In what may be a plan to regain loss ground in the education market, Apple has announced plans to buy privately-held PowerSchool, a provider of Web-based student information systems for K-12 schools and school districts.
The PowerSchool student information system has been selected by 2,000 schools nationwide. Apple will acquire PowerSchool for US$62 million in Apple stock. PowerSchool, located in Folsom, California currently has 160 employees.
“Apple has a legacy of helping teachers teach and students learn. We are now expanding that mission to include helping schools run more effectively,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO, in a statement. “By acquiring PowerSchool and welcoming its talented employees to Apple, we instantly become the leading provider of web-based student information systems nationwide.”
PowerSchool is a completely Web-based student information system that enables districts and schools to record, access, report and manage their student data and performance records in real-time. Parents, students, teachers and administrators use the system to share information about grades, attendance records, and homework assignments.
PowerSchool handles attendance, report cards and transcripts — all the nuts and bolts of an educational information system. It’s entirely browser based, is build on modern technologies, and is scalable. The product is designed to simplify online management information by working in real-time, offering an integrated service, and giving one URL and one e-mail address. Individual login screens can be established for students, parents, teachers and administrators.
With PowerSchool, teachers can enter grades and attendance information, post homework assignments, map learning activities to standards and monitor individual student progress or that of an entire class.
Administrators can use the system to centrally manage student records, eliminate manual data transfer, and automate many administrative functions, including the creation of state reports, report cards, transcripts, absentee lists and progress reports.
Parents can use the system with any home or office computer to check on their child’s grades, attendance records and home assignments in real-time. And they can elect to receive automatic updates of their children’s progress.
Apple’s WebObjects — the number one application platform for building Web server applications for the Web — provides the programming basis for PowerSchool’s application, giving it its scalability and reliability.