Dealflow | May 23, 2019

Abl acquires School by Design to improve allocation of school resources

Jessica Pothering
ImpactAlpha Editor

Jessica Pothering

ImpactAlpha, May 23 – Understanding how schools and school districts allocate resources plays a key role improving equitable access to education. Two edtech companies with a similar goal of helping students and teachers get the resources they need have merged.

San Francisco-based Abl tackles that at the school level, with software and support services that help schools plan and manage their schedules to better optimize resources. Its software has been adopted by 150 schools since it launched in 2015, helping them account for factors like student test scores, teacher course-load, bell schedules and then uncover and correct for discrepancies like whether some student demographic groups have better access to honors courses than others. The company charges schools a subscription fee, and offers discounts to high-needs schools through a Gates Foundation-backed initiative called Unlocking Time.

Meanwhile, Waltham, Mass.-based School by Design offers a similar kind of software for school districts more broadly. Its software analyzes districts’ school-specific information about students and courses alongside district-wide financial, scheduling and staffing data. It then helps districts uncover and correct for discrepancies, like whether some schools have more or longer days of instruction than others.

Abl is acquiring School by Design for an undisclosed sum, and School by Design will continue its district-level support under the Abl name. Combined, the two companies serve 230 schools in 55 districts in 23 states, EdSurge reports.