Two Colorado Startups Tackling the Hurdles of Public Education

by Carlin Sack
September 26, 2013


The beginning of the school year has brought exciting expansion news for two Colorado startups disrupting the edtech world from completely different angles:

Denver-based SchoolRunner, an administrative data-analytics platform, just signed up 7 charter school networks representing 17 schools in cities including San Francisco, Houston and Boston. Twenty schools are now using the SchoolRunner platform since the company was launched in January 2012.

We all know teachers are already pressed for time. By using SchoolRunner’s technology, teachers in the 20 schools can now track and streamline all classroom data (including attendance, behavior, grading, curriculum standards)  and administrators can quickly analyze all the day-to-day data being captured.

“No teacher wants to use five systems to get through their day,” founder Charlie Coglianese said. “With SchoolRunner we're getting teachers down to one system and schools down to two.”

WootMath, a Boulder-based instructional tool for middle school math teachers, just launched in its first school in New York City this month. The Woot Math team was kicked in high-gear since being founded in March because of an opportunity to participate in the New York City Department of Education Gap App Challenge.

The challenge, a competition for apps and games to help middle schoolers in math, “literally describes WootMath,” CEO and co-founder Krista Marks said. So despite being “by far the earliest stage company” in the competition, WootMath secured an honorable mention and the opportunity to work with its current school Far Rockaway School in Queens.

Although WootMath and SchoolRunner are on two different sides of the edtech equation (instructional vs. administrative), they both set out the same goal in mind: to create better learners by enhancing the learning experience. And, by expanding to more schools this year, they are each doing just that.

Edtech isn’t just a numbers game about how many schools sign on though, it’s an opportunity to listen to teachers and adapt products based on feedback. In edtech, flexibility is key, Coglianese said: “We just listen to what schools want to do and, as long as they make sense to us, we add flexibility to the system.”

Six-month old WootMath will be able to perfect its customized learning math tool through many Skype calls and trips to New York City (paid for by NYC DoE!) by working with Far Rockaway and can accomplish its main vision of helping middle school math teachers.

“We didn’t set out to do something instructional in particular,” Marks said. “We set out to help teachers.”


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