Steve Navarre, CEO
The changing facets of today’s education industry demand school districts to be more proactive in using technology, not just in the classroom but also in the backend school administration processes. For decades, schools have been utilizing paper-based data collection methods to gather student information—a highly inefficient process. The information, however, was never accessed apart from auditor verification. Many schools realized these shortcomings and employed digitized student information systems to keep a constant tab on learner data, but the scope of the solution was limited to supervision purposes only. Plano, TX-based Project ELL was able to conceptualize a solution that extended beyond just record-keeping and basic compliance. The company used their student progress monitoring and compliance management system to drive better, insights-based classroom instructions.
“Our expertise lies in providing solutions for the English language learning (ELL) student population of school districts,” says Steve Navarre, CEO of Project ELL. The company realizes that imparting English language proficiency to non-native learners can be a challenging process. Additionally, teachers often lack the practical, research-based strategies needed to evaluate, and nurture ELL students. Project ELL’s solution aims to alleviate this functional setback. By providing real-time access to student data, it empowers teachers to decipher each student’s strengths and weaknesses, and create appropriate content for a personalized learning experience.
According to Navarre, gathering student data for compliance regulation has been a routine task for institutions. By leveraging that accountability data for the benefit of students and teachers in a classroom environment, “we endeavor to bring momentous change to how teachers teach student by proving the data needed to drive instruction,” asserts Navarre.
We endeavor to bring momentous change to how teachers teach student by proving the data needed to drive instruction
One of the biggest drivers behind the company’s ELL solution is its ability to customize the platform to the requirements of each school district. The platform also isolates databases for each district, thus ensuring highly-secure student data. What distinguishes the platform in the ELL solution market is its unique capacity to refine student data. The platform is placed on a layer (within a school district’s architecture) above the student information system, making it a “one-stop” repository for many traditionally-siloed student databases like assessment data, daily performance data, and student demographic information. It is the successful “knitting” of all the siloed information that helps Project ELL derive in-depth reports and insights.
“As data aggregates, we also have the ability to verify if there are any missing information pieces,” says Navarre. Explicating its relevance, he cites a scenario that Project ELL encountered while working with a school district in Texas. While assimilating the ELL student information, Project ELL found that records of 81 students (out of 1500 ELL students) were missing from the school district’s information systems. These students were not even tested for eligibility to be a part of ELL student group. Apart from providing better clarity on student data, Project ELL helped the school district achieve two things. “Firstly, they could discover and self-correct the issue before they were fined by the government and secondly, they were able to increase their state and federal funding by over $240,000 which they were previously missing out on because of inaccurate student data,” explains Navarre.
Navarre largely attributes their multi-faced management team as the ‘secret sauce’ behind the company’s success. Navarre has more than 25 years of experience in the technology sector while Mellony Deuel, Project ELL’s chief academic officer is a veteran in the education sector with strong influence in forecasting edtech trends and strategizing solutions. This perfect blend of technology and educational expertise within the company is what makes the company’s ELL solution truly “out-of-the-ordinary.” As a roadmap, Navarre reveals, “We wish to extend this success curve for student populations other than ELL learners in the forthcoming years.”