Great teachers are key when it comes to nurturing students and improving academic performance, but what about nurturing for the teachers?
Palo Alto-based BloomBoard is providing professional online services for teachers, taking the concept of differentiated instruction—offering students a variety of ways to learn—and applying it to professional teacher development.
The company has opened an East Coast office in Shadyside as part of its expansion plans for the East Coast. While it employs 10 full-time and 10 interns, BloomBoard plans to hire another 10 to 20 people this year including software engineers and account managers, says Tony Bellino, director of business development for BloomBoard.
“Pittsburgh is a city that’s growing and vibrant,” he says. “As a company that’s focused on education, it’s a great fit with the high caliber of talent in education here.”
Pittsburgh Public Schools are among the first who will benefit from BloomBoard’s online platform. The company also is partnering with Working Examples (WEx) at CMU’s Entertainment Technology Center, a community of researchers, designers and educators. WEx will share the latest tools and educational technologies they are developing with school districts through BloomBoard.
The online platform provides school districts with free observation and evaluation tools in accordance with federally mandated teacher and principal observations. School principals conduct formal teacher evaluations and record information from classroom observations, lessons plans and notes.
Once the evaluation is completed, teachers log in, receive their assessment and are able to build an individualized learning plan tailored to their needs through the professional development marketplace.
The company earns revenues from the large educational software providers—Scholastic, Pearson and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt—who provide the development content, says Bellino.
“Instead of teachers simply guessing, they can go into our marketplace and find customized help and see what other teachers are doing to grow as teachers,” Bellino says. “We provide the platform to streamline the process.”
While other companies provide software for evaluating teachers, we’re the only company that is customizing the professional result for teachers, he adds.