Chalk takes a deadly aim at the piles of papers festering in school offices by offering to automate the experience of filling out a school form. (Think of all those beginning of the year school forms that parents must fill out--typically by hand--to get students into the system.) Cofounders Qian Wang, Sarah Chou, and Coulton Bunney developed Chalk working with elementary school teachers in the Cupertino Unified School district.
How Does It Work? Individual teachers or school administrators can both use Chalk. After registering (for free), educators can upload a document--say, a permission slip--to Chalk. Teachers then input the names and email addresses of their students (either manually, copy and pasting or by uploading a CSV file). Chalk can then send the forms to everyone on the address list and track when they are returned. At least for now, Chalk's team is also letting districts and schools send them printed copies of forms, which they then upload into the system.
Who’s Using It? Chalk launched on October 17, 2012. Its founders say several hundred people have tried it so far and that the Providence Public Schools are using it and that teachers in Cupertino Unified contributed to the product design.
Business Model: Chalk's founders say they intend to keep the software available for free for individuals (such as a classroom teacher). Groups--such as schools or districts, or even organizations such as the Parent Teacher Association--will be charged. The company is still working on its pricing model.
Competition: There are not any notable stand-alone programs that accept any type of form--especially at a low cost. (Docusign is one business solution but schools would find this an expensive method for collecting hundreds of forms.)
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