Schooling used to be so easy.
You drop your kids off at school, they got educated and you brought them home and they did some homework.
Now everything's up in the air, most of schooling for 10s of millions is happening at home.
It'll start to be a hybrid soon as kids go back to school but not entirely and not in mass, the way it was.
And schooling was built to be done the old fashioned way.
It was working, it was innovative in its way, but it didn't foresee all the changes we've got on our hands now.
If this goes on for an indeterminate time, now what?
Hardeep Gulati might be able to help us with this.
He is the CEO of PowerSchool, which I guess I would describe Hardeep as a As an education management platform, but I'm sure I'm bundling it what is power school, think about anything the school districts need for keeping the schools running all the way from school class schedules.
If you are among the 60 million parents who want to check their kids grades Their attendance or what is their upcoming report cards, you come to power school teachers use day in and day out to kind of track attendance, grades, give assignments, any kind of additional learning.
And then it also actually we go much more into the back office running the entire districts, payrolls and making sure teachers are getting paid.
We are hiring teachers and recruiting, onboarding them, substitute teachers, that kind of really running To all the different aspects of the school operations, we actually serve about 45 million students in North America, which is about 75% of the US school districts and with almost 30 states or provinces where we deployed across the entire state and province.>> How far back does power school go?
When did the platform first get launched?
We used to be part of Apple back in 2000.
We were probably Pearson after that, but the last five years we became standalone.
It sounds especially given its history when it arose.
It sounds a little bit like it's in the same vein as a Salesforce or a PeopleSoft.
But for the education market.
We are kind of the heartbeat of school districts just like Salesforce are what they are doing.
Right, we kind of run help run schools and districts.
So with what's going on now with remote learning, what can you tell us about how well that's been happening because you guys see all kinds of metrics.
Is it kinda of fractious out there, kinda of chaotic or is it has it's been managed pretty well.
A lot of teachers all night had to do a paradigm shift where they were used to doing either in person learning or blended learning where they had link leveraging technology for some online learning, but there was still another classroom had to really make it.
The shift or night to go full distance learning when the crisis happened.
We had 10 million students on our platform who are doing distance learning actively every day and a lot of these teachers, hundreds and thousands of teachers, really went over and beyond and kind of creating that instruction in the classroom and trying to replicate that in an online.
And as you can imagine this tricks who were very prepared who have been doing for years in the old platform They were very successful, they were able to continue to have 92% engagement in their classrooms.
But a lot of districts who actually had to overnight scramble, just like anything else.
If you're trying to do overnight scramble, you may not get that and we got only for 50 percent option for those districts who had actually done overnight to try to move into the distance learning.
Clearly not every teacher out there is.
Teaching with a great mastery of technology.
Not everyone in our population has a great mastery of tech.
So, how do a whole bunch of those teachers out there who might be experts and passionate about history or literature or something else Suddenly become experts in online learning.
That seems like a big awkward shift for a lot of them.
One of the beauty of us education is that we don't believe in a cookie cutter education.
We really empower every child.
We empower teachers to kind of truly teach, get instruction in a way that best fit their style, their pedagogy, their ability to connect with that student with the coming from different communities.
What we saw was tremendous.
Just in a COVID in a seven week time period after COVID we saw 1 trillion learning engagement happening in our platform 400% increase in a seven week prior year.
How do you define learning engagements?
What is that?
That's basically a great question is like a student taking a an instruction or online course attending a conference where the teacher is teaching.
Submitting an assignment where they're parsed.
Okay, so it's pretty nuggety stuff then you're breaking it down to relatively specific nuggets, not like a term.
We're trying to figure it out is how we keeping the learning engagement going, right?
That's all the things which happened physically in the classroom.
You can see a teacher can engage.
Now how do you see that in an online world?
Tell me about the ethic for online learning.
In terms of is the goal to try and as faithfully as possible recreate what the classroom experience was like, certainly during this upset, or is it to say no we can't do that this is different and here's how to do it really well.
There was a lot of quality talk track is that the full online or distance learning did not work.
And absolutely, if you think about it, if you're trying to go overnight, a full distance learning on anything, right?
On any technology rollout or any model fair, you're changing the whole model.
It doesn't work overnight.
So that's absolutely the case.
Our tools and what we've been working with district is not to replace the physical And traction in the classroom is to how do you augment and empower the teachers and the students better.
