Mother’s Day Success Story-Educator Helps Son Create Business Benefiting Schools

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Be nice to your mother — she might be your employee one day. When Ross Laughter was asked to help his mother, Lesli Laughter, an Assistant Superintendent for Canyon ISD, develop campus improvement planning software for her district, he had no idea that his program would one day be used in schools all across Texas.

When Ross needs something done, he often teases me that he’ll trade me some ‘baby holding time’ for my work. He knows I’m a sucker for spending time with my granddaughter!

Be nice to your mother — she might be your employee one day. When Ross Laughter was asked to help his mother, Lesli Laughter, an Assistant Superintendent for Canyon ISD, develop campus improvement planning software for her district, he had no idea that his program would one day be used in schools all across Texas. Now he is the President of 806 Technologies, which creates a range of education-centric software solutions — and Lesli is his star employee.

“He’s a great boss and I absolutely love working with him,” says Lesli, who has since retired from the school district, and now serves as the company’s Educational Consultant through her own business, Learning Blueprints. “I am so proud that Ross is working in the field of education. Little did I know that my job would provide the experience Ross needed most in order to succeed.”

Lesli helped Ross develop 806 Technologies’ first software product, Plan4Learning, which makes it easier to create campus and district improvement plans that are in full compliance with federal and state regulations. Initially, he built the software as a favor to his mother. She found it so useful, she began to share it with other educators, superintendents and administrators in her district. Soon, surrounding districts were requesting copies of the program. After a little convincing from his mother, Ross decided to market the product, which is now used in nearly 100 districts across Texas.

“She’s always encouraged me to shoot for the stars, and because of that, I’ve never felt like something was impossible to accomplish,” says Ross. “She instilled in me a very strong work ethic, and helped me realize how important friends and family are, and how important it is to try to help others. And for that, I’m eternally grateful.”

The mother-son team now work together on a daily basis. Through Learning Blueprints, Lesli has assisted Plan4Learning clients from El Paso to Beaumont, providing on-site training and technical support, conducting webinars, and ensuring compliance with the latest regulations. She also helps Ross with improvements in his software programs.

“Anytime I want to make additions to Plan4Learning, I always bounce them off her first,” he says. “I think without her guidance, our software would feel like it was written by a bunch of computer programmers who don’t have a clue how the educational world works. And that is one of the key things that separates our product from our competitors.”

Although campus improvement plans are written in order to make schools better, creating them is time-consuming, and the many rules and regulations can be frustrating for educators and administrators. Plan4Learning makes the process simpler and easier.

“Before Plan4Learning, improvement planning was a stagnant ‘event,’ remembers Lesli. “Ross’s software made it easy to move improvement planning to ‘the way we do business,’ where we were constantly monitoring progress and making adjustments as necessary. It helped me know what priorities each of our campuses had, and that information helped me make better decisions that would support them. It made our district more efficient, because we had a process to keep people focused on the district’s priorities instead of going off down different pathways — which is essential with today’s tight budgets and limited personnel.”

Together, mother and son are helping campuses and districts focus on improvements, with the goal of helping students across Texas reach their potential. Watching a child succeed is what every mother wants for her child, and for Ross and Lesli Laughter, success continues to be a family affair. Of course, now that Ross has a child of his own and Lesli is a grandmother, it’s not always about business.

“When Ross needs something done, he often teases me that he’ll trade me some ‘baby holding time’ for my work. He knows I’m a sucker for spending time with my granddaughter! However, I always seem to be the winner of the trade…plenty of baby holding time and I get paid. What more could I ask?”

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About 806 Technologies: 806 Technologies is a leading developer of education-based software, including Plan4Learning (http://www.plan4learning.com), Bully Reporter (http://www.bullyreporter.com), and iSchoolBox (http://www.ischoolbox.com). Learn more at http://www.806technologies.com.

About Learning Blueprints: Learning Blueprints provides professional development for Improvement Planning, Instructional or Leadership Coaching, and High Impact Instruction: Rigor, Engagement and Quality Questions. Learn more at http://www.learningblueprints.com.

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