The Story Behind SchoolBzz

One School. One Community.

Our Vision

The number of people who can have an impact on a child’s learning journey is staggering. From educators to extended family, neighbors to coaches, even local professionals, there is no shortage of people who can make a contribution to the next generation. There is, however, a perceived shortage of opportunity. Simply put, most people don’t recognize how they can have an impact.

Parents often don’t realize that encouraging good habits is just as important as helping with homework. Neighbors often don’t realize that a curbside lemonade stand is actually teaching children to think like an entrepreneur. And local businesses often don’t realize that by offering students a glimpse of their operations they can help them see classroom lessons in action.

As a society we tend to downplay our role in the education process because we don’t realize the many ways we can have an impact. By engaging families, neighbors and local businesses, and positioning the school as a hub of information and activity for the community, schools can change that perception and realize new levels of support and collaboration.

Our founding team has spent years realizing this vision and SchoolBzz is the culmination of feedback from thousands of educators and parents who have connected with us along the way. Our venture into K12 education is without doubt, one of the most impactful and rewarding initiatives we have been fortunate to experience.

Some highlights of our SchoolBzz journey are below. To learn more about our team, visit our corporate website at Hive Digital Minds.

 

2020

SchoolBzz Joins Broadnet Channel Partner Program

New partnership brings virtual town hall services to K12 school districts to help keep all members of a school’s community connected and informed. Learn more about SchoolBzz Townhall.

 

Our Founder Recognized by Project W for her Efforts During COVID-19

Project W is a program supported by the team at Davis Wright Tremaine. It’s focused on helping women build great companies, advance their careers, and achieve parity in the workplace. This month they’ve been recognizing members with a special Founders on the Frontline promotion. Check it out!

 

SchoolBzz Partners with SchoolClosures.org

SchoolClosures.org was created in response to the global pandemic. With millions of families not digitally connected, we’ve helped them launch a national effort to put computers into the homes of students. If you are in a position to give, please join us by donating to our #GiveComputers GoFundMe Campaign.

 

SchoolBzz Launches Daily Newsletter for Parents

As parents, we recognized the challenge of balancing your work and home life as many schools around the country began to close. We launched SchoolBzz Daily to address some of the questions we were hearing and to share some helpful tips to help keep children engaged.

 

SchoolBzz Announces COVID-19 Response

With schools across the nation moving to a remote learning program, SchoolBzz saw usage of its parent app double almost overnight. As many schools scrambled to find ways to keep learning alive, our team unveiled a suite of services and promotions to assist our K12 school communities. Visit our SchoolBzz COVID Resources page.

 

SchoolBzz Alexa Launch – Cancelled

As we approached the much anticipated SXSW EDU conference, our team was excited to show off our new SchoolBzz Alexa skill, adding to our portfolio of solutions for parent engagement. Yet as we all know, events around the globe came to a grinding halt in March 2020 with the escalating health crisis, and schools across the country began to close. TechCrunch article – SXSW Cancelled.

 

SchoolBzz Alexa – Coming to SXSW Edu 2020!

“Hey Alexa, what’s today’s SchoolBzz?” SchoolBzz was selected to participate in the AWS Startup Village and we will be showcasing our new SchoolBzz Alexa skill at SXSW Edu!

 

2019

SchoolBzz Named as Alternate in Amazon Alexa EdTech Skills Challenge

https://alexasxswcontest.splashthat.com/

 

EdTech Startup Show Podcast – Interview with Jennifer Larson

https://edtechstartuppodcast.libsyn.com/jennifer-larson-ceo-of-hive-digital-minds-creator-of-schoolbzz

 

SchoolBzz Announces Amazon Translate Integration to Provide Multi-Language Support as featured by The Learning Counsel

https://thelearningcounsel.com/article/schoolbzz-announces-amazon-translate-integration-provide-multi-language-support

 

SchoolBzz Wins AWS EdStart Pitch Competition

October 2019 – San Francisco – AWS Loft

 

Why We Partnered with Schoology as featured in edCircuit

https://www.edcircuit.com/why-we-partnered-with-schoology/

 

SchoolBzz Named Learning Counsel App of the Week as featured by The Learning Counsel

https://thelearningcounsel.com/article/schoolbzz-cloud-based-communications-platform-streamlines-how-schools-share-information

 

SchoolBzz Podcast Interview with Jennifer Larson by TL Talk Radio

http://www.tltalkradio.org/season-6-episode-7-school-bzz-interview-iwth-jennifer-larson-podcast/

 

10 Strategies to Improve Parent Engagement as featured in Getting Smart

https://www.gettingsmart.com/2019/10/10-strategies-for-schools-to-improve-parent-engagement/

 

3 Ways to Improve Communication with Your Child’s Teacher as featured by National PTA Our Children

https://ptaourchildren.org/improve-communication-with-teachers/

 

