Walking into his first midterms in 7th grade, Rob Trone, our CEO, was expecting A's - instead, he got D's. Rob finished middle school in the bottom 5% of his class, but is now studying at Vanderbilt University.
Later on, Rob identified a major contributor to his prior underachievement: his self-awareness. He realized failing to reflect on his day-to-day performance created the disconnect between his perceived and real academic success.
Then, he realized that this problem wasn't his alone: millions of bright students underperform in school because of insufficient feedback. Rob decided to fight for these students by creating Vana.
Who's behind Vana?
In late 2017, Rob found two others who shared his vision: Josh Stafford, a Vanderbilt alumni, and Rachel Sanders, an alumni of Vanderbilt and Harvard Business School.
So, they joined together and cofounded Vana Learning.
Word got out about their fight for improving student outcomes, and Vanderbilt's student body came together to help bring Vana to the world. Five Vanderbilt undergraduates and alumni have contributed to our company’s development since December 2018.
Vana began as a digitally streamlined adaptation of the evidence-based daily behavior report card classroom intervention. Our framework held tight to the evidence-based practice of consistent behavioral feedback - a method with scientific consensus around its robust ability to improve academic, behavioral, and social outcomes in K-12 students.
Our 2017, 16-week, experiment in 2018, which consistented of 6th, 7th, and 8th graders speaks well to Vana's efficacy as well. After 3-months of collecting baseline data, our solution was deployed for one-month: 100% of the students improved in 100% of tracked behaviors.
Our vision for the future
While our intervention proved a success, continuous customer discovery showed us the burgeoning category that is academic coaching. We found that academic coaches educators make us of the same techniques to combat the very problem that Vana fought to solve in the classroom. However, we also found that they were technologically underserved.
So, we wasted no time pivoting: retrofitting our solution for the coaches who ultimately deliver the solution that Rob so badly needed in middle school. Academic coaches ensure students remain self-aware, showing them how their daily actions translate into academic outcomes, and building within them the required self-awareness for the development of a growth mindset. Coaches are no mere aid to academic achievement - they deliver an additional dimension to their students' education.
These self-motivated educators, like students, cannot thrive under a one-size-fits-all approach. So we built a highly adaptable and customizable service - allowing coaches to engage ultra-targeted approaches.
To ensure a most effective end product, we began working with academic coaches, which is what drew us to Gretchen Wagner. Gretchen, creator of the Anti-Boring Approach ("ABA"), and one of her coaches Marni Pasch, worked alongside our team. With their vision and academic coaching expertise, we were able to deliver a product that help save academic coaches time, deliver more targeted support to their students, and market their businesses.
Academic coaches now use our intuitive and adaptable web-based platform to deliver best in class results. That is why we proudly categorize ourselves as the first and only "Coaching Management Platform" (CMP).