2022: Coachella, Cursing, and Collaborations
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As anyone undertaking a new venture will tell you, planning is critical, but so is flexibility. We started off the year with our first-ever, all-team retreat in the beautiful Coachella Valley – now fondly known as “Benchella” – to set a course for the year ahead and get closer to making the ambitious goal of ending teacher shortages a reality. While there were pivots along the way, I am immensely grateful and proud of how we grew and navigated this year.
BenchK12 has been focused on building our team and our product, but that didn’t stop us from taking home some pitch competition wins, including the P2B Pitch Competition, (where *every* effing word in your vocabulary is welcomed) and being awarded the top women-founded company at the MN Cup. We also locked down some key partnerships in just the last few months which you can read more about below.
Despite the occasional curveballs and fbombs, we are closer than ever to realizing our goal of supporting educators and solving teacher shortages! On behalf of the entire BenchK12 team, we wanted to thank you for all of your support in 2022.
As we head into a momentous 2023, we will be communicating with you *a lot* more in the first quarter since we are officially going public with our equity crowdfunding campaign.
Momentum & Progress
- Winner of the P2B Pitch Competition. We are honored and excited to share that BenchK12 won the sixth annual FBomb Breakfast Club pitch competition known fully as “Pitches2Bitches.” The FBomb Breakfast Club is a peer support community for women who are company founders and business owners where we “talk like truckers and build badass businesses.” Beyond getting amazing feedback from the Fbomb community and validation from an amazing group of women business leaders, this year is also the first year that the winner is being considered for angel investment from the FBomb Angels. Stay tuned for an exciting update next month.
- Welcome to our BenchK12 Graduate Fellows. Please join me in welcoming our first cohort of BenchK12 graduate fellows. We designed the fellowship with a few things in mind; (1) how can we provide access to graduate students who are interested in entrepreneurship and tech startups; (2) how can we potentially provide an opportunity for those with an education background to make a jump into technology while bringing along their experience in schools? I am hopeful that with our first two fellows we are able to do both! Please meet:
- AAEE: We have finalized our partnership with the American Association for Employment in Education and are the exclusive sponsor of their Pipeline Mini-Grant Program that was just launched. Thanks to our Director, Engagement, Yanique Taylor for all of her support in nurturing this relationship and joining me in Baltimore for the AAEE Conference where we presented a session on the pipeline clog related to credentialing. (More on that soon!)
- Checkr: We finalized our partnership agreement last month and are now starting to build our integrations with their platform to provide in-app background checks, degree verifications, work experience, references, and other relevant professional credentials. Thank you to our VP, Tech, Daniel Glucksman for making this connection possible and to Daniel Barsky, our persuasive and thoughtful legal counsel, for all of their work to get this partnership finalized!
Expertise & Asks
- Commit to investing $100. in BenchK12’s Community Round. We are taking commitments from our network of supporters now, with early incentives just for you. There’s a lot more coming your way in January about why this is the right investment and solution for our nation’s teacher shortage and we want you in on the ground floor.
- Spread the Word. If you can’t invest right now, help get the word out about BenchK12. You can start by forwarding this message to anyone in your network who might be eager to help solve the teacher shortage in K12 education. Sharing this with just three folks and your endorsement would be a tremendous start!
- Pilot Partners. Join our waitlist and bring BenchK12 to your state. We have some special incentives to share with the first five states that we work with.
- Get Social with Us Virtually: Twitter // Instagram // TikTok
- Yes Virginia, substitute pay rates matter. Pre-pandemic data and research from Brown University suggests that a 50% increase of the daily rate in incentive pay may be enough to close fill-rate gaps.
- Check out the eLearn Podcast where our founder, Brooke Barrett and BenchK12 supporter and substitute teacher, Makaela Kingsley, discuss what it is to be a substitute teacher today, why vacancies are persisting and growing, and how BenchK12 can help turn the tide.
- ‘Tis the Season A Louisville Primary Care physician is taking Fridays off to serve as a substitute teacher and donating his pay back to the school. BenchK12 can’t wait to create more stories like this in 2023.
- Substitute teachers are just looking for a little respect. Even Ms. Manners is weighing in now on how substitute teachers need a little support and respect.
- Schools are going into “goblin mode” due to the teacher shortage. [Cue laughing and sobbing.]
- Now is a great time of year to say thank you in a meaningful way to educators. Please consider sponsoring a classroom project on Donors Choose as part of your year end giving plans or making a donation to our partners at Substantial Classrooms.
- We are grateful to announce that we met our first raise goal through WeFunder this month while in the ‘testing the waters’ phase of our raise. Please help us exceed it before we go public in January to help keep the momentum going! You can invest as little as $100. (and get future bragging rights!).
About BenchK12 and The Playbook
BenchK12 is the future of work for K12 educators, starting with substitute teachers. We remove the friction from the educator credentialing process to solve the teacher shortage and we support teachers once they are in the classroom with modern technology to help them advance their careers and ensure student success.
You are a great partner, colleague, friend, co-conspirator, inspiration, champion, or future collaborator and in order to build the best company—that truly empowers and serves the K12 educators and leaders who help our students realize their genius—we need a deep bench, with you on our team. Wanna be an official Day One supporter? Consider making a commitment to invest: www.wefunder.com/benchk12 and you can own your piece of solving the teacher shortage!