With family engagement, universal pre-K will be a success in 2022

The next few years could be a turning point for those of us involved in early education, and even for education in general. As part of the American Families Plan, President Biden is aiming to set aside $200 billion to make universal pre-K a reality for the first time in this country’s history. It’s a large investment with a laudable goal, and it will no doubt help millions of children and their families if it passes.

For all the good it will undoubtedly do, however, it will ultimately fail in its goal to prepare all children for kindergarten if we don’t also focus on engaging families in their children’s academic lives.

Family engagement will be crucial to successful early education…Read More

Don Johnston Incorporated Joins Texthelp Group; Edtech Giants Join Forces to Help Students Across North America and the Globe

WOBURN, Mass., Jan. 10, 2022 /PRNewswire/ —  Texthelp, a global leader in literacy and accessibility technology, today announced that they will acquire the Education Technology Division of  Don Johnston Inc., a leading assistive technology and special education curriculum company based outside of Chicago, IL. Don Johnston Inc. is the latest Assistive Technology provider to join the Texthelp Group. Following Five Arrows’ investment in December 2020, Texthelp acquired Lingit Group and Wizkids in 2021, expanding the company’s reach in the Nordics and the UK. Texthelp’s goal is to use its assistive technology to help 1 billion people with reading, writing, and numeracy by 2030. Together with Don Johnston Inc.’s leading SaaS-based products, the Texthelp Group will become the global leader in assistive technology tools for classrooms and workplaces. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

One in ten people have dyslexia, and in the US, 12% of students are in special education, 15% of children at school are learning their 2nd language, and the average reading age is 7th to 8th grade. Using assistive tools has been proven to help students overcome these barriers and harness their unique strengths. Both Texthelp and Don Johnston Inc. have made it their mission to support equality and inclusion of all people, especially individuals with dyslexia and other learning needs. Together, Texthelp and Don Johnston Inc. will continue to offer their full suite of products, and customers will see the benefit of collaborative technology innovation between the companies within the first few weeks. Don Johnston Inc.’s curriculum division will form a new company, named Building Wings™, which includes the products Readtopia® and First Author®.

“Texthelp and Don Johnston Inc. share a common vision of a world where every student can feel what it is like to learn and succeed,” said Martin McKay, CEO and founder of Texthelp. “Don and I founded our organizations for deeply personal reasons. We have an incredibly similar mission to elevate as many students as possible, helping them both understand and be understood. We are so excited to have Don Johnston Inc. join the Texthelp Group, and to have Don as an investor and board member. Our combined teams and expanded portfolio of products will allow us to give millions more students in the US and across the globe the best possible start in life and help them fulfill their full potential. Along with the Don Johnston team, we will continue to innovate and develop our suite of products to create the best assistive technology tools available.”…Read More

Vivi raises US$20m to further accelerate overseas expansion, sets target for 1m classrooms within five years

Vivi, a leading Australia-based visual learning, collaboration, and administration platform for education, is pleased to announce it has successfully completed a capital raise of US$20m (A$26.5m) with New York-based education investor, Quad Partners.

The investment will help Vivi further accelerate overseas expansion, particularly in the US where its team has expanded from two to 18. The funding will allow the company to introduce a series of teacher efficiency features that will further
cement Vivi as a major component of the technological infrastructure of schools and districts. With its technology in over 40,000 classrooms around the world, the investment will expedite Vivi expanding into one million learning spaces within
five years.

One of the company’s co-founders, US-based Simon Holland, led the oversubscribed raise with investors immediately buying into Vivi’s vision.…Read More

PresenceLearning Acquires Global Teletherapy and Propels Next Phase of Growth with Majority Investment from Spectrum Equity and TPG’s Rise Fund

NEW YORK, December 8, 2021 – PresenceLearning, the leading provider of teletherapy and software for special education and mental health providers in K-12 schools, said today that it completed two transactions that will significantly propel the company’s growth and help build the next generation of technology for therapists to expand student services.

The company has acquired Global Teletherapy, the leading teletherapy service provider to virtual K-12 schools, and has signed a definitive agreement for Spectrum Equity, a leading growth equity firm, and The Rise Fund, TPG’s multi-sector global impact investing strategy, to acquire a majority stake in the company. Bain Capital Double Impact and Catalyst Investors will retain minority stakes and Bain will continue to have representation on the company’s Board of Directors. Terms of the transactions were not disclosed.

