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BRANCHING MINDS

Core support to develop a web-based tool that identifies and responds to learning strengths and challenges

Branching Minds is a web application that combines learning science and technology to streamline, focus, and personalise intervention for struggling students. The Oak Foundation is investing in this promising new product to attract matching funds that would launch Branching Minds on a path toward scale and sustainability.

“Branching Minds’ innovative approach personalizes and individualizes effective intervention to meet the needs of every child.”

– Jill Gildea, superintendent of Fremont School District,
partner to Branching Minds

 

ABOUT THE ORGANISATION

 

Maya Gat, an educator for 17 years, left her teaching position in 2013 to develop a functional tool to help customize the learning experience. Her dream was to:

 

  • create individualized learner profiles based on the learning sciences and teacher observation,
  • map these learner profiles to personalised evidence-based instructional practices,
  • use research-based best practice recommendations to scaffold the planning process for teacher-teams,
  • help teachers monitor student progress and meet the documentation requirements to determine eligibility for additional supports for students with learning differences, and
  • improve the overall efficiency and effectiveness of districts Response to Intervention (RTI) systems that ensure struggling students receive supplemental instruction.

While she and her co-founder, David Magier, were originally supported by financing from friends and family, today, they have start-up funding of over $1.4 million, a strong core team and advisory board, a promising teacher-facing tool, and an updated intervention and accommodation database that includes the most recent work in cognition, motivation and learning behaviour from the learning sciences.

 

 

 

 

ABOUT THE OAK FUNDED  PROJECT

 

With funding from Oak, the Branching Minds team aims to further develop its tool to include parent, administrator and student portals to support collaboration across all stakeholders. They have sold 50,000 licenses to over 30 school districts across 14 states, and they continue to scale their sales and marketing work. Meanwhile, they are collecting efficacy data, and expanding the Branching Minds’ K-8 topics (math, reading, writing, speaking/listening and behaviour) to extend through high school.  Branching Minds’ hope is that its plans for continued product design, content development, and efficacy research will lead to expanded sales and increased usage, which will make its product more attractive to Series A investors (those who invest at the $500,000 level and up).

 

FACTS & FIGURES

 

  • 60-65% of American students are not meeting grade level expectations in reading and math in 4th and 8th grade

  • Response to Intervention (RTI) is in the top 3% of most impactful factors in improving outcomes for all students

  • 45% of teacher coaches surveyed from the New Teacher Center found Branching Minds to be “very helpful,” while 55% of them found Branching Minds to “essential in developing teacher capacity.

  • 98% of teachers surveyed at Oak Park School Elementary School District 79 in Illinois reported that Branching Minds had already improved, or would improve, their ability to support struggling students.

 

 

AWARD DETAILS

For information about this grant, please visit our Grant Database.

 

 

 

STRATEGIC PRIORITY AREA

1.  Strengthen teacher capacity

6. Explore learner profile

 

 

 

SPECIAL TOPIC COVERED

- Metacognition

- Universal Design for Learning

 

 

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Video

 

Article

 

In the media

 

CONNECT WITH US

 

Contact person for Oak LDP grant

Name: Maya Gat

Position: CEO, Founder

Email: Maya@branchingminds.com

 

 

Website & social media links

Organisational video

QUESTIONS & ANSWERS /

What have you accomplished through your Oak-funded programme that you’re most proud to share with your colleagues?

 

Support from the Oak Foundation has enabled us to build a teacher-facing tool that improves teachers’ effectiveness to support all learners, while increasing their efficiency—saving them time and effort in their intervention process (RTI).  What we are most proud of is that by improving this process for educators we have also been able to develop teachers’ mindset to support that there is a path to success for every learner.

Its school district customers serve 43,000 economically disadvantage students and 5,500 English language learners.

 

 

What’s the most interesting challenge your Oak-funded programme currently faces?

 

Initially the development of the Branching Minds tool was a marriage between the learning sciences, and teacher practice—our aim was to improve a teacher’s ability to understand the variability of a students’ learning profile and how to differentiate instruction to support their individualized needs.  Year two of our product development transitioned our focus to address workflow around Response to Intervention (RTI), a compliance-driven intervention system most districts have adopted nationwide but struggle to achieve.  Our tool now coordinates and streamlines the varying workflows across teams of teachers and administrators, to make this larger task of RTI (differentiation) easy. We are now incorporating families and students themselves into these workflows so that they can further collaborate with educators, to achieve an even more personalized level of education.

 

 

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Oak Foundation commits its resources to address issues of global, social and environmental concern, particularly those that have a major impact on the lives of the disadvantaged. With offices in Europe, Africa, India and North America, we make grants to organisations in approximately 40 countries worldwide.

 

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