Think about a teacher in a public school district who has 25 to 30 kids in a classroom might be teaching four or five sections of 150 kids.
Meet\g 40% of the teachers time is going an administrative task.
ArRound, which can be automated, which can be digitized so that they can spend more time teaching with the chalk.
Yeah, that's a high overhead of housekeeping.
I mean, most businesses that I know of like to say.
Look, no more than 15% of our employee time should be spent on that kind of stuff.On the plumbing.
And 85% should be stuff that is output for our customers.
Think about [UNKNOWN] has been a [UNKNOWN] of that digital adoption, right?
Most of the industries have gone through a digital transformation and I've seen huge benefits.
In k 12, both from a lack of availability of technology and accuracy and access into all the communities that has been one of the challenges we've been working with districts in solving that by getting these platforms which can augment the teacher augment the students so we can personalise education.
So we can empower the teacher better give time back on their hand.
So they can focus on more than instruction.
In a POS code word, they literally have to kind of shift overnight in to this word where not everything is online.
We are going towards in the fall is the where we're trying to figure it out that there is a balance that we could do with the hybrid but longer term we don't there is no substitute the actual class interactions.
Our goal what we're working with the district is we want to make sure that in this crisis, the learning and continue, but also give them a strategic tool that gives them an ongoing advantage to help them.
So think about this as a little bit of a silver lining in this crisis is that it's putting a bright shining light onto that digital gap in K 12.
And this is an opportunity for us to address that.
A great example of data point female students actually saw an engagement increase than their male counterparts.
So an online its structure is actually helping some of the innovations.
And this could be a way to address some of the gap we see and the female students.
And other data point for is like the micro politan districts Submarines, they actually saw 8,000% increase in the learning engagement.
Compare that to rural and certain urban big Metro polls, they actually saw a big drop.
So if done right, and if we can address that Korean access issues, you could actually see these two.
Tools really helping districts and students.
So this is what's interesting.
I've been talking to a lot of people about remote work, which is kind of the sibling to remote education.
And there's this lingering sorta a prejudice that remote work isn't real work.
I think a lot of parents may think okay, my kids are going to school now remotely or in the future, maybe partly remotely for a long time.
And that's not real school, but it's good enough it stopped gap.
What do you say about that old baggage around remote education?
Yeah, I think it's there's definitely some truth to the fact that again as going back you cannot replace the physical, the actual instructions in the classroom.
You know, I'm [UNKNOWN] a father of three child, I fully, you know, the engagement, the social interaction school is more than just that achievement.
Is the social infrastructure.
It's the entire aspect, and you look at the kids.
You are coming from social economic gaps.
There are even bigger benefits, whether it's meals, whether it's the support infrastructure if you're a special need kids accommodations.
Our schools provide a variety of the entire whole child support.
That is more than just an online interaction on an actual learning There is no replacement to that.
And we do need our schools to continue doing that.
The challenges on this is that we do know there is a crisis on hand, and we don't know there might be even future crisis.
And we also do know that there was already to begin with the learning crisis that we have shortage of teachers.
Our teachers are having to spend so much time on an unproductive task, and how do we continue to provide the solutions to address that?
So we were already coming from a learning crisis, and this COVID has further exposed and created an even bigger learning gap.
We need technology to augment the teachers In the short term to help make sure the learning can continue into the fall into the next year.
But even give this as a strategic advantage that we can use this as an impetus to create the digital transformation of our classrooms needs that take the district management of schools need so we can really move to the to Nirvana where Teachers are empowered and students are empowered where we are able to personalize that every child.
This is what personal mission is that every child can get the best instruction to fulfill their full potential.
Now you can control for your platform, what it offers.
I think you can control pretty well for how schools use it because I'm sure you're tightly involved with them and they have Resources.
What do you do for that wild variation of kids in some districts who have all kinds of technology infrastructure and those that have almost none?
What can your platform do to adapt to the kid who's sitting on a 10 year old laptop With a bargain basement broadband plan that is barely able to stream a video, it's exposing the fact that one out of six job in North America didn't have access to internet right now.
To be able to do that effective learning, and many more who did not have access to the right laptops or one on one devices to support their education.
So the court x equity and access issue and that's just costs more than the broadband and the devices It goes to even the socio-economic aspects of the environment for the child as well.
So we do have a bigger problem.
This problem is a, that's why we've been talking about a learning crisis that's been an ongoing issue.
