In 2004, Mark Gross was a freshly-minted Social Studies teacher in small learning community in San Jose, struggling to find the best way to keep his students in school and on track. His 20-year career in publishing, capped by a massive success during the Internet boom, didn’t prepare him for the realities of the classroom—but it did give him a sense of how much better everything works when people are informed and can work together toward a common purpose. As a teacher, Mark’s purpose was ensuring that students didn’t fall through the cracks.
Bearing in mind that students must be responsible for their own success, Mark helped them help themselves by putting together a student-published daily newsletter and discussion group with the correct homework for each and every student. And, just in case a student needed some extra support, he also sent that newsletter to parents. Before long, every educator was on the same page, parents were consistently informed, and students were deeply invested in their own education.
The results were spectacular. Students were better equipped to learn and their classroom performance bore that out. Less burden fell on teachers, as they were able to spend less time on recovery and more time on teaching. At the end of his first year, Mark was given a $10,000 Internet Innovator award by National Semiconductor, which he gifted to his school and his students.
In the midst of this, though, the district decided that it could no longer support the small learning community at Mark’s school. It was a devastating blow, but it inspired Mark to take the tools he’d constructed and create a new type of software for K-12 schools—a tool designed to ensure that everyone was always in the loop. Together with co-founder Tom Burns, Mark created School Loop, a hosted system that allows entire districts to keep people informed, engaged, and able to intervene when it counts.
School Loop has grown steadily since its launch in the 2004. The system now serves 15% of California districts, including influential districts such as San Francisco Unified, Long Beach Unified, and Los Angeles Unified. More than 3,500 schools (and growing!) now use School Loop’s services in 30 states across the nation. And we’re just getting started.
In 2004, Mark Gross was a freshly-minted Social Studies teacher in small learning community in San Jose, struggling to find the best way to keep his students in school and on track. His 20-year career in publishing, capped by a massive success…