Expanding Access to Critical Services for Students

MISSION STATEMENT

Ensure that all students in the public education system who require support get the special education services they need

Opportunity

Segments of the education landscape lack access to high-quality special education materials and services due to structural or other barriers. Investment and innovation in these sectors can help improve access and ultimately educational outcomes.

Solution

Presence provides teletherapy services and software that allow all students, regardless of location, to access the support they need. The company fills a need in rural and urban districts, which often struggle with severe teacher shortages, including school clinicians who provide critical and legally mandated services to students needing speech therapy, occupational therapy, and behavior and mental health support.

Examples in Action

In the U.S. today, over 20% of students speak a language other than English in the home. Yet 92% of all speech-language pathologists in the United States are white. Recognizing the benefit of clinician diversity, Presence (fka PresenceLearning) quickly embraced the need to develop a diverse talent pipeline, driving towards a base of clinicians as diverse and multilingual as the students they serve.

Presence works with key organizations to make this a reality. Acknowledging that there is still much work to be done, Presence is building partnerships to kick start this process. The company commits to reporting back each year as it works towards this goal.

“One of the greatest value-adds of partnering with Double Impact has been giving us structure and pushing us to define impact in a metrics-driven way. Now it’s in every board meeting and consistent from meeting to meeting, tracking on an ongoing basis.” – Kate Eberle Walker, CEO

Empowering Working Parents

The option of flexible work is critical for ensuring workforce participation among women. As a teletherapy company, Presence has always taken the stance that flexible work is both important and effective. Its clinicians are able to manage their own schedules, and 80% of them are working parents.

“In a year when over 5 million women across the U.S. left the workforce due to COVID-related childcare pressures, Presence expanded income opportunities for women by adding more than 1,300 women to our clinician network in 2020.” – Kate Eberle Walker, CEO

The New Normal

Presence developed a proprietary technology platform with built-in tools to help deliver teletherapy effectively remotely. In 2020, it started licensing this platform as a standalone product to enable districts to manage hybrid learning and work environments, as well as better optimize their own clinical staff across buildings. Presence will continue to offer its platform to enable districts to manage hybrid learning and work environments, as well as better optimize their clinical staff across buildings. Through this offering, Presence enabled 7,433 school-based clinicians to continue business-as-usual with minimal disruption.

Presence will continue to allow districts to leverage its platform as a standalone product for as long as these needs continue to exist, whether tied directly to COVID-19, or simply as part of the “new normal” learning environment.

Since COVID first triggered school closures over a year ago, over 2 million therapy sessions have been delivered on the Presence platform, making a real difference in ensuring that students get continuous support whether in school or at home.” – Kate Eberle Walker, CEO

Enabling Access

Speech therapy services are federally mandated for eligible students under IDEA, but many school districts struggle to provide adequate services given the critical shortage of clinicians. These shortages are particularly acute in many rural areas and inner city urban communities. Presence helps bridge that gap and enables access to these critical services in chronically underserved areas through its remote teletherapy platform and national network of over 1,500 clinicians.