PowerSchool Acquires Schoology, in Major Pairing of K-12 Information Platforms

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PowerSchool, a major provider of student information systems and an array of other K-12 tools, has made a major acquisition in scooping up Schoology, which serves an estimated 2,000 school districts around the country with learning management platforms.

Terms of the deal, which was announced in a statement issued recently, were not disclosed.

PowerSchool, headquartered in Folsom, Calif., says its products, which include student information systems and products focused on assessment and analytics, special education, talent management, and human resources, serve about 45 million students in 80 countries. Schoology supports an estimated 20 million users through its LMS and formative assessment tools.

The companies say that the acquisition will create a “world-class unified classroom solution,” through that integrates with an SIS.  In a statement, Schoology predicts school districts will benefit from additional investments and open integrations of products affiliated with Google, Microsoft, and third-party applications. PowerSchool’s K-12 users, meanwhile, will see an upside from bringing Schoology’s LMS into the the myriad assessment, education, and professional development functions PowerSchool already offers.

“Teachers have shared that they need more time and tools to provide individual learning paths for every student,” said Hardeep Gulati, PowerSchool’s CEO, in announcement of the deal.  He noted that around 40 states touted plans to “personalize learning” in their accountability plans under the federal Every Students Succeeds Act, as part of their school improvement plans.

Adding New York-based Schoology’s LMS to the mix “allows us to support all educators by providing unmatched personalized learning capabilities that connects all the information about the student, including learning, assessment, and special education needs” to Unified Classroom — which is a PowerSchool product.

Schoology CEO and co-founder Jeremy Friedman said his company said the two organizations have many of the same K-12 customers, and that his organization “could not have found a better home” for its technology.

“With the scale and investment we will get being part of PowerSchool, we can further advance what is possible in education, and take Schoology to a whole new level,” Friedman said.

In an interview with EdWeek Market Brief, Gulati said the union of the companies would give districts access to a “much more holistic view” of individual students’ needs, by weaving together data from different sources that speak to a mix of academic and non-academic information sources.

For instance, teachers are already using Schoology’s LMS in an effort to create “personalized” learning paths for students, Gulati said. But to truly do that, “you need to understand more about the student” than a traditional learning management system can provide, Gulati said.

“Some of that data sits in the student information system — about the attendance of a child, or understanding the special needs of the child,” he said. “We’re bringing that together through one common, unified classroom.”

The new data PowerSchool brings to help school districts and individual educators, Gulati argued, will be delivered not just through his company’s SIS, but through information derived from other products, in special education, assessment and other areas.

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