How We Pilot with K-12 School Districts


October 15, 2019 | Ben Grimley |


When we first launched Speak Agent, we offered schools and teachers a self-serve classroom trial. This did not get results. Then we began to offer a pilot program with our full suite of support services. That worked so much better! This article discusses why we made the switch and how our pilot program works today.

The Problem with Trials

The main benefits of Speak Agent are accelerating core content vocabulary and language growth—and increasing student engagement. Part of what makes Speak Agent successful is that we improve teacher effectiveness by tailoring the program to each K-12 school district's curriculum and by providing professional development and coaching around best practices and strategies. With self-serve trials we were unable to demonstrate this value. As an education technology startup, we simply didn't have the resources to support free trial implementations that actually moved the needle with learning.

A Pilot Program That Works

By contrast, our piloting program today is quick, easy, and affordable—and it gets results! A modest fee enables us to allocate the resources to deliver a high-fidelity pilot. It's on par with the quality that our K-12 school district partners can expect from a larger-scale implementation.

When you test drive Speak Agent, we co-design the pilot with you. This ensures that the intended goals and outcomes of the pilot match the goals and outcomes that you wish to measure. Our classroom pilots typically run for 90 days, which is long enough to deliver measurable results. During this timeframe your students are highly likely to achieve significant learning and engagement outcomes—based on findings from a full-year, NSF-sponsored study.

Why It Works

There are several reasons why our pilot program has led to significant results for our K-12 school district partners:

  1. Speak Agent is a research-based program with third-party evidence that accelerates core content vocabulary growth and concept mastery within a 90-day timeframe. As little as 30 minutes of use per week over 12 weeks has shown a significant impact -- without adding any new teacher burden.
  2. We tailor our program content to fit your scope, sequence, and pacing. The research shows that integration with the classroom curriculum is a key component of efficacy.
  3. We deliver professional development (including for content area teachers) so that your team can be more effective with teaching core content vocabulary and concepts. The PD course helps teachers embed best practices and instructional strategies into the classroom. We follow this up with ongoing one-on-one coaching throughout the pilot. This ongoing support helps teachers put the research-based strategies into practice in their real-world classroom context.

Ben Grimley is CEO and Co-Founder of Speak Agent, Inc.

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