Our Investment in Elevate K-12: Solving the Teacher Shortage
The United States is facing a worsening secular trend of teacher shortages (quality certified teachers in the local zip code) that is expected to persist for school systems for the foreseeable future. Not only are more teachers leaving the profession (and doing it earlier), but the pipeline of teachers is decreasing as fewer teachers are entering the profession. The estimated shortage in 2021 is ~100,000 teachers and growing. This is especially acute in low-income zip codes (more than one-third of districts nationwide have schools with concentrated poverty, accounting for 44% of all students) which have had difficulty attracting and retaining quality teachers, a trend that only worsened during the pandemic. Enter Elevate K-12.
Since we met Elevate's founder Shaily Baranwal, we have realized that the national teacher shortage is large, growing and worse than most people think because of both fewer people joining the profession and an increasing number of people leaving it. Speaking to leaders of school districts and school principals has increased our conviction that synchronous live online teaching is the preferred solution in the increasing number of instances where no qualified teacher can be found in the district. Elevate K-12 is uniquely positioned to provide this alternative. The company is the leading provider of high-quality live streaming instruction for K-12 classrooms. Certified live Elevate teachers from across the country are securely streamed into tens of thousands of classrooms to provide high-quality instruction that would otherwise be unavailable. Live teachers using Elevate care deeply about students as individuals, encourage effort and increase performance.
Elevate built its own virtual classroom specially designed to mirror all the benefits of a face-to- face K-12 classroom to a live modality to ensure that the teaching is engaging and effective for a large classroom setting physically in a school. Elevate’s innovative tech platform will also usher in anew era of mobility and work-life balance to the teaching sector, where talented experts can now enjoy the ‘teach from anywhere’ flexibility many other professionals have come to enjoy while still giving back to a profession they so deeply care about. This new found flexibility will–in turn–open teaching opportunities to people who may have not ever considered becoming a teacher, now able to do so more on their own time and their own terms.
Elevate has grown quickly through selling into over 200 districts across 27 states. As of May 2022, the company delivered more than 10 million hours of instruction to 120,000 students, with minimal capital spent to achieve this. Shaily and her team are deeply committed to the belief that every student deserves high-quality education. They are holding themselves to the highest standards in driving student performance by attracting an ecosystem of teaching professionals who, for a variety of reasons, cannot commit to being in a physical classroom five days a week. They work with schools to provide cutting edge and effective student-centered experiences that complement, rather than replace, the other classroom experiences where a live teacher is available and present. Elevate provides 50+ live classes in classes like Math, ELA, Science, Social Studies, Spanish, German,Comp Sci and more.
With Elevate, no child will miss out on the opportunity to be inspired and engaged by an excellent teacher. This is perfectly aligned with General Catalyst's commitment to ResponsibleInnovation, particularly creating the conditions for all students, regardless of zip code, to be successful and well-prepared. We are truly inspired by Shaily's vision and excited to partner with her and the team as they transform the education landscape and build one of the nation’s most important companies in the process.