K-12 Dealmaking: PowerSchool to Acquire Communications Platform SchoolMessenger

Staff Writer
K-12 dealmaking

PowerSchool, a major provider of student information systems and cloud-based software, has entered into a purchase agreement to acquire SchoolMessenger, in a pairing of school operations and communication platforms.

As part of the deal, PowerSchool will pay $300 million in cash to SchoolMessenger’s parent company, West Technology Group. PowerSchool expects to cover that amount with cash on hand and existing credit facilities.

The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2023, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approval. Until then, the two companies will continue operating as separate entities.

PowerSchool officials believe streamlining communication between families and schools will boost student academic performance.

SchoolMessenger provides tools to reach parents across voice, text, emails, and social media messaging for communications such as emergency alerts, paperless permission forms and waivers, attendance matters, and student safety.

It also provides automatic translations for more than 100 languages.

Bringing SchoolMessenger’s communications platform into PowerSchool’s Student Information Cloud will give the company a lever for improving family engagement and student support, ultimately boosting student outcomes, predicts PowerSchool CEO Hardeep Gulati. The deal is taking hold at a moment when there’s an increasing focus on what technology platforms can do to bolster achievement, he said.

‘More Unified Communication’ in Mind

Poor results from this year’s nation’s report card – a national assessment of student performance – and increasing concerns about post-pandemic learning recovery continue to drive interest in finding new strategies to boost student achievement and get students back on track academically.

Strong communication between schools and families can play a part in helping schools and students make progress, PowerSchool officials say.

“An engaged student, and engaged families, are critical to improving education outcomes,” Gulati told EdWeek Market Brief in an interview.

“We’re seeing from our customers a need for more unified communication between districts and parents and students … whether it’s challenges in attendance or social and behavior aspects of it to support the child.”

The SchoolMessenger platform will be integrated into PowerSchool’s system, which currently supports more than 50 million students and 15,000 customers, including 90 of the top 100 districts by student enrollment in the United States. The company says it sells products in more than 90 countries.

Bringing SchoolMessenger on board will allow for centralized access to two-way communication capabilities between districts and parents, creating an environment where both the school and the family are aware of what the student needs to achieve success, Gulati said.

The deal will give PowerSchool’s customers a new “breadth of all the different elements of mass communication,” Gulati said. “It allows you to connect the entire ecosystem of districts, schools, teachers, parents, and students.”

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Image by Getty.

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