The investment comes at a time when teletherapy has emerged as a critical solution for ensuring students get access to therapy services they need and receive consistent, high-quality care. In addition, clinicians are demanding remote work alternatives and software solutions to make their work both more impactful and sustainable. Together with this new team of investors, PresenceLearning will invest heavily in its next phase of growth.…Read More

YaizY Lands $2.1M Seed Investment To Transform The Traditional Learning System By Turning Kids’ Passions Into Professions

New York, NY (December 6, 2021)  – EdTech startup YaizY, an online platform with a wide range of curated courses in advanced digital subjects for kids, announced today a $2.1M seed round with total funding nearing $3 million. The live online education platform allows 8-to-17-year-olds to develop and refine future-proof skills in areas such as innovation, leadership, design, and multimedia arts will use the funds to expedite YaizY’s expansion in the US, further grow the customer base in UK and Israel, increase development of the live education platform and support the launch of fun, yet rigorous courses for students to learn from for years to come. 

The investment is coming from LearnStart, Flyer One Ventures, YellowRockets.vc, Angelsdeck, A.Partners, Vesdar Capital, and ALFIN. This is YaizY’s second investment round after the initial $800,000 equity round closed in January 2021. 

Founded by a global team of entrepreneurs, industry experts, and professionally trained, award-winning educators with decades of international experience, YaizY rapidly expanded to the US late last year. As YaizY bridges the gap between today’s traditional educational system and what’s needed to succeed in the job market of tomorrow, the platform has experienced 500% growth in the number of active paying students from May 2020 to May 2021, earning the trust of the 4,000+ families who trust the Yaizy philosophy and are continuing to invest in their child’s future. To date, more than 15,000 students have attended YaizY’s seminars and workshops with year-over-year revenue growth up 450%.…Read More

Renaissance Announces Significant Growth Investment from Blackstone

NEW YORK, SAN FRANCISCO, WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis. November 9, 2021 – Renaissance® (“Renaissance” or the “Company”), a global leader in pre-K–12 educational technology, today announced its entry into a definitive agreement for private equity funds managed by Blackstone (NYSE:BX; “Blackstone”) to make a significant equity investment in the Company alongside existing investors including Francisco Partners and TPG’s The Rise Fund. Francisco Partners, a leading global investment firm that specializes in partnering with technology businesses, acquired the Company in 2018 and will remain a major shareholder. Blackstone’s investment will be made through its flagship private equity vehicle. 

Founded in 1986, Renaissance combines decades of experience in assessments with personalized instruction and analytics solutions delivering teachers and administrators the tools to plan, lessons to teach, and the resources to motivate students to learn. Renaissance is one of the most recognized and trusted brands in K-12 education serving more than 40% of US schools and more than 16 million students worldwide. The Company’s assessment-driven, integrated instructional ecosystem enables schools and districts to benchmark student progress; teach, plan, and respond to students’ needs in real-time with personalized instruction; and offer supplemental student literacy and math learning software solutions. 

The new investment from Blackstone will enable the Company to further accelerate organic growth initiatives and innovation across its product suite. Building on the platform’s growth under Francisco Partners, the investment will also enable the Company to continue executing on its targeted acquisition strategy following its recent acquisitions earlier this year of Lalilo, a research-based foundational literacy program; and Nearpod, a leader in teacher-facilitated instructional delivery. …Read More

As schools share best practices, equity can emerge from the pandemic

Another school year is underway, and many of you may be feeling an overwhelming sense of déjà vu. Pandemic preparedness, mask mandates, quarantines–it’s starting to sound a lot like where we were last fall. But, luckily, it’s not.

Our public schools are not where they were at the start of the last school year. In fact, in terms of investment in new teaching and learning capabilities and student supports, we are currently leaps ahead of where we were in fall 2019, too–a not-so-distant past. Pushed by the pandemic, school systems and learners acquired new skills at a rapid pace. If we help them learn from each other and keep building upon these innovations, we will be in a new and better place this time next year.

This is the lesson of our recent white paper, “Launching Forward: Leveraging Pandemic Innovations to Advance School Systems.” In our research, we looked across U.S. school systems and found that through the hardship has come considerable growth. We didn’t want those lessons learned and innovations made to be lost; we didn’t want the hardship to be for naught.…Read More