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May 30, 2018 – ECS Learning Systems, Developers of STAAR MASTER, Acquires PREPWORKS to Create Industry-Leading Adaptive K-12 Test-Prep Offerings

Asteria Education, Inc., DBA ECS Learning Systems, the leading Integrated Standards Prep™ company and developer of STAAR MASTER, announced today the acquisition of Miami-based PREPWORKS, an international, award winning education technology company. The combination adds personalized learning to ECS Learning Systems’ approach to its test preparation offerings. It also expands PREPWORKS’ Learning Positioning System® (LPS), currently focused on seventh to twelfth grade End-of-Course Tests, into the critical developmental lower grades. By combining the strengths of both companies, ECS Learning Systems will offer a new kind of blended, personalized test preparation solution that aligns with rigorous State, and College and Career readiness standards.

Commenting on the transaction, ECS Learning Systems’ President and CEO David Cumberbatch, formerly of ACT, said, “Acquiring PREPWORKS allows us to expand ECS Learning Systems’ offerings into high school and the addition of LPS accelerates our mission to help all students achieve academic success harnessing the power of the latest educational technology. We will continue our investment in the industry-leading LPS computer adaptive learning platform, as we transform STAAR MASTER and TEST SMART® into our complete suite of K through 12 blended offerings.” 

PREPWORKS’ Founder and CEO Tracy LaFlamme Ortega will join ECS Learning Systems as Chief Product Officer, and PREPWORKS Michael Penney will join ECS Learning Systems maintaining his role as CTO. 

“We are proud to join the ECS Learning Systems family of education leaders and distinct brands,” said LaFlamme Ortega. “The combination enables both companies to reach our mutual goal of making learning easy and accessible through cutting-edge educational technology. PREPWORKS’ LPS facilitates the science of one-to-one learning by leveraging artificial intelligence that can personalize a student’s path through the curriculum. Together, our educational solutions can scale and continue to grow, providing all learners the opportunity for better academic achievement.”

ECS Learning Systems has also provided bilingual supplemental materials for Spanish-speaking students in Texas for over 20 years. Through the acquisition, ECS Learning Systems plans to continue to serve the national community of bilingual Hispanic students and hopes to expand the company’s efforts in the coming years.

Available immediately from ECS Learning Systems are the STAAR MASTER and TEST SMART® solutions for Grades 1 to 8 and PREPWORKS high school programs in PSAT, SAT, ACT, Algebra I, Geometry, Civics, Biology, and U.S. History. Additional core courses are in development.



April 12, 2018 – ECS Learning Systems, Developers of STAAR MASTER, Partner with Learning Blade to bo Bring Leading STEM Solution to Texas

ECS Learning Systems, a leading Integrated Standards Prep™ company in Texas and the developer of STAAR MASTER®, today announced a partnership with Learning Blade®. Learning Blade is an online STEM career awareness system that provides teachers with a digital solution to engage students and build awareness in STEM and Computer Science careers. Learning Blade uses STEM-based missions to enable project-based learning to solve real-world STEM challenges. At the end of these missions, student deficiencies in core subject areas are diagnosed and teachers can be pointed to the recommended STAAR MASTER® Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) aligned material.

Next week, April 16-18, ECS Learning Systems is attending the ASU+GSV Summit in San Diego to discuss the partnership. Further, CEO, David Cumberbatch is presenting on ECS Learning Systems expansion plans, and how strategic partnerships like Learning Blade drives student interest, and proven solutions like STAAR MASTER® translates that interest into improved test scores during the Basics: Growth / Venture Track on Monday, April 16 starting at 3:00 in Harbor I.

“ECS Learning Systems believes in the power of blended learning to transform education for ALL students and this partnership with Learning Blade reinforces that vision,” said David Cumberbatch, CEO of ECS Learning Systems. “The partnership with Learning Blade drives relevance and interest in Math and Science for boys and girls of all backgrounds and that translates into improved scores for students preparing them for high demand careers in STEM.”

STAAR MASTER® prepares students for the rigors of the Texas STAAR assessment with confidence to achieve the highest scores. As a comprehensive preparatory system for the STAAR evaluation, STAAR MASTER® covers all STAAR-eligible TEKS and prepares students from grades 1 through 8. STAAR MASTER® provides authentic test practices, an easy to use lesson format and open-ended items for expanded student responses.

Learning Blade grows interest and sharpens skills for STEM by delivering excitement for STEM education for students and provides fun ways to understand STEM careers. The company’s validated, unique approach to STEM addresses the key question affecting student performance: “Why are Science and Math important?” Learning Blade demonstrates the relevance of academics to careers, helps prepare students with the required academic skills and aligns to all states’ middle and early high school standards.

