School Choice Design Challenge

Last week, Vital AI demo-ed it’s application in the NYC Department of Education School Choice Design Challenge (SCDC).   We are very proud to participate in this program to help students and parents choose a high school.  If you didn’t know, students go through a high school selection process in NYC, which can be a bit confusing and intimidating.

We had a lot of fun working with the folks at the NYC DoE, in particular Kara Chesal and Steven Hodas.  Also, it was great to interact with all the students and parents at the design sessions, plus the other SCDC participants.

Information about the SCDC program is available here:

Vital AI’s protoype application can be found via our website here:

We’ll be posting further blog entries on how the Vital AI Platform was used to create our application.

In short, we:
(1) Created a data model for all data the NYC DoE provided (a lot!)
(2) Loaded the data into our platform
(3) Created a recommendation model to match students and school programs.  A lot of interesting statistics and data science went into this process!
(4) Created a series of questions to get the “inputs” to the recommendation model
(5) Used our “Haley” module for interacting with the students
(6) Built a JQuery-based front end connected to the Vital AI Platform via our API
(7) Built an HTML5 JQuery-Mobile-based front end version to be the user interface for mobile devices

Below are a few screenshots of the resulting mobile application:

Interacting with the student via questions/answers which can be open text or multiple-choice:


Viewing a list of recommended school programs:


Viewing the details of a school program:


Using the app to search for school programs via the student’s interests:


Using a map to see the route to the school, using transit information typical in the morning commute:


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