Success of early district pilots prompts AltSchool to accelerate public school expansion
25 public districts, private and charter schools join growing national movement to adopt learner-centric school model
SAN FRANCISCO - August 30, 2018 – AltSchool kicks off the 2018-19 school year with 25 districts and schools in its partner network this fall. From large urban districts to small private schools,classrooms around the country are shifting from teacher-centered to student-centered learning models. AltSchool is providing the tools and support that schools need to make that vision a reality. Last year, the company brought in key public and charter school veterans to accelerate research and development, so that the platform would be ready to support the broader education community by 2020. Now, based on early successes with beta partners and growing interest from public districts across the U.S., AltSchool has accelerated support for public schools two years ahead of schedule.
“Schools around the country are undertaking a historic transformation right now, as they endeavor to better prepare students for their futures by adopting a more learner-centric model,” said Devin Vodicka, Chief Impact Officer at AltSchool, and former superintendent of Vista Unified School District. “The AltSchool platform was created to make that transition easier for schools. We’re just beginning our first official year supporting partners. AltSchool is deeply humbled and encouraged by early use from our beta partners who are saying the partnership could be a game-changer.”
One of those early adopters, Arcadia Unified in Los Angeles County, is a nationally renowned public school district serving 9,500 students. For years, Arcadia superintendent Dr. David Vannasdall has been on a mission to balance the demands of college-readiness with keeping students engaged in their own learning journey. His search led to an early pilot with AltSchool. Last year, just a handful of teachers participated. But, word quickly spread among teachers and this fall, thousands of Arcadia students will get the chance to use the AltSchool platform.
“We want to ensure our students know how to engage in and shape their learning, so they can successfully navigate the world after graduation,” Dr. Vannasdall said. “Already in this first year on the AltSchool platform, our students are finding their voices and starting to take ownership of their own education. It's been so productive for us that we've increased the number of teachers who will be using the tools tenfold next year, from 12 to 120.”
Just 30 miles away, Paramount Unified School District faces different challenges in its quest for educational excellence. Nearly 95 percent of its 15,000 students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. Most families lack consistent access to technology and speak English as a second language. In the spring of 2016, the district launched an ambitious undertaking: to reimagine high school. Paramount’s initiative also led it to AltSchool to more equitably prepare students for the demands of college, career, and life in the 21st century.
“We serve a wonderfully diverse community and want to instill, in each and every child, the belief that they deserve a high-quality education and the opportunity to succeed in their own life,” said Ruth Pérez, Superintendent of the Paramount Unified School District. “Our partnership with AltSchool is part of our commitment to make student-centered learning possible for all of our students.”
AltSchool is an education and technology company with a mission to make the best education the most available, for students and education professionals. The company is a public benefit corporation and a Certified B Corporation. As part of this new class of for-profit companies established to provide a positive contribution to society, AltSchool meets high standards of social and environmental good.
In 2013, AltSchool’s team of teachers and technologists began developing a personalized learning platform inside the company’s lab school classrooms. Their goal was to create a platform flexible enough to help any type of school offer each student a learner-centric education using any curriculum. Today AltSchool’s four lab schools in California and New York are core members of its national partner network. AltSchool’s partner network is a growing movement of like-minded public and private schools around the country working to make a learner-centric education possible for all students.
The AltSchool platform runs “behind the scenes” to empower real-world learning between teachers and students. Teachers are able to key-in on individual student needs, students can manage their day-to-day activities and long-term goals, and parents get visibility into their children’s progress.
Partner schools benefit from the deep collaboration offered by joining the network, which includes access to both state-of-the-art software and robust training and support services. From fellow educators to engineers, the AltSchool team is “on call” and is frequently onsite to provide training and integration assistance. Plus, partners get the chance to actively shape the tools and features they’ll be using. Partner educators and students provide real-world expertise and real-time feedback, which is then incorporated into ongoing product development.
Interested in becoming a partner?
Learn more about the program and how to partner with AltSchool to personalize learning at https://www.altschool.com/partner-schools.
AltSchool’s mission is to enable all children to reach their potential. Its world-class team of educators, researchers, and technologists are co-developing an operating system for teaching and learning that makes whole-child, personalized learning possible for students, teachers, parents, and administrators. The platform serves as the foundation to help schools offer a learner-centric education that is personalized for each student. Headquartered in San Francisco, AltSchool is a public benefit corporation and a Certified B Corporation. It is backed by Founders Fund, Andreessen Horowitz, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative donor advised fund at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, and many other key investors. More information at www.altschool.com.