“Learning Blade has been proven to double the number of students who want to be in a high-demand STEM career,” said Sheila Boyington, co-founder of Learning Blade. “Working with ECS Learning Systems and STAAR MASTER®, we look forward to expanding this program into Texas to grow our usage in 30 states including two statewide programs in Arkansas and Tennessee. We believe this partnership will have a positive impact in students’ lives and better prepare them for STEM education and career opportunities.”

Learning Blade requires minimal teacher training and classroom materials and is complementary to project- or lab-based activities. Used in combination with STAAR MASTER®, these solutions allow a teacher to create a highly effective blended-learning approach to STEM education. This solution is intended for public, charter, and private school classroom usage, and could also be suited for summer enrichment programs.

The high demand for experts in science, technology, engineering and math is expected to continue, requiring exposure to STEM careers earlier in the educational process. STEM-related careers command higher wages and the Learning Blade program delivers a focused, pro-active approach that resonates with children and in turn benefits society. In conjunction with STAAR MASTER® Companion and Student Practice Books for reading, math, writing, social studies, and science, students will be prepared and ready for Texas’ assessment tests.



February 28, 2018 – ECS Learning Systems, Developers of STAAR MASTER, Acquired by Asteria Education.

ECS Learning Systems, a leading integrated test prep company in Texasd, today announced Asteria Education, Inc. has acquired substantially all of the assets of ECS Learning Systems, Inc and Novel Units, LLC to provide a platfor for natioanl expansion.  Asteria Education, Inc. continues to do business as ECS Learning Systems.

The new ECS Learning Systems team is evaluating additional acquisitions and is making substantial investments to nationally enhance and expand its STAAR MASTER®, TestSMART® and Novel Units® supplemental education products. The team plans to modernize and diversify the product portfolio in order to aggressively grow its client base through an expanded multi-state sales strategy. In addition to the updated offerings, ECS Learning Systems has started the development of a personalized, digital learning platform for its bi-lingual Integrated Standards Prep™ offerings. ECS Learning Systems’ objective is to offer the new digital, adaptive learning solutions as a companion to its leading paper-based products to facilitate blended learning and instruction. ECS Learning Systems is also in discussions with partners to enhance its literacy, STEM, early childhood development and Special Education offerings. Blended learning has proven to be the most effective learning delivery model today, and personalized education on adaptive learning platforms is at the cutting edge of innovation in the Ed-Tech industry. Next week (March 5th-7th) at the SXSW EDU conference in Austin, Texas, ECS Learning Systems is presenting its existing product line, new vision, and expansion strategies in booth 231.

ECS Learning Systems is led by a seasoned executive management team and advisors who bring a mix of technology and education experience from Microsoft, K12 Inc., IBM, and Apple. Chief Executive Officer David Cumberbatch, a former executive at ACT, the leader in college and career assessment, brings over 20 years of experience. Mr. Cumberbatch has been a trendsetter in the technology and education sectors with the last 10 years of his career focused on innovative digital education business models. Sam Barnes joins as Chief Operating Officer and brings years of expertise in digital education and leadership in growth initiatives. As Chief Business Development Officer, Mary Jo Eldridge leads the areas of strategic partnerships, corporate and business development and government relations. To complete the team, Dr. Mary Michael Pontzer and Dr. Robert Sapp, have joined as senior advisors.

“Leveraging the expertise with STAAR MASTER in Texas, TestSMART, and Novel Units nationally, our fundamental goal is to offer quality educational solutions throughout the US market and to leverage the latest innovations in adaptive learning and educational technology, marking a new direction for ECS Learning Systems,” said David Cumberbatch, CEO. “I am passionate about the potential for technology to transform education for every student, regardless of background, not just in the US but globally. The company’s mission is to help ALL students achieve academic success.”

ECS Learning Systems pioneered the concept of Integrated Test Prep, which approaches test preparation through six stages: Diagnose, Teach, Practice, Evaluate, Remediate, and Reinforce. The company’s test prep materials build upon these six stages and then go deeper into the core learning required by the standards. Due to of this new strategic methodology, ECS Learning Systems has seen tremendous results over the years and now plans to extend it to go beyond the test and incorporate mastery of all of the core standards. This new extended approach is called “Integrated Standards Prep™”. ECS Learning Systems successfully developed a diverse portfolio of supplemental and test prep materials for reading, writing, mathematics, science, literacy, and critical thinking skills that includes hundreds of activity books, workbooks, and standards practice tests.

The company’s new vision advances this approach to Integrated Standards Prep™. This fresh focus demonstrates a commitment to quality educational solutions that build core knowledge fully aligned to the state standards but goes a step further to ensure students can complete the test with confidence. ECS Learning Systems also remains committed to supporting teachers with their educational solutions, designed by and for teachers supported by independent scientific research.