SchoolBzz Named Best School Communication Tool by 2019 Tech Edvocate Awards edCircuit

https://www.edcircuit.com/schoolbzz-named-best-school-communication-tool-by-2019-tech-edvocate-awards/

 

Communicating to Create Happy Families – Jennifer Larson on the Transformative Principal Podcast by Jethro Jones.

https://www.transformativeprincipal.org/communicating-to-create-happy-families-with-jennifer-larson-transformative-principal-290/

 

Jennifer C. Larson, CEO of Hive Digital Minds – A DotCom Magazine Exclusive Interview DotCom Magazine

https://www.dotcommagazine.com/2019/07/jennifer-c-larson-ceo-of-hivedm-a-dotcom-magazine-exclusive-interview/

 

EduTechGuys Podcast with Jennifer Larson

https://soundcloud.com/edutechguys/s5e4-jennifer-larson-schoolbzz

 

SchoolBzz Partners with Schoology to Provide Integrated Parent Communication Solution as featured by The Learning Counsel

https://thelearningcounsel.com/article/schoolbzz-partners-schoology-provide-integrated-parent-communication-solution

 

SchoolBzz Showcased at LearnLaunch Summer Showcase

July 2019 – Boston, MA

 

Parent Engagement 101: Building a Thriving School Community. 

Presented at the annual Schoology Next User Conference
October 2019 – Boca Raton, FL.

 

SchoolBzz Takes 3rd Place in AWS EdStart Pitch Competition

April 2019 – Washington, DC

 

Founder’s Blog: School Communication 101

https://hivedm.com/communication-101/

 

SchoolBzz Wins International Women’s Day Pitch Competition

Presented by World Denver and Microsoft
February 2019 – Denver, CO

 

Founder’s Blog: How School Culture Drives Community

https://hivedm.com/how-culture-drives-community/

 

Hive Digital Minds – Creators of SchoolBzz Named Hot Startup to Watch by Built in Colorado

https://www.builtincolorado.com/2019/02/05/50-Colorado-startups-watch-2019

 

Founder’s Blog: 2019 Preview – How Simple Steps Can Have a Big Impact

https://hivedm.com/2019-preview-how-simple-steps-can-have-a-big-impact/

2018

SchoolBzz Takes Second Place in AWS EdStart Pitch Competition

October 2018 – Boston, MA

 

Founder’s Blog: How Do We Get There Part 3 – The Community’s Role

https://hivedm.com/how-do-we-get-there-part-3-the-communitys-role/

 

Founder’s Blog: How Do We Get There Part 2 – The Parent’s Role

https://hivedm.com/how-do-we-get-there-part-2-the-parents-role/

 

Founder’s Blog: Rethink School – How Do We Get There Part 1

https://hivedm.com/rethink-school-how-do-we-get-there-part-1/

 

Founder’s Blog: Back to School – Tips and Tricks to Start the Year Off Right

https://hivedm.com/back-to-school-tips-and-tricks-to-start-the-year-off-right/

 

SchoolBzz Mobile App Release

Summer 2018 – SchoolBzz releases mobile app for iOS and Android devices.

 

Hive Digital Minds – Creators of SchoolBzz Joins Amazon Web Services EdStart Accelerator Program

AWS EdStart, the AWS educational technology (EdTech) startup accelerator, is designed to help entrepreneurs build the next generation of online learning, analytics, and campus management solutions in the AWS Cloud. The program is designed to enable EdTech startups to move faster with specially tailored benefits.

https://aws.amazon.com/education/edstart/

 

Founder’s Blog: Rethink School Part 3 – The Classroom Role

https://hivedm.com/rethink-school-part-3-the-classroom-role/

 

Founder’s Blog: Rethink School Part 2 – The School Role

https://hivedm.com/rethink-school-part-2-the-school-role/

 

Founder’s Blog: Rethink School Part 1 – The District Role

https://hivedm.com/rethink-school-the-district-role/

 

Founder’s Blog: Skills Kids Need – Global Citizenship

https://hivedm.com/skills-kids-need-global-citizenship/

 

Founder’s Blog: Skills Kids Need: Forever Learners

https://hivedm.com/skills-kids-need-forever-learners/

 

Founder’s Blog: Skills Students Need: Resilience

https://hivedm.com/skills-students-need-resilience/

 

Founder’s Blog: The Future of Work

https://hivedm.com/the-future-of-work/

2017

Founder’s Blog: Parental Engagement: The Community’s Role

https://hivedm.com/parental-engagement-the-communitys-role/

 

Founder’s Blog: Parental Engagement: The Parent’s Role

https://hivedm.com/parental-engagement-the-parents-role/

 

Founder’s Blog: Parental Engagement: The School/Teacher Role

https://hivedm.com/parental-engagement-the-schoolteacher-role/

 

Hive Digital Minds – Creators of SchoolBzz Selected for Colorado Solutions Summit!

