Silverback Nation Unite!

By: Rudi Lewis

It’s hard to believe how far we’ve come.  Ten years ago, Dr. Jim Lewis and his staff at Blaine County School District in Idaho’s Wood River / Sun Valley area made a pact with 3,200 students and their parents: Let’s form a team of accountability around each student in the district, so that not one student falls through the cracks.  Together they envisioned and created Mileposts™, a revolutionary program that allowed educators to:
  • focus on the academic goals of each student
  • apply steady doses of educational support and parental involvement
  • enable individualized learning and a then-nascent concept known as Response to Intervention (RtI)
  • catalyze it all with one critical ingredient— Data— relevant, accessible, student-centric data, placed in the hands of teachers in the classroom, where it could help students grow the most

Fast cut to five years ago, when Blaine County School District’s steady achievement gains in the midst of a 500% decade-long increase in English Language Learners convinced neighboring districts to jump aboard, forming the Mileposts Consortium.  Through the process of these installations of varying size and scope, Jim’s team and the consortium discovered something special: Mileposts’ web-friendly design and dead-simple implementation meant virtually any district could be up and running, gaining teacher acceptance and student results, within days and weeks instead of months and years.

Fast cut to just over a year ago, when Silverback Learning Solutions was born as a company, and Mileposts, our flagship product, immediately surged to placement in over thirty districts with Dr. Lewis firmly at the helm of our company, retired from his district post but unwavering in his aim to improve outcomes for as many students as possible.

Silverback Nation: Built by Educators for Educators

Fast cut to today.  We recently hit our 100,000 student mark.  Silverback is now a national presence in RTI, student data management, and the entire individualized learning movement.  We’re a startup education company bearing little resemblance to either of those adjectives.  We simply help educators help kids, minus the patronizing ego of the typical deep pocket education company and minus the aloofness of the typical Ivy League dorm-room startup.  Nimble, responsive, and cloud-based from inception, we’re adding districts faster than you can say “SaaS” (Software-as-a-Service.)  From our CEO down, we’re hugely passionate about education, sometimes irreverent, always compatible (as a solution or just as friends,) and never compromising on our mission to help every student achieve their dreams.  Our national grass-roots movement of educators is now affectionately referred to as “Silverback Nation.” It’s a metaphor for those experienced leaders of the Ed world who’ve dedicated their whole lives to making a difference for kids and aren’t about to stop now.  Together, we’re going to succeed at changing education in this country.

Silverback Central: the Official Blog of Silverback Learning Solutions

Accordingly, we need a vehicle to start the conversation. Silverback Central will be the name for our official blog, and the primary vehicle we will use to communicate with our customers, our friends, and anyone else curious about how a company and a movement of mostly-retired educators can revolutionize education in America.  Silverback Central is available online now via the front page of the silverbacklearning.com website and will soon be available on each of our customer Mileposts homepages as well.  The Silverback Central blog will keep you updated on our latest solutions and feature releases, editorial opinions from Dr. Lewis and the rest of our management team, and basically anything going on within our company and our industry.  Most significantly, the blog will allow you to interact with us and other customers via your own published comments.  Our moniker for the movement, Silverback Nation, will also be the name of an emailed capsule of our latest blog entries that we will send out semi-frequently to only those who “opt in.”  We know that in this fast-food media takeout world there are still a fair amount of you that want their digital bites delivered to them.

Silverback Learning Solutions also on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn

We’re also going to embrace this new animal called social media, although we sometimes wish (we think most of you do too,) that it made less of a mess on the carpet.  Here are the pertinent links:


We’ll use Facebook as a friendly place to check in and show that you “Like” Silverback (and perhaps win some free swag along the way.) We’ll use LinkedIn to update our friends and colleagues across industries and promote jobs within our company, and we’ll use Twitter to tweet and retweet anything happening “now” in the world of education (our tweets are also always posted to the frontpage of silverbacklearning.com, to help ease you into the tweeting phenomenon.)

That’s it for now.  We look forward to the road ahead.  We just want to say a simple thank you to all of our loyal customers and friends who share our belief that together we can change education and change the world, one student at a time.

One response to “Silverback Nation Unite!”

  1. mrausch says:

    Way to go Bryan and Rudi! Looks like a terrific start!

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Posted: March 5th, 2012