And this has even made it more broader and visible.
We do need to address that it is going to take not just the government, the cares funding is helping a lot of the states and governors who are putting it as a priority to address that.
The districts who are putting emphasis on it, but it's going to take even a private public partnership.
To help solve this because this is a big problem, this is not something unique and necessity taken out completely overnight.
Do you see anything in partnerships like that goes beyond and these are great initiatives but a lot of times they are donating laptops donating broadband and donating initial IT support to get it running.
But, that's different than ongoing savvy.
Which these companies also have.
Is there a way for these companies with so much good thinking in them to contribute ongoing savvy to the picture.
Not just drop off and I'm not denigrating them, but not just drop off a ton of laptops and activate a bunch of broadband accounts.
To address the both the equity aspect.
We do need to look at this as a more holistic aspect of a community providing an support to the districts.
There are proven studies again we have seen in our customer base when you have a community engaged On creating better encouragement within the classroom for even things like point to get an ice cream if you are bringing a classroom participation from a local stuff, it has directly translated to better achievement directly translates to a better attendance directly translate to less dropout of students and go and more students going to the college.
So these community engagements even at a very basic level.
Can have strong results.
You take that to Career and College Readiness.
Where a lot of businesses can help.
You take that to the whole child support in terms of providing the right intervention to the families, not just to the students who are also struggling in this crisis.
We definitely can do a POC.
So this is to your point.
There is an Immediate need effect access issue, right to make sure that learning and continue, but there is needs to be continuous broader partnership with the community.
Yes, you believe going forward the very definition of what a school provides might get broader, triggered by the learning and let's face it, the freedom that a crisis often brings.
We all start thinking differently.
We think of schools as a place where the kid goes to get Classes, physical education, sports and very commonly meals.
But I think you see even more being administered by schools.
Tell us about that vision.
You might have heard about a lot of the states kind of cancelled their high stakes testing.
So what it has done is that it has put a little bit more focus On to the formative assessment aspects which is more understanding in real time basis how the child is doing, rather than, like an end of the year, an assessment.
It was also put more focused on how the kids are doing the social emotional well being, their interaction, and the support infrastructure they get.
From the school from that, so sometime it takes a crisis to kind of really have a wake up call that the focus is on the whole child.
And again, kudos to our districts.
This has been an ongoing dialogue and debate in the education sector, that how we do need to move from just looking at a grid into the whole child We need to look at a different pedagogic not just looking at, but even project based learning and other areas which really are more effective.
And what we're seeing is that the districts are realizing during this time, which they had to do because of the crisis, they have to kind of start looking at the whole child.
There are definitely more adoption of understanding through analytics and getting that view.
So one of the things we're working very close with our district is not just the platform where the learning can happen, but actually giving them real time analytics to say where are the adoption gap?
Where are the equity gaps, where the kids haven't been logging in?
Where the kids have not spent enough time?
Where are the engagement gaps?
And then where are the achievement gaps and where the whole child gaps, so you're really understanding the full aspects of it.
I know you clearly have a lot of districts and a lot of teachers that have embraced your platform, but you also must run into a fair number.
That push back that say, That's not education, that's tech, that's analytics.
Just listen to all the buzzwords You just using the last couple sentences, correct accurate but I think a lot of teachers must push back at that to some degree.
How do you bring them along?>> In some cases and may treat quite a lot.
Technology also has created that fragmentation and overhead We' re one of the surveys we did or teachers, a teacher was logging into 19 different tools to do assignments and their quizzes and they're online, they're, you know, taking attendance in here doing their own instruction there.
Nowonder they would hate technology.
I mean they just made their job harder.
Because that fragmentation actually has created more overhead for them.
So part of our goal, this is our mission.
And what we've done over the last five years is that we brought 10 different platforms to kind of unify and one of their missions have been is that we've taken the best technologies in the education sector and combine and become together as our school and really solving it in a unified way.
We can be their backbone, we can be their hub.
So that really makes their job easier.
But the biggest focus is how do we give more time back to them, so that teachers can actually spend more time teaching.
That's why they're in the profession.
It also improves the quality of life so we can actually retain more teachers and we can attract more teachers to the profession.
So the big part of our focus is really actually exactly to your point.
To make the change management for teachers actually help them solve that not just through another technology, another website another app onto the onto the lap hardeep galati is CEO of power school.