There appears to be a renewed commitment to openness and integration in the education technology industry, and this is exciting. Education is so diverse that one company cannot do everything alone. As a result, districts have always been faced with the challenge of implementing an overwhelming number of diverse, leading edge, solutions and struggling with integration or choosing one large company which offered well-integrated, but inadequate solutions. With the emergence of industry initiatives, such as OneRoster, districts can be in a position to leverage the best tools available in a fashion where they easily work together.
School Software Group has always been committed to working with other educational products; however, this has often been limited to custom data exports and imports. With the emergence of the industry initiative, OneRoster, School Software Group is committed to moving towards an ecosystem of tools that allow districts to easily integrate and prosper. School Software Group’s goal has always been to position districts to accomplish key, basic, functions that most have struggled to truly accomplish. Their core offering, BuildYourOwnCurriculum (BYOC), was created as a collaborative effort working directly with districts and teachers to implement the basic vision of a curriculum-driven educational system that most districts and educational leaders have long expounded on, but seldom realized.
BYOC is focused on the basic task of educational planning and coordination. This product is utilized by teachers and school administrators to plan and execute daily instruction more effectively. Students use their system to view and submit classroom work and also to take online assessments.
Principal Duo of School Software Group
School Software Group has two co-founders, Chris Trina and John Pranica. Chris is a software engineer by trade having worked for a variety of large software organizations in his 30+ year career. During his career, Chris’ responsibilities have focused on tools and practices to promote developer productivity and consistency, which he has applied to how he works with educators and district leadership teams. “Our offerings for schools strongly reflect this ongoing pursuit of proactively driving consistency and efficiency,” says Chris.
John is a CPA by trade, having held a variety of roles for organizations including Chief Financial Officer and President throughout is 30+ year career. John has consistently provided School Software Group with a strong infrastructure and financial stability.
Combined, Chris and John have created a solid organization that continually reinvests in its products. They have taken a conservative approach that has led to controlled but steady growth while maintaining their commitment to providing schools with the best tools possible in a cost-effective fashion. As a testament, BuildYourOwnCurriculum price has never changed since its initial release over 12 years ago!
Overcoming Limitations of Current Education System
“The basic concept behind everything we do is that school districts need a consistent, documented plan of agreed upon, student-friendly goals and pacing for each grade and subject area. This intentional plan can be evolved over time for continual, ongoing, student performance growth. Furthermore, that plan needs to be the basis for all activities across the district, including lesson planning, assessments, grading, and teacher observations. Please understand that the goal of this plan is not, in anyway, to lessen or stifle teacher innovation, but merely to focus and direct it onto a consistent set of shared goals and time constraints. One prominent educational author has stated that teacher creativity comes to the forefront when constraints regarding content and durations are applied,” says Chris.
“Honestly, our goal is to make the basic foundations of education work better. Without an effective, intentional plan, schools have little to no hope of ongoing success for their students. Districts who continually apply the “latest and greatest” tools, regardless of their quality, are doomed to long-term failure without a plan that defines consistent goals and directions. Implementing tools without this underlying plan simply results in a continual cycle of successes and failures. Our goal is to provide that underlying plan, driving the selection and implementation of tools and professional development that support it,” says Chris.
Customer Oriented Approach
School Software Group is totally client driven. They constantly interface with clients during customer support engagements, training opportunities, and state-specific user’s groups. Additionally, they partner with educational service agencies across the country to better understand the needs of their clients. Feedback and suggestions from these encounters drive everything they do. These schools and agencies are the frontline experts who truly know what tools and services they need to succeed.
School Software Group strongly believes that openness is the key to the future. Product integrations are too time-consuming and one provider solutions are too limiting. For districts to thrive, education tool providers, as an industry, need to fulfill the promise of delivering easily integrated, best of breed solutions to educators.