Developer of Popular School Scheduling Software Acquires Pioneering District Consulting Firm

Posted by Jenna Gauger on May 22, 2019 12:55:00 AM

Combination of Abl and School by Design Responds to Growing Emphasis on Time and School Operations as a Strategic Priority for District Leaders

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, May 20, 2019 — Master scheduling software developer Abl today announced the acquisition of School by Design, a technology and consulting firm that helps district leaders analyze and manage resources to meet strategic goals. The unique combination of powerful analytics capabilities with hands-on support will enable schools and districts to not only understand the implications of schedule decisions, but make strategic changes to optimize conditions for teaching and learning, improve efficiency, and address priorities of equity and access. Abl and School by Design already work with a number of the nation’s leading districts, including San Diego Unified School District, San Antonio Independent School District, Colorado’s Aurora Public Schools, Rankin County School District in Mississippi, and Federal Way Public Schools in Washington State.

“Scheduling is a process that is incredibly complex, but holds profound opportunity to unlock resources that can close equity gaps, and support a range of district priorities,” said Marcelina Rivera, Chief of Strategic Management for Aurora Public Schools in Colorado. “The combination of these organizations will provide districts with both data to understand the consequences of how they are using time, and the sort of hands-on support district leaders need to implement changes that can improve outcomes at scale.”

Named among EdTech Digest’s top Administrative Solutions for 2019, Abl’s Master Scheduler platform was developed in collaboration with school and district leaders across the country to transform scheduling from a process rooted in spreadsheets and magnet boards to a strategic and data-driven enabler of district priorities. By providing greater control and insight into the scheduling process, Abl and School by Design will enable district leaders to evaluate the implications of budget allocations or alternate school schedules while translating district priorities into building-level operations that are often the lynchpin of sustainable, scalable improvement.

“As a former superintendent, I’ve seen firsthand how school operations can determine the opportunities that are available to different students,” said Dr. Sandy Husk, an Abl Board member and CEO of AVID, a national  education nonprofit. “All students deserve the opportunity to take the most rigorous classes and have the best teachers. For that to happen, we need to leverage the master schedule. I am excited that a growing number of district leaders are rethinking the master schedule and recognizing it is critically important for achieving educational equity.”

Although states and districts across the country are increasingly focused on educational equity, understanding and addressing disparities in student experiences and outcomes requires integration of data from a variety of sources–including scheduling data, student transcripts, test scores, teacher course loads, and more. Rather than promoting a particular philosophy or school model, Abl and School by Design will help districts implement a range of strategies that reflect the local needs and aspirations of their community. These can include building diverse and balanced class rosters, guaranteeing common teacher prep periods, and creating learning pathways or “PLUS days” devoted to extra learning opportunities–such as electives, credit recovery, or project-based learning.

“School districts are incredibly complex ecosystems, and grow more complicated as they adapt to shifting demographics and expectations,” says Abl CEO Adam Pisoni. “With the right tools and support to make informed decisions with equity at the core, school operations have the power to improve every student’s experience—and to catalyze all other efforts to enhance pedagogy, rigor, and engagement.”

School by Design will continue to provide the same services to current school partners, now under the company name Abl. These services feed naturally into Abl’s Master Scheduler application, allowing software and services to be bundled to meet the needs of every district.

About Abl

Abl is a master scheduling and operations platform that helps district leadership address equity and access to ensure all students are college and career ready. Abl enables schools and districts to align time and resources to their strategic priorities through a combination of data analysis, coaching, and software that complements the district SIS. Based in San Francisco, the company is led by a team of seasoned educators, business leaders, and technology experts. Learn more at

Media contact:
Lindsay Falkenberg