A teacher’s day doesn’t end with the final bell. That’s what William Zhou realized on his first visit to his high school as an alumnus. William has always had a close relationship with his teachers, ever since coming to Canada without speaking a word of English. Teachers are unsung heroes, often spending many hours outside of class marking, grading, lesson planning, and working on other clerical tasks. William, having just sold his first software-as-a-service (SaaS) company at the age of 18, set out to streamline the workflow that every single teacher has to do daily.
To kickstart the idea, he had to sell it first to the person he knew best: Ryan McKay-Fleming. In 2012, the two would eventually get together in William’s dorm room at the University of Waterloo to brainstorm the first version of Chalk.
The first lines of code for Chalk was written in Velocity Residence, University of Waterloo
Little did the duo know, the education industry is entrenched with dated tools. Entrepreneurs have long struggled to tackle this industry. In the first year, Chalk was looking bleak. William tried to apply what he learned from his previous SaaS startup, only to find out the quirks of the education industry. Since then, Chalk has evolved over many iterations and uprooted many traditional SaaS practices.
Late nights at the Velocity Garage building early iterations of standards for teachers
Chalk is a planning and analytics platform that enables K-12 schools and districts to develop a cohesive, standards-aligned map for curriculum and instruction, and receive actionable real-time data, to support timely adjustments and sustained success at all stages throughout a student’s academic journey. From small, independent schools to large, national school networks, Chalk is behind the academic strategies influencing millions of students.