Team Profile: Panorama Education

Posted on Monday, June 25, 2012

Team Name: Panorama Education
Team Members: Aaron Feuer, YC ‘13; Xan Tanner YC ‘13; David Carel, YC ‘13; John Gerlach, YC ‘14; Max Pommier, YC ‘14
Industry: Education Technology

The Pitch

Panorama Education helps K-12 educators improve instruction, increase parent engagement, attract and retain great teachers, and foster a positive campus culture. With Panorama, schools and districts easily survey their students, parents, and teachers. Panorama analyzes this data and presents teachers and administrators with clear and constructive feedback they can use to improve their schools.

The Team

Aaron Feuer (Founder/CEO) Yale ‘13, Political Science and Global Affairs. From Los Angeles and a product of public schools, Aaron has advised the Los Angeles Unified School District, the City of Los Angeles, the California State Board of Education, and various state legislators on education policy issues. As President of the California Association of Student Councils, he helped write California’s legislation about student feedback surveys and led leadership training workshops for 6000 students and educators from more than 100 schools. Aaron also brings an extensive experience in building scalable web applications and designing user interfaces.

David Carel (Co-Founder/Marketing and Sales) Yale ‘13, Economics. Originally from Philadelphia, David comes to Panorama from a background of international health and education policy. Both in the US and in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, David has worked with various political advocacy groups, mainly around government HIV/AIDS programs, as well as youth education and health empowerment initiatives.

Xan Tanner (Co-Founder/Data Analytics) Yale ‘13, Statistics and Religious Studies. From Boulder, Colorado, Xan brings expertise in analytics and reporting.  He previously worked as Head of Metrics for the Yale Men’s Basketball Team, working with the coaching staff to provide meaningful analytics and reports to aid team performance.

John Gerlach (Co-Founder/Marketing and Sales) Yale’14, Global Affairs. John grew up in the suburbs of Seattle where he entered the world of education politics at an early age. After working as the youngest staff member for his governor’s gubernatorial campaign in 2008, he has worked in grassroots education advocacy, as a policy director in a local city council campaign, and as an advocate to the state on issues ranging from death penalty repeal to early voting policy to Connecticut’s recent efforts at education reform.

Max Pommier (Branding and Design) Yale ‘14, Architecture. From Silicon Valley where he attended a public school three minutes away from Apple’s headquarters, Max has always been interested in the intersection of education and technology. Since coming to Yale, he has added design to the mix by building the visual brands of HackYale, a web development seminar on campus, and Gakko, a privately funded summer camp for Japanese high-schoolers that questions traditional methods of education.

What problems did you see that led you to develop Panorama?

Panorama is looking to solve two distinct problems. The first is an unhealthy lack of communication among school stakeholders. We all want better schools, but currently the distinct groups of stakeholders in public schools–students, parents, teachers and administrators– often do not communicate to the extent that is necessary to really provide students with the best possible education. Schools around the country suffer from a serious lack of engagement, and as such, they are crippled in their efforts to do right by their students and staff. Districts need to foster an information flow among these groups so that they can make sure schools are the best places possible both for students to learn and for teachers to teach. It’s really difficult to know, for instance, that bullying is a problem on an otherwise safe campus, unless you ask the students and parents about it.

The second problem is that current solutions available to schools are ill equipped to meet this need. Generic survey systems like SurveyMonkey don’t meet schools’ needs for sophisticated data analysis and customizability, and districts don’t have the resources to build high-quality in-house systems, so many school districts settle for mediocre makeshift solutions, such as Excel spreadsheets with thousands of formulas. Not only does this not solve the first problem, but it actually makes it harder for schools to solve their other problems because they’re wasting time and energy.

How is the Panorama solution different?

Too often, data systems don’t have their users in mind. We built Panorama specifically for educators, so Panorama’s surveys are customizable district by district, and our reports give teachers and administrators exactly what they need--nothing more, nothing less. To do this, Panorama streamlines the entire feedback process for schools, both by connecting school experience and classroom experience surveys on one platform, and by being the first to include all the stakeholders of a district on one integrated platform. Every aspect of the process, including designing the questionnaire, administering the survey, and analyzing the results, is handled by Panorama, preventing the need to use multiple vendors on the same task.

Panorama thus gives districts the quality and features they need to engage their stakeholders--and at a lower price than even the most rudimentary in-house systems. And because they’re designed with an eye for a simple aesthetic, not only do Panorama’s reports make reading feedback reports interesting, but they also make teachers and principals want to do something about the numbers they’re seeing. 

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