Dreambox Acquired: More Blended Charters Coming

Reed Hastings and CSGF acquired Dreambox, a K-12 adaptive math platform, with the intention of creating more scalable and sustainable charter networks. Reed, a KIPP board member, has been on this war path for a year.
Rocketship, a high-performing elementary charter network in San Jose, uses online learning to stretch the day/year, improve performance, and drop a sufficient margin to at least partially fund growth.
Here’s a note from John Danner of Rocketship, with the news:

“Rocketeers, great news today. Reed Hastings and the Charter School Growth Fund have acquired Dreambox, a great adaptive learning engine company. I will be joining their board.
As you know, Rocketship pioneered the hybrid school, combining online instruction in our Learning Lab with traditional classroom instruction. Rocketship’s hybrid model saves $500K each year in reduced teacher salaries, because Learning Lab does not require certified teacher for instructors.
The technology we use in learning lab is critical for individualizing instruction for students, especially our most at-risk students who may need skills taught several grade levels earlier. As the country goes through significant cutbacks in education funding, many schools are beginning to convert to hybrid both to save money and individualize instruction.
The quality of online curricula is much more important to hybrid schools, because we expect significant gains from students online. Our goal over the next 2 years is to see .25 years of gain for each student each year for the 2 hours that students spend in Learning Lab.
The bigger vision is that the majority of our basic skills instruction will move online, freeing our teachers to spend more classroom time teaching students how to think. We’re excited to get started!”

The acquisition is also the latest entrant into the next gen learning platform space. Other examples include Wireless Gen’s services around FreeReading.net and Time to Know’s next gen LMS. Next gen platforms will combine adaptive content, social learning (like Edmodo, a RevLearning company), and related student/teacher/school services.

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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