Welcoming Ellevation to the NewSchools Portfolio

January 23, 2013

NewSchools Venture Fund is pleased to welcome Ellevation Education to our portfolio!

Ellevation provides a set of tools for teachers and administrators who work with English language learners (ELLs). It saves time and simplifies compliance requirements, so that educators can focus on their most important task—helping ELL students to succeed. Here are just three of the many reasons we are excited about Ellevation:

1) English language learners are a rapidly growing student demographic historically underserved in the United States.

According to 2011 NAEP test results, just 7% of ELL 4th-grade students and 3% of ELL 8th-grade students nationwide were proficient in reading. The NAEP, which is also known as the “Nation’s Report Card,” showed a significant achievement gap between ELLs and their non-ELL peers, who were between 3 and 10 times more likely to score proficient or above.

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

ELL students have scored below their non-ELL peers for years. The results shown here are similar to those found in a 2007 study by the Pew Research Hispanic Center, in which less than 10% of ELL students were proficient in 4th-grade reading and 8th-grade reading and math. Research also indicates that ELL students tend to go to schools that generally have lower standardized test scores.

ELLs constitute the fastest-growing student demographic in America. In 1995, ELL students made up just over 6% of the entire US student population. They now make more than 10% of the total, with more than 5 million ELL students enrolled in grades K-12 nationwide. In some states, the number of ELL students is doubling on a yearly basis. This rapid growth increases the strain on ELL educators, who are hard-pressed to balance the personalized attention that their students deserve with the complex reporting requirements that accompany ELL education. Managing ever-complexifying problems with increasingly primitive tools becomes less practical by the day. ELL teachers absolutely need smarter solutions.

2) Ellevation’s expertise saves significant time for teachers and administrators.

Ellevation is designed by ELL professionals to meet the needs of ELL professionals. The folks at Ellevation understand how to navigate the intricate reporting requirements that ELL educators face. A District ELL administrator commented that the Ellevation team “speaks my language,” and that they “knew the issues I was facing even before I started talking.” Ellevation’s parent letter feature, which is able to generate parent letters in 20 different languages, saved one school district more than 280 teacher-hours in a single year. According to another user, reports that once took a week to create take one-fifth the time with Ellevation.

3) Welcoming Jordan Meranus back into the NewSchools family.

Last but not least, we are excited to welcome Jordan Meranus back into the NewSchools family. This past year, Jordan left NewSchools after eight years of service, most recently as a Partner. He now rejoins the NewSchools as part of our portfolio, along with co-founder Teddy Rice and the rest of the Ellevation team.

            Jordan Meranus                                     Teddy Rice

We believe Ellevation has an important role to play in improving outcomes for ELLs as an increasing number of schools and districts aspire to serve these students better. With Jordan and Teddy at the helm, Ellevation has the talent and know-how to make a sincere impact. ELL students deserve a great education. Ellevation can get them one step closer.