July 21, 2015

Catapult Learning and SESI Merger

CAMDEN, N.J. – Catapult Learning, a leading technology-enabled K–12 services provider, and Specialized Education Services, Inc. (SESI), a premier provider of alternative and special education services, today announced a definitive agreement to merge, resulting in the creation of the unsurpassed industry leader of contracted instructional services in the U.S.

The new organization, to be officially known as Catapult Learning, Inc., is uniquely positioned to deliver an unprecedented portfolio of proven effective programs and services all under one umbrella and all targeted to improve academic achievement and performance. The merger of the two educational services providers also reflects a growing trend for school districts to outsource instructional services for struggling students and those students with special needs.

“This is what districts are telling us they want—services that complement their programs and can support any low-performing student, regardless of learning barrier. With Catapult Learning and SESI working as one, we can make sure districts across the country have access to just that,” said Stuart Udell, CEO, Catapult Learning.

Combined, the merged company has 5,500 employees, including teachers, counselors, and support service professionals, operates 80 schools, and serves over 300,000 students nationwide.

Founded in 1976, Catapult Learning is a full-service instructional provider of proven intervention, professional development, assessment, and dropout prevention and recovery programs, with a special focus on struggling and at-risk students. Catapult Learning’s school and district partners consistently report significant student gains, with annual pre- to post-intervention standardized test scores rising an average of 12 normal-curve equivalent (NCE) points in math and 11 in reading over the past eight academic years. Additionally, over 95% of Catapult Learning partners renew their contracts, and the average tenure of partnership is 17 years.

For 30 years, SESI—headquartered in Yardley, PA—has been expertly and holistically meeting the academic, behavioral, and emotional needs of K–12+ students facing intensive learning, language, and social challenges. Implementing a signature education model that incorporates supportive therapies and life skills training, SESI emphasizes guiding students to success in and out of the classroom and optimally preparing them for next steps. SESI has an impressive graduation rate of 79%–98% for special education students (across all SESI schools) and a partner retention rate of more than 90%.

“The ability to broaden our array of services with a company that shares our vision and values with the highest integrity is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Our united organization brings an impressive national track record of helping students and districts achieve the best outcomes,” said Michael Kaufman, Ph.D., President and CEO, SESI.

JMI Equity, The Carlyle Group, and Chicago Growth Partners remain as equity sponsors of the combined organization. They are joined by new investment from Juggernaut Capital.

Signal Hill served as an advisor to Catapult Learning on this transaction. BMO Capital Markets advised SESI on the transaction.


Grimm & Grove Communications
Carrie Hartman, 215-704-0917