I was recently asked a very straight-forward question, “How do I return my school to normal as fast as possible?” My answer may surprise you.
The answer is anything but straight-forward. I don’t believe we should return our schools back to normal as soon as possible. And perhaps, we shouldn’t return them to normal at all. The COVID-19 pandemic was a seismic event in the world of education, shaking us to our very core. When delivering academic and social-emotional services to our children, it forced schools to dig deep, to be more inventive than we had ever been. More imaginative. More resourceful. More ingenious.
In the education biz, it is easy to become a creature of habit. And how much simpler it would seem just to roll back into our time-tested, comfortable world of “normal.” But rather than searching for comfort, leadership should be asking, “How can we make bold changes at this inflection point to ensure that our school is moving forward and is better than it ever was before?”
For many of us, 2020/2021 was the most challenging school year of our lives. For teachers. For administrators. For parents and students as well. We were all thrown a completely new set of circumstances with very few rules and asked to figure it out. And then, almost as if by magic, we all seemed to grasp the same two words in unison.
Of course, it helped tremendously that we were working with some very smart people. Our teachers and administrators immediately rolled up their sleeves, went to work and figured it out. Through the benefit of their hard work, their creativity, their love of the profession and their love of the children, they asked the two magic words and began to move us forward.
I have never seen a group of people work harder or smarter. Through a lot of late nights and a lot of crazy questions and even crazier answers, our nation of educators moved forward, often throwing out 150 years of precedent to find new answers based on methods that had never before been tried. It wasn’t always pretty. But it was beautiful.
McGraw Hill announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Achieve3000, a recognized leader in differentiated instruction and learning acceleration for PreK-12 students in all 50 states and 49 countries.
Financial terms were not disclosed. The transaction is expected to be completed in approximately 60 days, subject to customary closing conditions.
Based in Red Bank, NJ, and founded more than 20 years ago, Achieve3000 delivers a comprehensive learning platform that significantly accelerates and deepens learning in literacy, math, science, social studies, and English language arts. Teachers in every subject and all 50 states rely on Achieve3000’s solutions to promote equity, increase engagement, and accelerate learning in their classes.
McGraw Hill is a portfolio company of Platinum Equity. Achieve3000 is McGraw Hill’s first add-on acquisition since Platinum Equity acquired the company in July 2021.
Simon Allen, CEO of McGraw Hill, said: “This is a great opportunity to further complement our core products in PreK-12 with supplemental and intervention solutions to help students of all ages and abilities, which has become even more important since the pandemic. With this acquisition, we will offer a wider array of outstanding digital learning materials that serve teachers, engage students and drive better learning outcomes.”
Sean Ryan, president of McGraw Hill’s School Group, said: “Achieve3000 and McGraw Hill are a natural fit. The combination of our people and our products will provide more effective and compelling support for classroom teachers.”
Stuart Udell, CEO of Achieve3000, said: ”Both organizations already share a common mission of accelerating learning for all students. By joining forces with McGraw Hill, we foresee a tremendous opportunity to expand our reach and jointly deliver a powerful learning experience to students, whether in a classroom, at home, or in a hybrid environment.”
Jacob Kotzubei, Partner at Platinum Equity, said: “The need for supplemental curriculum solutions is greater than ever as our educational system continues to grapple with the impact of the pandemic. The addition of Achieve3000 will further strengthen McGraw Hill’s ability to serve students, educators and administrators around the world.”
Luke Myers, managing director at Platinum Equity, said: “We are making good on our pledge to help McGraw Hill accelerate its digital transformation, which is especially important in the K-12 segment. Achieve3000 is tightly aligned with McGraw Hill’s strategic priorities, and its scale, track record and suite of digital solutions make it an ideal fit.”
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP is serving as legal advisor to Platinum Equity and McGraw Hill on the acquisition of Achieve3000 and Willkie Farr is providing financing counsel on the transaction. BofA Securities is the lead underwriter for the debt financing. Macquarie Capital is serving as financial advisor to Achieve3000.