Scott Ball / Rivard Report
About seven years after Inga Cotton created the San Antonio Charter Moms blog, she noticed that the most-visited web page on the site was a listing of all the city’s charter schools.
“It’s just an alphabetical list of the schools of choice in San Antonio,” Cotton said. “The next step was wondering, ‘How do we make that page more useful for parents?'”
Cotton decided the best way to help parents find a charter school that fit their student would be to develop a phone app, San Antonio Charter Schools, with useful information on each school.
She began developing the program in October and officially launched the app on Wednesday. A Spanish-language program is still under development but will be ready to use in about a month, she said.
Users log on to see a map with 82 pins representing each local charter school, including in-district charters, open enrollment charteres, and district-charter partner schools. If a family’s local address didn’t matter to a school during the enrollment process, Cotton included it in her list.
Users can zoom in and out to narrow the list down by geographic location or limit their search to specific grade levels. The app also filters by school quality, based on the Texas Education Agency’s school report cards and A-F ratings for each district, Cotton said.
Once users select a school, they can look at its profile, which contains information on how to apply to the school and what kind of a school model the campus uses. The profile includes details of special program offerings like dual language or a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) emphasis.
“This information really wasn’t being offered anywhere else,” Cotton said. “Each school has a different set of deadlines and applications that are unique. I hope that parents who are looking will find the app and it will help them narrow down their searches.”
The English version of the app is free and available on iTunes and in the Google Play store.