BOSTON (CBS) — The Boston Public School lottery system is a notoriously complex process and if you want information on a charter, private or parochial school, it is an entirely different ballgame. Parents are left doing hours of research.
To help ease the stress, one Boston mom created a website with all the information parents need about all 221 schools in the city.
“It’s the only place in Boston where you can find out information on every single school in Boston no matter if it’s a public school, a charter school, a parochial school, private school. We have all that information in one place and in eight languages so it’s accessible for every family in Boston,” said Executive Director of Boston School Finder Latoya Gayle.
She was a stay-at-home mom when she did all this research herself and started the website two years ago.
“There’s four of us. We’re small but we’re mighty,” said Gayle of her staff.
The site has taken off, and word of mouth has been a huge driver.
“I was looking for more information about different schools and then it appeared, it popped out and I click it and then I start reading and I start figured it out this is helpful for me because it was in Spanish,” said Katia Hichos.
Boston School Finder is built by parents for parents, meaning it has the inside scoop on what you need to know and when.
“Boston Schools Fund reached out to me and I’m like, this can be bigger. It’s gonna be more than a database, this can really be a tool for families,” Gayle said.
“Parents ask all kinds of questions like, ‘What is a charter school? What’s an exam school? What does that mean for me? So we try to have those resources on there.”
It’s one-stop shopping for key dates and deadlines.
“We actually work with other parents to help them know what’s on our site and what’s available in our city,” said Gayle.
“If music is important to your child, or art is important to your child, if sports are important to your child, if surround care — like what kind of programs and after school things is a school associated with, if that’s important to you you need to be able to go to one place to find that.”
One thing you won’t find is recommendations or school rankings though.
“We really believe that parents are the experts. So if we can give them the tools and the information, they will make the best choice for their children,” said Gayle. “We know that what school you send your child to is a personal decision. It’s hard for us to say that’s a number one school, that’s not a great school because it’s so personal. What’s great for my child may not be great for someone else’s child.”