K-12 Dealmaking: Fuel Education, PresenceLearning to Focus on Online Special Needs Services


By guest blogger Kevin Connors

More than 6.4 million students in the United States require special education services, according to the National Center for Education Services. But as districts face budget cutbacks and teacher shortages, many schools need new tools to serve the diverse needs of students within that population.K-12_Dealmaking.gif

Now, a pair of companies, Fuel Education and PresenceLearning, have joined together with the goal of meeting those demands by providing virtual special education services to schools and families.

San Francisco-based PresenceLearning currently offers live, online access to a network of speech and occupational therapists, mental and behavioral health professionals, and special education teachers. The company says that to date, it has delivered more than 500,000 online sessions to students in traditional public, charter, and virtual schools in the United States and around the world.

Its new partner is Fuel Education, a rebranded product line of its much larger and controversial parent company, K12 Inc. FuelEd helps districts implement online and blended learning programs, primarily through its personalized online learning platform, PEAK. Two thousand districts currently use this platform.

Under this new partnership, schools will be able to enroll students into PresenceLearning’s online special education services through Fuel Education’s customizable platform.

In a statement, Gregg Levin, general manager for Fuel Education, referenced the compatibility between each company’s mission, saying that “both focus on using technology-enabled education to better serve students on an individual, personalized level.”  

PresenceLearning’s Co-CEO, Clay Whitehead, noted that the new partnership responds to the “growing need for more highly individualized” services for special education and ultimately improves access for students and families. 

[Correction: An earlier version of this post misstated the usage of PresenceLearning. It has delivered more than a half-million online sessions to students around the world, to date.]

For more news on mergers, acquisitions, and venture capital in education, follow Marketplace K-12’s “K-12 Dealmaking” series. 

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