Community Investment Corporation developed and launched an online platform to provide parents with a valuable free digital research tool and ‘one-stop-shop’ with information on every school in Pima County.
April 5, 2023 (Tucson, Arizona) – Tucson families who are exploring the K-12 educational landscape are getting some help from a local nonprofit. Tucson-based Community Investment Corporation (CIC) has launched MySchoolsTucson.org, a family-focused online school locator that includes educational resources focused on Tucson and Pima County. This mobile-friendly website offers families a simple, understandable opportunity to find unbiased information about ALL Tucson and Pima County schools. The approach of MySchoolsTucson.org is to be a centralized “online one-stop-shop” for families seeking to explore their children’s schools and the schools in the area. The platform is accessible and free of charge to all users.
The development of MySchoolsTucson.org and its library of resources is CIC’s response to a 2022 survey it conducted of over 1,100 K-12 Arizona parents. The survey showed that parents’ ability to access information about schools and engage with schools is directly correlated to their income. Families with lower incomes have less access to school information and the way they interact with schools and their administrations is much different than wealthier parents of K-12 students.
“This is another area of our economy where lower income households are at a disadvantage, often because these parents have less time to research and engage with schools than wealthier households,” said CIC’s Executive Director, Danny Knee. “Considering education has such a profound effect on lifelong opportunities, we think it is essential to make accessing information on the schools children attend as easy as possible for parents.”
According to Knee, educational research shows that parent engagement is directly linked to better school attendance and high school graduation as well as higher grades and classroom test scores. The American Psychological Association also links engagement to better health outcomes for children.
“Considering that many parents find researching and exploring schools overwhelming,” said Scott Evans, CIC’s Director of Family and School Engagement, “we are focused on making MySchoolsTucson.org, as simple and easy to use as possible.” Before joining CIC’s Family and School Engagement team, Evans spent more than a decade as the Director of Counseling at Salpointe Catholic High School.
CIC, through their Family and School Engagement program aims to ensure that all Tucson families have the tools and support they need to engage and make informed decisions about their child’s education. This includes information on the different curricular and extra-curricular programs available at schools. It also includes best practices regarding how to engage with school administrators and teachers productively to ensure their children get the most out of their school experiences.
MySchoolsTucson.org was developed through research and collaboration with parents in Pima County. Over the past two years, CIC has engaged focus groups and formulated a parent survey to comprehend how parents maneuver in the educational environment. Through that process, Tucson parents expressed their struggle in gathering essential details about nearby schools, often resorting to confusing and time consuming online searches to gather information related to their school preferences. An overwhelming percentage of participants enthusiastically welcomed a user-friendly resource that streamlines access to information about educational options and tips on how to increase their engagement in their children’s education.
Just like any evolving app or software, MySchoolsTucson.org will continue to flourish by earnestly listening to valuable feedback from its users. According to the CIC team, this will help them to make necessary improvements, introduce new features, and expand outreach through increased community event participation and collaborations with community-based organizations. Community Investment Corporation is committed to building resources that meet the needs of Tucson families and greatly appreciates all responses. They are requesting additional feedback from families through this survey.