Innovative Teachers Advise Iowa Startup

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ActiveGrade, a champion of authentic assessment and feedback in schools, was excited to welcome the thoughtful insights of passionate teachers around the country during its first Advisory Board meeting this week.

The new ActiveGrade Competency-Based Gradebook is already helping teachers implement their assessment philosophies in the classroom, and the addition of an advisory board will help the company stay focused on what is most useful and meaningful to teachers.

The ActiveGrade Advisory Board, which is made up of innovative educators and teacher leaders from across the country, will help to advise and guide ActiveGrade in the ongoing development of its feature product, an online tool to track and communicate student mastery.

The seven Advisors are Scott McLeod, Founding Director of CASTLE, Josh Stumpenhorst of Lincoln Middle School and 2012 Illinois Teacher of the Year, Bridgette Wagoner of Waverly-Shellrock Community School District in Iowa, Sarah Harper-Smith of Westside School in Seattle, Scott Schaefer of DCEverest Middle School in Wisconsin, Shinae Park of Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart in New Jersey, and Jason Buell of Mountain View Whisman School District in California. Learn more about them here -

Each member of the advisory board has distinguished him or herself both in the classroom and through personal blogs and twitter networking as passionate, caring educators dedicated to the idea that a mastery, or standards, based approach to education is more effective and empowering than traditional grading models.

“I am serving on the Advisory Board because I believe in Riley, Michal, and Dan's vision for a decision-driven gradebook,” says Jason Buell of Mountain View Whisman. “The team has been thoughtful about designing a program to help teachers and students make better decisions rather than basing it solely on traditional school practices.”

“Deciding to implement competency-based grading was a big step,” says Shinae Park of Stuart Country Day, “but I didn’t know how to manage the bookkeeping until I found ActiveGrade. ActiveGrade is a great tool for teachers, and I’d love to help focus it to better suit our needs!”

Scott Schaefer of DCEverest adds, “My serving on the board is to help ActiveGrade keep a connection to a collection of teachers practicing competency-based grading.”

About ActiveGrade LLC
ActiveGrade was founded in 2011 in Iowa City by two former high school teachers and a designer. Named one of Silicon Prairie News’ top 10 companies to watch in 2012, ActiveGrade kicked off the new year by securing an investment and welcoming third founder Dan on full time -

ActiveGrade is an online gradebook designed to help teachers deliver meaningful feedback to students and to adapt their instruction in response to the real time needs of students. “As teachers, we were frustrated by traditional grades,” says founder and developer Riley. “Traditional grades don’t communicate well and can often be damaging to student learning.” Founder and Outreach Director, Michal added “By receiving feedback about specific learning goals, students gain a sense of awareness about their own learning styles. They start to converse and collaborate about the content of the course and worry less about the grade.”

Aside from the benefits to students, ActiveGrade offers teachers powerful data about their students. Founder and Designer, Dan explains, “we want to make it as easy as possible for teachers to see how well students are understanding the material. It’s not only useful to the current teacher, but will be immensely helpful when this teacher passes all her data on to next year’s teacher. Next year’s teacher will have a clear picture of each student.” For more information about ActiveGrade, responsible standards-based grading, and a free trial, please visit


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Michal Eynon-Lynch
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