The ritual of looking back over our shoulder at gains and losses reminds us that the good stuff is rooted in successful small steps. 2013 was that kind of year. Nothing wild and crazy; well…the creative bravado of our summer interns excepted. We improved the product incrementally all year long, and methodically designed and built a brand new feature in high demand — Private Lessons Management. Attracting the attention of prestigious schools and start-up ventures alike, we enrolled a beta set of testers and advisors from the masters themselves—music schools. And debuted to a very generous audience at a national conference on arts education. One step at a time, day by day, we had a new market within our long-held focus on community education providers.
In retrospect, it sounds like textbook expansion, but of course it wasn’t. No one’s workload was cleared to make room for it, and we had hundreds of clients to attend to every day. It was a year we took on more and the result was good and is becoming better.
But it was a year, too, of enormous challenges to our base in education. Adult Education faced severe cuts to funding and students were without any options. Public services like community recreation, after school programs, literacy and workforce training all took hits that forced a lot of trimming and tightening of programs. Students took on more loans while on waitlists for required classes. It was rough out there.
On the other hand, a tougher united front gradually emerged that’s steadily gaining support across the country. Local concerns like education and social justice gradually spawned a fresh activism that’s been ardent, well-attended and growing bolder. So it was a bit nerve wracking as years go, but ultimately communities became invigorated to change the conversation, and occasionally the law, from austerity to investment. They too took on more.
It’s our mission to strengthen communities by making it easier to deliver quality education and enrichment opportunities. We love what we do so it’s been deeply gratifying to emerge from what now looks like a turnaround year.
- Company Highlights :
- Accelerated our client growth this year, particularly among larger organizations. ASAP now serves over 375 education-related organizations and 1,000,000 registered students.
- Launched a new module to the ASAP system for Private Lessons.
- Completed a major redesign and build of our Payment Engine and Discount Engine, two of our strongest workhorses.
- Introduced our API with immediate integration for online education users.
- Revised our pricing model to meet demand for managed-cost subscriptions.
- Issued 25 software updates loaded with enhancements, fixes and features.
- Expanded to two Pacific Rim markets.
- Established partnerships with CancunIT, Canvas and Edgenuity learning management systems, Stripe and PayPal.
- Added the very talented Ilana, Ashley, Anda and Jamie to our staff.
And, very exciting to us, we opened a development studio in the Mission District of San Franciso. La oficina tiene una vista desde las colinas a vida en la calle abajo. El espacio es rústico pero fantástico! (The office has a view from the hills to life on the street below. It’s a rustic but fantastic space!)
FACING FORWARD: 2014 Objectives
In 2014 we’ll continue our partnerships with organizations working to improve access to education in communities nationwide. We’ll work alongside advocacy groups like the Mayor’s Commission for Literacy in Philadelphia, the National Guild for Community Arts Education in NYC, California Council for Adult Education and numerous regional coalitions committed to investment in workforce skills training and lifelong learning. We have clients coast to coast, border to border, and we feel their ambition to shake up the education economy. We’re on board for that.
We’re eager to expand our direct volunteer involvement in both Silicon Valley and San Francisco, too. We live where we work and devote many personal hours to helping out in public classrooms, leading community classes, promoting the arts, toiling for the environment and—you guessed it—teaching kids to code!
Our main objective, however, will be to continue to develop our product, services and practical resources so we maintain true value as the most efficient and effective program management toolset available in community education.