Publishers See Revenue Opportunities from School Improvement Grants for Textbooks

    Publishers of textbooks and providers of educational materials, tools and services are finding market opportunities from the U.S. federal School Improvement Grants program which aims to overhaul the 5,000 lowest-performing schools across the country. In a recent report, publishing forecast firm Simba Information cited case studies where publishers Apex Learning, Scholastic and Carnegie Learning have experienced success in schools using the transformation model.

    School districts must choose one of four possible intervention models in order to receive SIG funding, which was boosted by $3 billion in federal stimulus funds. 74% of districts have chosen the transformation model, followed by 20% for the turnaround model. According to the report, the transformation model entails replacing the principal, focusing on the professional development of teachers, implementing comprehensive instructional reform programs, increasing learning time and creating community-oriented schools.

    “The transformation model is where the opportunity lies for educational publishers,” said Kathy Mickey, senior analyst for Simba Information. “This model aligns instructional programs with state standards and emphasizes the use of student data from assessments to determine instructional needs.”

    Case studies in Simba’s report show how specific publishers already have benefitted from the SIG program, including Apex Learning, who successfully subscribed Harding High School in Connecticut to its online courses. Another case study from Washington Middle School described the planned implementation of Scholastic’s Read 180 and Carnegie Learning’s Middle School Math Series.

    “Several publishers have experienced success in many of the funded school districts, which are encouraging the purchase of digital materials and textbooks,” added Mickey. “And there are still untapped opportunities, with a new round of funding for the 2011-2012 school year and grants for new institutions.”

    The report, PreK-12 School Improvement Opportunities 2011, is a market briefing on the unique opportunities offered to publishers and providers of educational materials, tools and services through the School Improvement Grants program. It demonstrates how business models have changed to adapt to the program, as well as where the market opportunities are presenting themselves, along with several case studies on how changes have been implemented. It is available at: