• Featured Article

    Customer Story: Crystal Lake Middle School

    written December 7, 2015 by Nikki Alvarez

Parent Engagement Leads to Successful Students and Schools

Over the past decade (thanks in large part to the Harvard Family Research Project) schools and districts have known about the definitive link between parent engagement and student academic success, and have made great strides towards creating more involved family partnerships. But research also provides evidence that parent engagement reaches beyond student academic achievement—it also contributes to the success of the school at large. This Gallup article finds that truly engaged parents have a vested interest in the success of their childs’ school: Engaged parents do more than participate in school or classroom-related activities, such as attending a parent-teacher conference or asking their child about their day at school. Engaged parents experience a strong feeling of pride for the school and serve as the...

written January 28, 2016 by Nikki Alvarez

Building a School Community Beyond the Academics

There is no denying that a positive, engaged student body is one goal of educators and administrators. But sometimes, achieving that outcome is daunting—and difficult. One administrator, Habeeb Quardri, was highlighted in EdWeek for the way in which he is engaging with and creating a better, more holistic environment for his students. Mr. Quardri is the Principal at the Muslim Community Center Academy in Morton Grove and Skokie, Illinios. When he first became principal, he interviewed graduating 8th graders to get a sense of the existing school culture and morale. What he realized is that most of them “couldn’t wait to graduate!” His takeaway was this: “They were bored by what the school offered beyond the academic curriculum. They felt disconnected from the staff...

written January 27, 2016 by Nikki Alvarez

Looking Forward to 2016

HAPPY NEW YEAR, HEROES! I’m writing during my return flight from the Hero 2016 Kick-Off meeting in Miami. Sure, I am a little tired, and would like to watch this movie “The Martian” that’s playing … but I’m flush with excitement about the New Year at Hero K12. Once a year we bring all of our employees from all over the country to our Miami Headquarters to celebrate our accomplishments, and share plans for the year ahead. This year, we had a lot to celebrate and took some time to do so. We also spent a lot of time on how we can maintain our rigorous focus on customer success as we continue to grow as a company. To put it in perspective, 50%...

written January 26, 2016 by Mark MacDonald

Customer Story: Crystal Lake Middle School

HOW ONE SCHOOL REDUCED THEIR SUSPENSIONS BY 80% WITH RTI, PBIS, AND HERO Sabine Phillips became an educator rather serendipitously. She went to college to become a medical doctor, but—like many prospective doctors before and since—she was permanently dissuaded by organic chemistry. She graduated instead with a degree in English, and returned to her hometown in Miami-Dade, began substitute teaching, and fell in love. She was about to start working as a teacher full-time when another wrench was thrown in her professional trajectory; Hurricane Andrew. The storm was devastating to South Florida, and caused a hiring freeze that forced Sabine to look to neighboring Broward County for work. She has been there ever since, and is currently the principal of Crystal Lake Middle School,...

written December 7, 2015 by Nikki Alvarez

K12 PBIS Efforts Supported by Higher ED

For years, we have been working with schools and districts on their PBIS program rollouts. These movements, rooted in psychology have been initiated by dedicated teams in the schools and have shown to have a positive effect on student behavioral outcomes. Students who are recognized in a positive way vs. being constantly disciplined for the things they do wrong makes for a very positive school culture and campus. This year the pendulum shifted and the nation now seems to be focusing on discipline policy reform (example 1, example 2, example 3, and many more), shifting away from the reactive aspects of school discipline to a program that teaches students appropriate behaviors and recognizes them for mastering these skills. An example near and dear to...

written November 25, 2015 by Bryan Landaburu

Sharing of Student Data Still Important, Still Case by Case

The power of integrated data systems is without question, but it’s certainly a “Spider-Man” conundrum—with great power, comes great responsibility. Big data in education is slowly becoming democratized, with smaller organizations and agencies having the motivation and wherewithal to move towards harnessing data to improve their programs and systems. These integrated data systems will have a tremendous impact—unifying data from different areas has the potential to create life-changing interventions and inspire programming that will provide more support to the most vulnerable students. Take, for example, Allegheny County, in southwestern Pennsylvania. After learning that 14,450 Pittsburgh public school students—more than half the district—had been involved in county human-services programs, officials there have worked to analyze the experiences of homeless students and children in foster care....

written November 23, 2015 by Corey Shelton

Testimonials

  • "The system does exactly what it's supposed to do. It will reduce your tardies by at least 50%. September 12 is the first day implemented - we had 138 tardies that day. By November 20, we were averaging down to 8 to 9 tardies. It works."

    Walter Camper

    McClellan High School, Little Rock, AR

  • "Before, we had kids just standing in the hallways refusing to go to the class, just doing what they want to do. But after [Hero], and they saw us with the system, we had kids rushing, running to class!"

    Dewayne Boone

    Henderson Middle School, Little Rock, AR

  • "It has helped us decrease our tardies to where we'd have maybe a 100 kids per period, we're down to maybe 20. The kids know that it gets downloaded so fast, the reprimand is very quick. It's helped us clear the hallways and get our discipline under control, and get them into class where they need to be to study and move forward."

    Luis Gonzalez

    Hall High School, Little Rock, AR

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PlascoTrac is now Hero K12

For over a decade our company has evolved and so has the world of education. EdTech companies are working with schools and districts nationwide to improve student outcomes at all levels. This evolution requires companies operating in this market to become more and more focused, nimble, and dedicated. When we launched the new Hero product in January 2014, we found the name resonated. Hero became far more than a product. Hero became what we live, every day. Our customers, partners, and everyone we’ve met along the way have responded so well to the Hero brand, it’s humbling. To support our commitment to our current and future customers, we are building a new organization to focus solely on K-12 education. Effective November 1, 2014, we are known simply as Hero K12. And we couldn’t be more excited for the future.

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