By most measures, Abre is one of the most successful and fastest growing EdTech companies around. Over the last couple of years, they have practically invented a category, DaaS, or Data-as-a-Service. In short, these former school and district data guys have figured out how to take the entire data headache away from your district, and hand you back a finely integrated service that organizes all your data and makes it actionable to every stakeholder, including teachers, administrators, parents, students and community organizations. Where once, mountains of data were siloed and the information contained therein was virtually unreachable, the data have now become a go-to source for everything educators need to help students on every level, from academic to social/emotional, translating data deserts into information goldmines.
So, who are these education entrepreneurs? Co-founder Chris Rose is a former high school math teacher who taught Algebra and Pre-Calculus and understands the challenges of the classroom. He has a passion for providing educators with good design, engineering, and development to help them help students. Chris is currently the SVP of Product & Technology at Abre, an all-in-one education management platform built for improving outcomes and unleashing the potential of everyone in the learning community.
Co-founder Zach Vander Veen has worn many hats in education, including History Teacher, Technology Coach, Administrator, and Director of Technology. He is an experienced educator and EdTech director with history both in the classroom and supporting other teachers. His goal at Abre is to use technology to enhance the experience for the whole learning community. This means not just simplifying day-to-day administrative tasks, but also creating smart systems to connect students, families, educators, and partners, reducing the burden on educators and supporting the whole child through holistic analysis and development of lifelong skills.
What separates Chris and Zach from the founders of most other education technology companies is the understanding that with enough information, an educator can move mountains. With that in mind, you would think that mountains are moved every moment of every day in American schools, because every moment, unbelievable quantities are data are collected in these schools. For example, when behaviors occur in the classroom, they are noted. When a student aces a test, the score is logged. When a child is absent, the date is recorded. Every day, schools collect mountains of data on each student that walks through their doors.
So, what happens to that data?
The truth in the majority of schools is, not much at all. Most schools file all that data away on different platforms, in separate folders, and binders of one category or another. The data stays (relatively) safe and sound in its own little section.
And no one is helped.
When data isn’t organized, easy to access, and actionable, school leaders are flying blind. Students aren’t getting the best from their school because frankly, their school has no idea what their best is. It is both a travesty and an easy fix.
Making confident decisions
More than anything else, the most compelling reason to create a better pathway to your data is so you can be confident that everyone on your staff is making decisions based on all available information. Confidence to know that every stakeholder in your organization has access to the information they need when they need it. And confidence to know you have the information you need to ensure every learner is getting the best possible education on every level.
Although most districts are swimming in data, their students are dying of thirst. Like the forest and the trees, there is far too much data to be able to find and use what you need when you need it. Educators are the heart and soul of the district. And most administrative positions, from the building principal to the district superintendent, came up through the ranks. It is simply impractical for these folks to be both data experts and learning experts.
Placed together with data, an educator’s teaching experience, his or her intuition, judgement and instincts can be extremely valuable tools for decision-making.
However, when school leaders lack the tools they need to synthesize data across all facets of a child’s life, they may be forced to rely on just their gut feelings and instincts.
Every child is different, and every community is different, with different needs, demands, and preferences. Without a modern data solution, administrators are unable to make data-informed decisions and they struggle to defend their decisions to their communities, parents, and school boards.
Improving operational efficiencies
District administrators are on the hook for how well their schools run, and how efficient the processes are. That requires data.
Without a platform like Abre, tracking down and making sense of data requires an inordinate amount of manual effort and time. While staff and teachers spend up to 40 percent of their time combing through spreadsheets and juggling different siloed apps, they’re missing out on the chance to connect with students. While administrators piece together retrospective data, they’re missing out on the real-time information they need to make the best decisions for their districts.
As both a partner and a platform, Chris, Zach and the amazing Abre team take the data and drive actionable insights from it. Meanwhile, your K-12 team can maximize their time and get back to doing what they do best, using the information and data-driven insights to help drive student outcomes. You hand over your raw data and they take it from there. Teachers, staff, and families have access to everything they need with one login, where they can quickly and easily see insights to let them know where to focus their efforts.
Increasing stakeholder engagement
Unlike the data you collect, students don’t lead compartmentalized lives. That is why schools need an easy, centralized way to share relevant data and resources with families and other stakeholders and create a two-way dialogue. When data is siloed on separate platforms, teachers, counselors, parents, and other partners have to start from scratch with little insight into the student’s history and patterns. And even when data is on the same platform, it still needs to be presented in such a way that all your different stakeholders can easily make sense of the insights without requiring data science expertise.
Data gathered in the classroom might be relevant to a counselor. Behavioral data might help a parent see how to better set their child up for success; what you get is a one-stop shop where you can centralize data, resources, and communication to everyone in your learning community. Administrators, families, and teachers are all stakeholders in the outcome. Abre gives all stakeholders access to data that has the power to change a student’s life for the better.
Reinvesting in what matters most
Are your EdTech partners offering a return on investment? This is a fair question.
Schools spend a lot of money on education technology, but many don’t have the tools or the bandwidth to know if they’re actually driving student success. Unshared, siloed collections of data make it impossible to see what’s working and what’s not, and which technology is serving students, partners, and families best.
Abre isn’t just another license or program for you to buy. It consolidates your technology into one platform and helps you save on unused apps and licenses. In short, you get less headache for your teachers and families, and less needless spending for your schools.
You can evaluate programs and see the ones that are growing students and building positive outcomes and those that aren’t. And most importantly, you’ll see growth areas, and areas of need you may not have noticed.
And as a partner working with you every step of the way, Abre helps you roll out the platform with a phased approach to easily manage change with your staff and learning communities.Because the Abre team is made up of educators and school technology directors like Chris and Zach who saw the potential of data used well, they understand the struggle to make sense of the numbers while trying to focus on students, so they stepped into the gap. Abre saves you money and helps you reinvest in what matters most — your students. In a comprehensive technology stack assessment with more than 15 school districts, Abre has identified cost savings between $12 and $40 per student. In fact, it is not uncommon for a customer with 5000 students to save $100,000, said Chris Rose. That money can be reinvested in students and educators to drive better outcomes.