Our rich history of serving the educational community dates back to 1974. That’s when our founder, Bill Gilmore, started working out of his San Jose, California, home to provide computerized planning and evaluation services to local school administrators. Bill had been a high school science teacher for over 15 years but left teaching to become a Santa Clara County Office of Education administrator. His firsthand experience with many of the challenges facing educational institutions motivated the creation of Educational Data Systems as a way to service local school districts in two primary areas: (1) criterion-referenced scoring of basic skills achievement tests, and (2) boundary and demographic planning. Bill’s vision was clear: Harness the power of computing to calculate, analyze, and report large volumes of educational data for improved decision-making—all geared toward benefiting students.
Eight years later, Bill incorporated his business and we have continued to expand from there. We added standardized achievement test scoring and educational research to our assessment division’s services, and implemented a new student enrollment forecasting module in our planning division. By 1985, we had started providing printing, shipping, administration, scoring, reporting, and customer support services for large-scale assessments, both as a prime contractor and subcontractor.
Planware Systems LLC was spun off from the planning division of Educational Data Systems in 1996. Bill focused the independent venture on developing and expanding planning software and services to school districts across the United States. As a separate entity, Educational Data Systems continued to offer assessment and educational research services, moving into the areas of large-scale and statewide assessment management, scoring, and reporting.
Planware Systems LLC rejoined Educational Data Systems in January 2014 through a company acquisition, having sold and supported over 200 software installations and conducted numerous forecast and boundary studies for school districts across the United States. For two years, Bill—ever a hands-on leader—served in the role of planning expert to transition the software, contracts, and services into a new planning division within Educational Data Systems, simply called Planware.
Today, Caroline Fahmy (Bill’s daughter) runs Educational Data Systems. Caroline started working with Bill in 1981 and took over as president in 1996. Under her leadership, we moved our headquarters to Morgan Hill, California, expanded our assessment division, and developed several innovative educational software products.
It’s been a long and interesting journey and we have a lot to be proud of. Even as a technology company, our strongest asset is our experienced and expert staff. To give you an idea of our experience and commitment, over half of our 31 employees have been with Educational Data Systems for more than 10 years; and our 6 department directors have been with us on average 22 years.
Though we’ve expanded in size and scope since our origin over 40 years ago, our mission hasn’t wavered: We remain dedicated to providing useful information to educators, allowing them to make informed decisions for the betterment of students.
The year 2020 was a difficult one for our company as schools met the challenges of sheltering in place and remote learning due to the pandemic. For the latter half of the 2019-20 school year and the 2020-21 school year, Assessments were suspended and budgets frozen. As such, we made the very difficult decision to close our business at the end of December 2020. We are proud of our almost five decades of excellent work, and in some ways, excited to start a new chapter.