Experts predict the broader tutoring and test prep market to grow by over 10% annually through 2020 driven by increased competition for college entry, the expansion of school choice and the growth of online options. Another trend driving this development is improved national and state funding and the Every Student Succeeds Act policy of high stakes state testing for accountability and teacher performance measurement. As the Integrated Standards Prep™ company, ECS Learning Systems collaborates with teachers to ensure that ALL students can meet and exceed the standards and fulfill their potential.



October 27, 2014 – ECS Learning Systems, Inc. was recently honored by the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at UTSA as a Small Business Leader in the areas of job retention and business development.

“We are proud to be associated with the SBDC at UTSA, and we are extremely pleased with their recognition of what we do,” said company CEO, Sam Mammen.

During 2014, ECS Learning Systems doubled its external sales force, added permanent staff to its editorial and customer care teams, and contracted with a prominent distributor of e-books.

As an educational publishing company with national market reach, ECS Learning Systems continues a commitment to create research-based content that engages students and makes teaching easier.

About Small Business Development Center at UTSA:

The Small Business Development Center at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) assists small- to medium-sized businesses. With the motto “Building the Texas economy, one business at a time,” the SBDC offers entrepreneurs access to professional business advising, training, and networking programs.



September 1, 2014 — ECS Learning Systems, Inc., which creates quality, innovative K–12 resources that make teaching easier, has partnered with sales firm The Waymire Group. The Waymire Group will represent 141 school districts in the Houston area and the Gulf Coast and East Texas regions for ECS and STAAR MASTER®.

The Waymire Group, a family-run business, has served Southeast Texas for more than 25 years. Teachers and school districts can schedule appointments to visit with a Waymire Group sales representatives to review STAAR MASTER samples that can help your classrooms achieve STAAR® success. STAAR MASTER materials have been widely adopted in the Houston, Gulf Coast, and East Texas areas, but this partnership allows us to meet the needs of each classroom by reaching out directly to schools. Call 1-800-688-3224 or email for the name of the sales representative for your district.

STAAR MASTER is trusted by thousands of teachers across Texas. “Great books! My students felt very prepared for the STAAR,” said Alexandra A., an eighth-grade teacher from the Southeast Texas area. “My teachers love STAAR MASTER!” said Karon P., an elementary principal from the Houston area.

STAAR MASTER Student Practice Books are 100% aligned to the eligible TEKS, including the most recent math revisions. These comprehensive and consumable materials help students build test-taking confidence, thereby easing test anxiety. ECS is the Sole Source for the STAAR MASTER Series. To see a complete listing of STAAR MASTER products, visit



February 1, 2012 — ECS Learning Systems, a Bulverde, Texas based publisher, is sure to lessen the anxiety level of teachers who are faced with the challenges of preparing students for the new STAAR® test. ECS recently published the STAAR MASTER® Student Practice Books series. This new series is already a bestseller throughout Texas.

“We spent more than seventeen months in research and development for the STAAR MASTER series. This series has all new challenging content with the added focus on readiness standards and increased rigor to prepare students for success with STAAR. Our team of writers and researchers thoroughly examined the new test’s blueprints and eligible content and created new products that live up to the standards the company set more than 30 years ago,” said Lori Mammen, the editorial director at ECS.

The STAAR MASTER series provides entirely fresh content based on the latest STAAR-eligible Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). “ECS strives to provide educators with easy-to-use and effective materials that make teaching easier,” Mammen said. “During the transition to a new test, teachers seek information not only on practice materials but also about the STAAR test itself. Our Web site has information that helps teachers decipher the new test by providing clear explanations of changes at the question level and total test level, as well as the performance standards,” Mammen continued.

After examining STAAR MASTER samples, an elementary lead teacher from South Texas said, “That was exactly what we were looking for. I shared them with our principal…The material looks challenging. Look forward to placing an order very soon.”

For more information, including detailed sample downloads and customer comments, visit




Conferences & Exhibits

Look for our booth at national conferences and exhibits.

EdExpo - National School Supply & Equipment Association (NSSEA)
March 15-17, 2017
Las Vegas, Nevada

Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association (TEPSA)
June 14-16, 2017
Austin, Texas

Conference for the Advancement of Mathematics Teaching (CAMT)
July 10-12, 2017
Fort Worth, Texas

International Literacy Association (ILA)
July 15-17, 2017
Orlando, Florida

Texas Association for Bilingual Education (TABE)
October 2017

Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE)
November 6-8, 2017
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented (TAGT)
November 29-December 1, 2017
Houston, Texas

Texas Middle School Association Conference (TMSA)
January, 2018

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