Another Amplify Spinoff: School by Design


Another Amplify Spinoff: School by Design

By Tony Wan     Sep 26, 2016

Another Amplify Spinoff: School by Design

Chalk this up as another trivia question in the category of “Did you know Amplify also provided this?”

Today the once-gargantuan education technology company announced it is spinning off another service, School by Design, into an independent entity. This move marks the third such move for Amplify, which was formerly owned by News Corporation before it was sold last September to a group of private investors that include Laurene Powell Jobs. Other spinoff companies include Edhesive, which offers K-12 school resources to teach computer science, and assessment technology startup, Fluence.

School by Design’s leader will be Andrew Joseph, the co-founder of TenMarks, an online math product, and vice president of strategic relations at Amazon Education (after it bought TenMarks). He will leave Amazon within the next couple weeks.

“I see this as an opportunity to help build a valuable tool to help schools find ways to redesign their models,” Joseph tells EdSurge in an interview.

School by Design offers technology-enabled consulting services that aim to help district leaders analyze and redistribute how their schools use resources to meet instructional goals. The company offers a technology platform that ingests information provided by schools and districts, including data related to spending, scheduling and staffing. The system displays how well current expenditures align to instructional goals, and offers scenarios on how schools can use resources more efficiently.

“What we offer is a quick and structured way for any school leader to get a very clear snapshot of how their instructional resources are being allocated, and identify anomalies, mismatches, misalignments that are difficult to see from a high-level perspective,” Joseph adds.

Under Amplify’s umbrella, the School by Design team worked with roughly two dozen districts across the country, from Fresno Unified School District in California to Bridgeport Public Schools in Connecticut. The company claims its work has helped school leaders allocate more time for teacher professional development, fine-tune the bell schedules and implement blended learning models.

School by Design charges districts a subscription fee based on the number of students they serve. It can also provide follow-up consulting services from a network of partners—that currently includes the Southern Regional Education Board and CRSS—for additional costs.

Several Amplify employees will join Joseph at the newly-independent company. He declined to share the current headcount, only saying that he’s actively hiring. The company’s board includes Vicki Phillips, who previously directed the Gates Foundation’s College-Ready Education program, and Amplify executive David Stevenson.

Expect Amplify to slash or spin off other services as it focuses on its instructional and curriculum efforts. The California department of education—one of the country’s most influential textbook adoption states—adopted the company’s English and Language Arts curriculum for grades 6 to 8 last year. Amplify is building out a comprehensive science curriculum aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards.

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