The NYC High School Admission Application Guide, a free mobile app and website, is now available for incoming high schoolers. The product of a partnership among the New York City Director of High School Admission, the Heckscher Foundation for Children and educational experts from NYU, Princeton, Columbia and Seton Hall, the guide took almost over five years to develop. The notion behind the guide is to give NYC students an easier way to decide where they want to attend high school throughout the five boroughs. According to statistics, students in low-income communities only attend schools that are in their neighborhoods without knowing what other options are available. This app allows the students to personalize their own list of schools, along with an estimation of their commute from school to home via Google Maps. It would also provide information about academic and extracurricular programs at some of the best-performing schools in the city.
“We saw the need for a customized tool to better inform students who may lack a strong support network of their options, and to help them identify schools which would be a better ‘fit’ for them—while steering them away from lower-performing high schools with a graduation rate of below 65 percent,” said co-developer of the app Peter Sloane. “We received positive responses from fellow philanthropists and business leaders who recognize, with us, that by helping all students make informed choices, we’re not only addressing inequities in the high school application process but, ultimately, impacting students’ college readiness and success.”
Along with being an American philanthropist, Sloane is the CEO of the Heckscher Foundation for Children. The New York-based organization was founded in 1921 to promote educational opportunities for underserved children in low-income communities. The organization also provides access to social services and entrepreneurship opportunities.
“Tens of thousands of students will now have a simple, interactive tool to identify best-fit high schools with strong graduation rates,” said Sloane. “By helping all students make informed choices, we’re not only addressing inequities in the high school application process but, ultimately, impacting students’ college readiness and success.”
During the academic year of 2016-17, the NYC Department of Education conducted a controlled trail to see if the academic tool would have an impact on the decisions of incoming high schoolers. More than 400 students were included in the study and all gave positive feedback about the tool.
“We view this high school choice app as unique and as an example of our inflection point funding philosophy,” said Sloane. “Some of the inflection point funding opportunities we are considering include alleviating library fines for low-income youth and investing in college emergency grants programs,” said Sloane.
The NYC High School Application Guide is currently available at no cost. The guide will be translated into Spanish later this year. For more information, visit nychighschoolapp.org.