Press Release — Saga EducationOctober 27, 2020
High-Impact Tutoring Program Adds Online Tutoring Platform to Scale Program Nationally in Response to Learning Loss Crisis
With support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Walton Family Foundation, and Comcast NBCUniversal, Saga Education adds innovative software company, Woot Math to serve thousands more students
BOSTON, Oct. 27, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Saga Education, a nonprofit that provides consistent, personalized, in-school-day math tutoring and mentoring, today announced the acquisition of Woot Math, a suite of tools for math instruction both in-person and online. Woot Math provides research-backed software for K-12 math instruction and more recently developed a novel platform for online tutoring.
According to recent research by the American Enterprise Institute, high-poverty school districts lost, on average, four full weeks of instruction during the Spring 2020 semester due to COVID-19 school closures. Even before pandemic school closures, research found that many students arrive at high school three or more years behind grade level, especially in math – a key barrier to graduation.
“With the COVID-19 pandemic and school closures, millions of students started this school year behind. To address COVID-19 learning loss, which disproportionately affects historically underserved students, schools and districts need to provide high-dosage, individualized tutoring,” said Alan Safran, president and co-founder of Saga Education. “The bold and innovative technology coming out of Woot Math is a great addition to helping Saga accelerate our efforts to scale the program by making it more affordable, more accessible.” Woot Math’s innovation in digital interfaces for mathematics, formative assessment, adaptive learning, and peer-to-peer based learning has been widely recognized and funded by the NSF, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
With this acquisition, Saga Education intends to make their best-in-class tutoring technology broadly available to other tutoring organizations and school districts, and to make Woot Math’s classroom solutions available at a reduced cost to teachers and school districts.
“We could not be more excited or proud to join Saga Education. When Alan and Antonio first contacted me to see if we would be interested, we immediately saw the tremendous opportunity it would be to join forces,” said Krista Marks, CEO and co-founder of Woot Math. “The platform was designed specifically for effective and engaging remote instruction of mathematics. Working with Saga gave us a terrific chance to see first hand how we are stronger together in our efforts to help young people succeed.”
Marks joins the Saga Education organization as the chief product officer and in this role will lead a new initiative to develop online technology in the support of math instruction by tutors and teachers.
The acquisition marks a further expansion of the two organizations’ ongoing collaboration. In 2019, with funding by the College Board, Saga and Woot Math co-developed an online platform for use in a study supporting youth from under-resourced communities.
“Woot Math’s technology is so impressive, and we are excited to get it into the hands of not only our network of districts, schools and Fellows, but also other organizations that are interested in implementing the Saga model themselves” said Antonio Gutierrez, chief of marketing and communications and co-founder of Saga Education.
“The work Saga does has never been more critical and we are thrilled to partner with them to bring their world-class tutoring online, and to expand the reach and impact of their education initiatives,” said Dalila Wilson-Scott, Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer at Comcast. “Advancing digital equity has been core to our company’s DNA for more than a decade and is an issue we recommitted to this year with our $100 million pledge to advance social justice and equality. Transformative programs like Saga’s help to close opportunity gaps, ensuring that everyone – regardless of income, race, gender or background – has the opportunity to build a brighter future.”
Saga Education is well known for its in-school tutoring program for historically underserved youth. Its evidence-based, personalized tutoring model within the regular school day has shown to deliver up to two and a half years of extra learning in one year.
Founded in 2013 by a team passionate about education, Woot Math provides software solutions that help increase students’ confidence, deepen their conceptual understanding, and bring joy to the math classroom. Following the acquisition, Woot Math’s team of 12 will join Saga Education and continue operating out of their Boulder, Colorado office.
Marks says “We are tremendously excited about this opportunity to bring our online tools to Saga’s network, and are grateful to the Foundry Group and our Angel Investors, for believing in us and supporting our commitment to helping students have the math foundation they need to achieve their dreams.”
About Saga Education Saga Education is an evidence-based, personalized tutoring intervention designed to support students struggling with math, to give them the confidence and academic strength to graduate high school and pursue their dreams. In 2020, the organization was named to Fast Company’s prestigious list of the World’s Most Innovative Educational Companies, recognized for its evidence-based, scalable tutoring model which serves students in high-need schools. Learn more at sagaeducation.org and @sagaeducation. AJ Gutierrez and Alan Safran founded the nonprofit in October 2014, and now have 300 employees serving more than 4,600 students in four states.
About Woot Math Woot Math provides solutions to help ensure all students are algebra-ready. The areas that keep students from succeeding in math are finite and well understood. Woot Math helps address these areas through its proprietary technology platform tuned for web and mobile. It empowers teachers and tutors to reach all students and to do so by leveraging the best research-based content in collaborative, interactive instruction and personalized learning. Learn more at wootmath.com and @wootmath.