We believe that this tool can be an asset to many in our state,” said Rob Kimball, director of research and measurement for the GVSU Charter Schools Office. “Whether it’s parents who are seeking a community to raise their children, a legislator who is determining the future course for our state’s schools or a community leader who is seeking in-depth information about his or her neighborhoods, this tool will provide a cross-section of useful information in a completely new way.”
Mi-School.net was developed by the Grand Valley State University Charter Schools Office in collaboration with Grand Valley’s College of Education and Johnson Center for Philanthropy, as well as the Michigan Council for Charter School Authorizers.