The Alaska Department of Education and Early Development has come out with a new data portal to give families information about their child's school.

The department announced the online tool Sept. 30.

A photo of the new Alaska Department of Education and Early Development online portal.

"This new website is the start of a journey to publish data in a manner that is relevant for students, celebrates success, and motivates improvement," said Alaska Education Commissioner Michael Johnson, Ph.D.

Johnson says he hopes the portal inspires parents, teachers and communities to find answers to questions they might have about their students' education.

The website, named “The Compass,” shows school data reported to DEED. Visitors can view school profiles, compare schools or explore education options in their district and within the state. 

The portal is part of Alaska's accountability system for public schools and was developed as part of the state’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plan.

DEED’s tool includes 2018-2019 school designations based on graduation rates, academic growth, third grade English language arts proficiency and other measures of school quality and student success. 

Tamara Van Wyhe, Director of Innovation and Education Excellence, explained the standards and assessments sets expectations for both students and schools.

“Just as state standards and assessments set expectations for what students should know and be able to do, state accountability systems set expectations for school performance and school system effectiveness,” Van Wyhe said. “School designations help identify areas for improvement and determine the level of support and targeted resources needed to assist schools in their efforts to increase achievement for all students.”

DEED says the department plans to expand “The Compass” to have more information on school-level financial data and per-pupil costs based on federal education requirements. In addition, the department may add extracurricular activities and course availability.

The public can also provide feedback to DEED on additional data they would like to see included in the future.

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