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TypeNonprofit organization
Key people
  • Bill Jackson, Founder and Board Director
  • Matthew Nelson, President

GreatSchools is a United States national nonprofit organization that provides parents with information about PK-12 schools and education. The website provides ratings based on test scores and a variety of other factors for schools in all 50 states, including tools for finding, evaluating, comparing, saving and following schools. As of July 2017, the GreatSchools database contains information on over 138,000 public, private, and charter schools in the United States.[citation needed] The GreatSchools website includes guides to the Common Core, parenting advice and articles on children's brain development and social emotional learning.[1] Parents can also review their children's schools.[2]


GreatSchools was founded in 1998 as a school directory and parenting resource in Santa Clara County, with seed funding from New Schools Venture Fund. The next four years (1999–2002), the school ratings expanded statewide in California. In 2003, the main school guide resource expanded nationwide. In 2008–2011 was the launch of College Bound Program, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Robertson Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation.[3] In 2013 GreatSchools received a three-year grant from the Walton Family Foundation.[4] 2013 saw Zillow integrate GreatSchools information such as school search, school ratings and reviews into their real estate database.[5] 2014 included an expanded partnership with Maponics.[6]

Recognition and awards[edit]

  • GreatSchools received Outstanding Achievement awards in 2011 and Best In Class awards in 2009 from the Interactive Media Awards.[7]

Equity and Academic Progress Controversy[edit]

In 2017 GreatSchools began using proprietary ratings called Equity and Academic Progress in addition to test scores to calculate schools' overall ratings. Schools with a small population of disadvantaged students were given an arbitrary Equity rating. The change had the effect of lowering the rating for many highly rated schools and raising ratings for poorly performing schools. The change has been a subject of considerable controversy with parents and teachers.


  1. ^ GreatSchools Site Partners With Yale Scholars on 'Emotional Intelligence', Editorial Projects in Education, Inc, June 24, 2015
  2. ^ Nonprofit designs school index for low-income, minority parents, EdSource, February 9, 2016
  3. ^ How Can Schools Best Communicate with Immigrant Parents?, KQED, June 14, 2012
  4. ^ Walton Family Foundation Invests $7.5 Million in GreatSchools to Reach 45 Million Users With Information on School Quality, Walton Family Foundation, March 13, 2013
  5. ^ Zillow Launches New Schools Search Tool; Allows Shoppers to Search in Multiple School Areas Simultaneously, Zillow, September 12, 2013
  6. ^ Maponics Adds GreatSchools Ratings and Reviews As Partnership Grows, Maponics, January 10, 2014
  7. ^ Interactive Media Awards - GreatSchools Award Category, Interactive Media Awards, 2011

External links[edit]