Despite the pandemic, Cloverdale-based educational software company Standard for Success saw solid—and somewhat surprising—growth last year, and the firm’s founders project strong double-digit growth this year as well.
The optimism is being fueled by a series of partnerships the company has signed this year.
From 2011—when it was founded—to 2019, Standard for Success had grown its customer base and revenue each year. Now, nearly half of Indiana K-12 districts use Standard for Success’ software for teacher evaluations and feedback.
Standard for Success’ footprint spreads far beyond Indiana. The company serves 400 school districts in 20 U.S. states and Canada.
Still, after the pandemic spread across the U.S. and around the world last spring, Standard for Success officials were fearing the worst.
“Growing during a pandemic when we weren’t expecting to grow is a huge boost for us,” said Todd Whitlock, a former North Daviess school administrator who is co-founder and CEO of Standard for Success. “We maintained our customer base and grew it. We attribute that to the fact that we provide systems and services that are critical to education.”
The company started off by offering a teacher evaluation and feedback tool for K-12 teachers. That is still one of the firm’s biggest revenue generators.
In 2016, Standard for Success also started supplying people to help schools with the teacher evaluations.
In 2017, the company launched Graduation Pathways, a digitized platform that helps school administrators track the academic status of its students, including making sure they have achieved what they need to graduate and meet post-secondary requirements. Whitlock said Pathways is the fastest growing segment of the company, due in part to mandates in 35 states for this type of tracking.
In March 2020, Standard for Success released another platform, Analyze, an early learning programming assessment tool aimed primarily at preschools.
That same month, Standard for Success launched Accreditation, a higher ed platform that allows colleges and universities to track the progress of college students pursuing a degree and teaching license. It also collects program data for accreditation reporting.
The local firm has already signed deals with Hanover College, Kentucky Wesleyan and most recently Butler University. Standard for Success has also recently signed a deal with a college it can’t yet name.
Butler last week announced it has hired Standard For Success to track the progress of and provide feedback to candidates in Butler’s Educational Leadership Principal Licensure program.
Three recent partnerships will fuel growth this year and into the future, Whitlock said.
In early February, Standard for Success announced it had become the exclusive supplier of the American Association of School Administrators/STEM certification rubric from national K-12 curriculum-provider Jason Learning. Created in part by the National Geographic Society, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, NASA and other international STEM leaders, Jason Learning, an award-winning leader in STEM education, is used by more than 3 million students nationwide.
In early March, Standard for Success announced a partnership with SERRC, Alaska’s Educational Resource Center, to exclusively offer SERRC’s cultural standards framework to PK-12 schools and districts nationally. The demand is high nationally for programs that provide training and measurement tools around cultural standards in the classroom, Whitlock said. SERRC has a data-driven solution that has been in place for more than a decade, and Standard for Success will be the exclusive digital rights provider.
Also in March, Standard for Success announced an agreement with Virginia-based Stride, a provider of online and blended education, that will allow online teachers at Stride K12-powered schools to evaluate online teacher performance, competencies and domains in real-time.
“It’s already been a really big year for us in terms of these partnerships we’ve signed,” Whitlock said.
Whitlock, who runs the company with his wife—veteran educator Dianna Whitlock—expects three areas where the company focuses to fuel growth this year.
“We anticipate the largest growth this year in three different areas; evaluation framework, higher education and accreditation, and online resources through Jason and that partnership,” he said.
Standard for Success, which has a staff of eight full-time employees and 15 contractors, will also get a boost by working with schools to catch students up who have fallen behind in the largely virtual learning environment over the last year.
Standard for Success plans to add full-time employees and bring on more contractors to accommodate growth this year, company officials said.
“We have a number of potential clients in the pipeline working across our products,” Whitlock said. “We know there’s going to be a lot of emphasis on accelerated learning and we hope to partner with schools to build and maintain programming. We’re not looking to provide solutions that are one-and-done. We’re looking to help implement plans that can be used year after year even after federal funding disappears.”