Higher Ground Education Raises $30M Series D; Acquires FreshGrade

Higher Ground Education

Higher Ground Education, Inc., a Lake Forest, Calif.-based network of schools dedicated to Montessori education, raised $30M USD in Series D funding and acquired Kelowna, British Columbia digital portfolio and assessment platform provider FreshGrade.

The round was led by Learn Capital.

The company intends to use the funds to make continued investments in curriculum development, training, technology, and global growth.

Founded in 2011 by Lane Merrifield and Steve Wandler, FreshGrade is a digital portfolio and communication tool that gives parents and teachers a transparent view of student progress. Since its founding in 2011, over 18 million portfolios have been created on FreshGrade with 85,000 teachers and 1.8 million parents actively using the platform. FreshGrade captures learning in any form — be it video, audio, tests or quizzes — and delivers it in a newsfeed format familiar to young students. Its ability to track quantitative and qualitative outcomes makes the platform uniquely positioned to support a high-fidelity Montessori learning experience.

Higher Ground has acquired both the FreshGrade tech product and team.

By acquiring FreshGrade, Higher Ground will be able to invest further in the technology, adding features that expand the scope and reach of the organization’s current offerings and accelerating its mission to power the global growth of Montessori-informed pedagogy and practices.

Led by Ray Girn, CEO and Founder, Higher Ground Education operates Guidepost Montessori, a network of Montessori schools with over 80 locations across the US and China. It has grown into an omni-channel business offering in-person, at-home, and virtual learning options that enable parents, students, and educators to access Montessori-inspired education and training, no matter where they reside.

Since its founding in 2016, the company has opened over 80 locations across the US and Asia, and at-home and virtual learning programs across the globe, serving more than 7,000 students worldwide. It operates Guidepost Montessori, a large network of Montessori schools. In January, the company raised $40M USD in Series C financing and acquired the Altitude Learning LMS technology, along with Altitude’s product and engineering teams, to invest further in high-agency curriculum, pedagogy, and teacher training.