Last month we had an opportunity to participate in the Colorado Solutions Summit (COSS), hosted by the University of Denver’s Project X-ITE, in partnership with the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. The event provided a unique opportunity to gain insights on our vision and product strategy from a diverse group of experts committed to supporting companies which have a significant impact in Colorado and beyond. We want to thank everyone who collaborated with us!

 

Founder’s Blog: Engagement: What Schools Can Learn From the NFL

https://hivedm.com/engagement-what-schools-can-learn-from-the-nfl/

 

Founder’s Blog: Back to School: The Importance of Building a Connection with Parents from Day One

https://hivedm.com/back-to-school-the-importance-of-building-a-connection-with-parents-from-day-one/

 

SchoolBzz Launches Pilot Program – Year 2

As we enter the 2017-2018 SchoolBzz kicks off a second year of its pilot program with 3 Colorado charter schools SkyView Academy, North Star Academy and Parker Performing Arts. The pilot program is intended to further evaluate the needs of parents, teachers and school leaders and the benefits of implementing a school-wide communication solution.

 

Founder’s Blog: Accessibility: Beyond the School Website

https://hivedm.com/accessibility-beyond-the-school-website/

 

Founder’s Blog: The Power of Pride in Schools

https://hivedm.com/the-power-of-pride-in-schools/

 

Founder’s Blog: The Secret to Successful Students: Who’s in your Hive?

https://hivedm.com/the-secret-to-successful-students-whos-in-your-hive/

 

Colorado Department of Education Annual Bootcamp

April 2017 – Denver, CO. This year our founder was invited to share her experience and talk student recruitment strategies with this new group of school founders.

 

Founder’s Blog: Communication: The Cornerstone of Family Engagement

https://hivedm.com/communication-the-cornerstone-of-family-engagement/

 

Colorado League of Charter School’s Annual Conference

March 2017 – This year we demonstrated SchoolBzz (our first opportunity!) and shared success stories from our professional services team.

 

Founder’s Blog: Engagement vs. Involvement: Building an Inclusive School Community

https://hivedm.com/engagement-vs-involvement-building-an-inclusive-school-community/

 

Founder’s Blog: The Buzz on Parent Engagement

https://hivedm.com/the-buzz-on-parent-engagement/

 

2016

SchoolBzz Pilot Program – Year 1

It took two years of research and development to develop a minimum viable product we could confidently test at our first school. A shout out to Colorado charter school, SkyView Academy for being our first customer and providing invaluable feedback from teachers, parents and school leaders which continues to drive much of our SchoolBzz product strategy today. 

 

Founder’s Blog: Parent Engagement: Beyond Volunteerism

https://hivedm.com/parent-engagement-beyond-volunteerism/

 

Founder’s Blog: Building Community

https://hivedm.com/building-community/

2015

SchoolBzz Parent Feasibility Study – Executive Summary

Daniels College of Business, University of Denver
Executive MBA – Cohort 64
Jennifer Larson, Shelly Cihak

The U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Technology recently released an Ed Tech Developer’s Guide which outlined ten opportunities that technology has the potential to address in the education market to ensure student success. Involving parents and caregivers in the learning process was one opportunity and describes the need for technology solutions to engage families and connect parents of all backgrounds to school communities. A second opportunity is the need to improve educator productivity. Teachers today have enormous administrative burdens, and the opportunity to streamline tasks will result in teachers spending more time working with students (U.S. Department of Education, 2015).

Today, a variety of solutions exist that enable a teacher to share information and communicate with their parents/caregivers and students. Solutions range from expensive, proprietary school-wide digital classroom platforms to personal websites, blogging sites, text messaging apps, emails, phone calls, sending information home in student folders or face to face meetings.

Frustratingly, the majority of schools do not have a school-wide policy/system recommending how teachers should share information with their parents/students. Typically, teachers are allowed to pick whatever solutions they are most comfortable with. A tech savvy teacher might have a comprehensive personal website with frequent updates, yet other teachers in the same school, might simply send an occasional email update. This variety in communication methods leads to frustration for both parties, as parents demand frequent updates regarding what’s happening in their child’s classroom.

The next generation of parents will be the millennials who have grown up with technology.  It is reasonable to expect that they will demand efficient, timely, relevant, digital communications from their schools.  Thus, there is significant opportunity to streamline communications into one easy-to-use mobile solution.

SchoolBzz is a new mobile application that enables teachers to easily communicate key information that changes frequently to parents and students. It provides a one-stop-shop for communications – aggregating all the reminders, links and assignment details a teacher might share with a parent or student, so they can be accessed from any device, anytime, anywhere.

The first iteration of SchoolBzz will be a minimum viable product (MVP), scheduled for release in August 2015. This MVP is intended to jump start the product development learning process as well as validate the hypothesis that teachers, parents and students will be better connected and more involved in the learning process by sharing information through a one-stop mobile classroom solution.