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For the data-obsessed and the data curious, the California Department of Education announced the release Monday of CA Schools, its first ever mobile phone app. The app is free, compatible with iOS and Android systems, easy to use and packed with information from driving directions to the 10,000 schools in the state to achievement metrics on the California School Dashboard Report.

“Home buyers can check out schools in their prospective neighborhoods,” said Tom Torlakson, state superintendent of public instruction, of a new app, CA Schools.

The app opens in a nifty map display. Users select a radius — 2 miles, say — and search schools in that area. Display results can be general — all public schools — or filtered to show charter schools only or magnet schools only. Another filter allows users to see private schools only.

Once a user clicks on the red pinpoint that marks a school, it’s just a question of how much a user wants to know. Available for perusal are the principal’s phone number and email address, a link to driving directions, evaluations on the California School Dashboard, financial information displayed in a Local Control Funding Formula Snapshot and loads more.

“Never before have we put so much school information literally in the hands of our students, parents and community members,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. “Home buyers can check out schools in their prospective neighborhoods. Parents heading to a child’s away game can map directions to the host school.”

The CA Schools app draws data from online databases at the California Department of Education, including the California School Directory, which lists contact phone numbers, addresses and email addresses, and DataQuest, which generates reports on enrollment demographics and more. Want physical fitness test scores by grade level? Done. The percentage of English learners at a school sorted by language and grade level in 2016-17? The information is there.

It’s still early in the life of CA Schools (version 1.0.4), which is available for download at the Apple App Store or Google Play. Only two reviews were posted at the App Store on Monday. A user logged in as claismarie enthused:

“CA Schools app is so useful for employees like me who work directly with various school districts and often need to connect to admin, get details about specific schools quickly and in one place, and save maps!”


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