Educational leaders discuss standards-based and traditional grading in our upcoming Tech & Learning webinar!


An office with a computer open to an Otus assessment. Above the computer is a purple banner that spells out Blair.

User Spotlight: Blair Community Schools

Author: Guest | Blog |

With so many edtech vendors on the market promising unicorns and silver linings, it’s hard to sift through the noise. Internal hurdles, like getting buy-in from key stakeholders and finding the best platform to drive solutions, takes dedication and perseverance. Meet Dani Ladwig, the Executive Director of Learning at Blair Community Schools, as she shares the journey of discovering and implementing Otus.

Dani is responsible for “everything under the umbrella of teaching, learning, development, and assessment for around 2,000 students.” She comes from a family of educators and spent eight years as a high school English teacher.

Dani on the teaching and learning cycle using Otus.

The Discovery

While this is Blair’s first year with Otus, Dani’s first touchpoint was four years ago. She loved the vision and product but knew that to get buy-in, it would take time, feedback, and input from teachers. That’s when she started building Professional Learning Communities (PLCs). 

As the PLCs grew together and became aligned around assessing students based on standards, teachers and school leaders found themselves running into a familiar issue: fragmentation. When Dani asked for feedback, her teachers shared:

Quote "We have piles of papers and stacks of tests, how do we get through hundreds of these?" on a white background with colorful shapes decorating the edges of the image.

They needed a solution to make assessing students easier.

The Entry-point

Every school or district’s point of entry to Otus is a little different. In Dani’s case, she was seeking one system for assessments along with a standards-based grading solution. As her PLCs dug into the edtech market, Otus became the clear front-runner. 

The Onboarding

Every district that implements Otus is paired with a dedicated Technology Coach to assist with all things onboarding. From training to tech, these coaches support districts like Dani’s as they introduce Otus to their community. 

She explains, “everyone at Otus is so willing to support and answer questions. They are very patient and understanding. Otus makes you feel like you’re it. You’re the focus. Whatever our needs are, Otus will meet them.”

Quote "From my seat, the people at Otus were a big thing. They were just easy to work with." on a white background with colorful shapes decorating the edges of the image.

The Growth

At a recent board meeting presentation, Dani shared that teachers “blew me away with what they had done. They were using the assessments, the analytics, the gradebook. It was phenomenal.”

She explains that teachers started to use language like “Otus tells me what my students know, and I can look item-by-item. I can see the visual of which standards I didn’t cover well and know where the re-teaching needs to happen.”

For Dani, encouraging teachers to build assessments in Otus and being patient in an especially trying year has paid off. In just one year, their usage has been staggering:

The Support

Support does not end at onboarding. Dani works closely with an Account Manager, who acts as a partner for future initiatives, troubleshooting, and more. It’s not uncommon for an Account Manager to provide support during curriculum meetings, solving problems as an educational partner. 

Her teachers also feel that level of support with our Client Services team. During school days, teachers can quickly chat in to get actual, real human assistance in a very short amount of time. From building assessments to guiding teachers, Otus aims to provide the best support as efficiently as possible.

Quote "I don't think I have ever had this experience with a product." on a white background with colorful shapes decorating the edges of the image.

The Future

Dani shared a couple of keys to moving forward, including empowering super users of Otus to provide peer support. Teachers shared with Dani that they believed this building-level support will help as they expand into using other features of Otus in the future.

In the end, for Dani, it comes down to having daily, data-driven discussions around teaching and learning.

Dani explains what she’s most excited for in the future with Otus.

Otus is one K-12 learning platform to teach, grade, analyze, and plan. Interested in bringing Otus to your school community? Request a demo below, and let’s chat.

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