Navigating the hundreds of schools in Fort Worth and Tarrant County can be challenging, if not overwhelming.
Traditional public schools. Charter schools. Online and hybrid. Private schools — religious and non-religious. And many more options.
The Fort Worth-based Miles Foundation and San Francisco-based Lincoln Network built the free online resource to help parents find schools that best fit their family’s needs. The site is currently for cities in Texas and Florida, with plans to expand.
Grant Coates, CEO and president of the Miles Foundation, described Schoolahoop as a one-stop shop for parents searching for a school, grades pre-K to 12.
“There’s no real easy way to find out information about these schools,” Coates said. “For us, it was giving parents a guide to show them, ‘Here, here are some different options for you.’”
‘An easy, fun process’
The site leans on what parents want in their schools. For example, if a family wants their child to be in a school with small class sizes, Schoolahoop has that option.
The site also allows parents to pick their school type, such as traditional public, charter and private.
Parents also can search for schools near their home or workplace. The site even allows parents to decide how long of a commute they want to drop their child off at school.
All of Schoolahoop’s features are designed to help families find the best education opportunities, Coates said.
“It’s an easy, fun process where they can select the type of school, the type of learning environment and the activities that are most important to the kid,” he said.
‘Where would they go to look?’
Schoolahoop launched in 2019, shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic. The site shifted to give parents online school options.
Three years later, Coates is preparing for another possible shift. The Texas Legislature is considering an education savings account program, a voucher-like policy that gives parents public dollars to fund educational expenses, such as private school tuition.
This legislative session could be the one where lawmakers expand school choice further, Gabriel Huddleston, an education professor at Texas Christian University, previously told the Fort Worth Report.
“This is going to have ramifications for a long period of time, especially in a place like Fort Worth that is so diverse, has so many different schools and has so many different charters,” Huddleston said.
Already, Schoolahoop is being tailored for Florida, where Gov. Ron DeSantis recently signed into law a bill offering school vouchers and education savings accounts to all families.
If a similar effort is successful in the Lone Star State, Coates expects more parents will need help finding schools.
“Where would they go to look?” Coates said. “This time in our state’s educational history, this could be a really interesting tool for parents to use, if that were to come to fruition.”
Disclosure: The Miles Foundation has been a financial supporter of the Fort Worth Report. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.
Jacob Sanchez is an enterprise journalist for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter.