Although our name and website are new, our first product – known to our current users as ESL Innovations – was developed in 2006 by an ELL coordinator in North Carolina named Carrie Hill. The inspiration for creating the product grew out of the frustration that many ELL professionals like her experience every day; namely, an overwhelming administrative burden that diverts significant attention away from student instruction. Now, having partnered with Carrie and her ESL Innovations team, Ellevation develops tools that can simplify administrative needs, save significant time, and enable educators to focus more on instruction so that ELL students can thrive in school and beyond.
Ellevation’s core application is a data management software tool that helps ELL Coordinators and teachers organize, share, and report all necessary data specific to ELLs. This alone represents a dramatic improvement for ELL programs, which struggle to “get by” with home-grown databases and poorly adapted SIS systems. But it is more than a repository of information. To the delight of our users, their student information becomes the basis for a suite of reports and analyses that help them communicate more effectively with administrators and classroom teachers, in a fraction of the time and without wasteful paperwork.
Our approach to the market is driven by a couple of fundamental beliefs:
- We respect our users. Our approach to product development is driven by what our users require and request. We follow our users, building tools that help them do their jobs more effectively. While this approach to our work might sound intuitive, we believe it makes us unique in a K-12 marketplace where the buyer is rarely the user, and where large systems companies build tools for the widest possible audience, instead of focusing on the needs of niche segments.
- We think of software as a service. We are a web-based, hosted solution that can serve any district program through any internet browser. Software improvements are constantly updated to reflect our user requirements, and former ELL coordinators and teachers comprise half of our staff. We take training and service seriously, and our users rely on our expertise.
- We are mission driven. Although we are not in the classroom anymore, the students and professionals we serve are the focus of our work. We are committed to helping narrow the huge achievement gap between ELL students and their middle class peers, and helping teachers make the most of the great assets that bilingual students bring to the classroom.
In the weeks and months ahead, please visit this blog to learn more about exciting developments at Ellevation, and participate in a conversation about English Language Learners with some of the leading experts in the field. You can also follow us on Twitter (@EllevationED) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/EllevationED).