PowerSchool’s Latest Acquisition Aims to Help Districts Connect the Data Dots

Oct 29, 2020

With student information and learning management systems, along with online software for enrollment, assessments, grades, payroll and finances, there are few areas of the K-12 education technology market that PowerSchool doesn’t have a hand in. Its website lists more than two dozen distinct products.

Now, the Folsom, Calf.-based company is adding more tools that it says can bring much of the data from those offerings in one place, at a time when district leaders need more visibility into how students are faring—especially those learning remotely.

PowerSchool announced today that it has acquired Hoonuit, a provider of data management and analytics software used by K-12 schools, districts and state education agencies that serve more than 14.5 million U.S. students.

A driving factor behind the deal, according to PowerSchool CEO Hardeep Gulati, is to bridge the information collected across PowerSchool’s products to provide school leaders with more insights about student achievement and engagement, and identify those who may need intervention to get back on track.

With a reach of over 13,000 school districts across the U.S., PowerSchool is one of the biggest education technology companies in the country. Long known for its student information system (SIS), the company has acquired nearly a dozen other education software providers to expand its suite. Its last purchase brought Schoology, a popular learning management system used in K-12 districts, into the fold.

“As we have all these different tools and systems, we wanted to make sure that we can gather and share more valuable insights for our districts,” says Gulati.

PowerSchool already has analytics capabilities—some of which it has also purchased. In 2016, it bought Interactive Achievement, a set of assessment and reporting tools. That was followed by another deal two years later that brought Performance Matters, another assessment analytics service, under its umbrella. The goal of these purchases, the company said at the time, was to help educators better connect the dots between formative assessment results and students’ educational outcomes.

“While we already have assessment analytics, what we’re seeing is a need to provide a more holistic view of and see how other areas related student achievement—attendance, behavior, social-emotional data, enrollment, accountability standards—all come together,” says Gulati.

Pronounced “who knew it,” Hoonuit provides reporting, data analytics, warehousing and visualization tools for schools, districts and education agencies at the county and state level. These services entail ingesting data from various software used by schools and displaying that information on a dashboard that can surface actionable insights for district leaders and education officials.

Recently, the Minneapolis-based company has also developed an acquisitive appetite of its own, acquiring three companies—all competing providers of data services—to expand its footprint in the market. Today, Hoonuit claims its tools are used in K-12 institutions serving more than 14.5 million students, and has 12 state and territory-wide deployments including in Indiana, Louisiana and Texas.

One of the features offered by Hoonuit—which Gulati is excited to have—is predictive analytics that can identify which students may need more support based on data about their attendance, behavior and engagement. This is especially timely now, he says, as remote learning has often made it difficult for school officials to stay in touch with students.

Gulati declined to disclose financial details of the transaction, only offering that Hoonuit’s team of roughly 100 employees will join Powerschool’s staff of 2,500.

Across all its services, PowerSchool claims it reaches over 45 million students across more than 80 countries. And, according to Gulati, the company is currently making more than $400 million in annual revenue.


Other news