Hill Reading (HillRAP) Program Acquisition
Acquisition adds new digital solution to the company’s phonics ecosystem and expands its offerings to support Tier 3 intervention
Lincolnshire, IL & Durham, NC– January 18, 2023 – 95 Percent Group LLC, the trusted source for comprehensive, proven literacy solutions, today announced the acquisition of the Hill Reading Achievement Program (HillRAP) from Hill Learning Center, an education nonprofit in Durham, North Carolina, that has served students with learning and attention challenges for 45 years. HillRAP is a technology-based, structured literacy intervention solution for students who are persistently struggling to learn to read, including those with dyslexia. It will be supported by 95 Percent Group’s trusted professional learning resources. HillRAP represents the first acquisition for 95 Percent Group, a portfolio company of Leeds Equity Partners.
“This begins an exciting chapter for 95 Percent Group: we are entering a new market and opening up greater opportunities to serve more schools and students who need us,” said Brad Lindaas, CEO. “HillRAP not only provides us with a mission-aligned product that supports our overall vision for offering schools a comprehensive phonics ecosystem, but it also gives us a proven digital solution. 95 Percent Group will invest in the ongoing development and innovation of HillRAP, expanding its capabilities to improve the literacy skills and lives of more students.”
Hill Learning Center was the first school in North Carolina dedicated to supporting students with learning and attention challenges. It developed the distinctive methodology that underpins HillRAP to serve students in its innovative school and began training teachers in other settings in 2001 with input from public school teachers and administrators. Today more than 1,000 teachers across 11 states use HillRAP to help students improve their reading skills.
“We are proud of the work that we have done to advance literacy for students with persistent reading difficulties, and HillRAP has been an important part of that. Our vision has always been to reach as many students with learning and attention challenges as possible. We are grateful to have the opportunity to expand HillRAP’s reach and potential through its acquisition by 95 Percent Group while also doubling down on our mission and impact locally,” said Beth Anderson, Executive Director of Hill Learning Center.
Schools and districts have long relied upon 95 Percent Group’s teacher-centric resources and robust professional learning to support Tiers 1 and 2 literacy instruction grounded in the science of reading. As a Tier 3 intervention program, HillRAP provides direct, explicit, mastery-based instruction in phonological awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.
As a digital solution, it supports teachers delivering individualized instruction in-person or remotely, while equipping teachers with data-driven insights into student learning and progress. Teachers deploy HillRAP in 45-minute blocks, four to five days per week, using a 4:1 student to teacher ratio. In line with product offerings in the 95 Percent Group product ecosystem, HillRAP has a strong basis in evidence. Third-party evaluations of HillRAP in public schools have demonstrated positive impacts on students’ reading skills and show that students working with HillRAP improve at faster rates than students not using the program.
“We are excited about this acquisition of HillRAP, given its track record of increasing student literacy levels. HillRAP’s Tier 3 intervention instruction, with evidence-based methodologies and digital innovation, supports learners with the greatest needs. This is particularly important as reading is necessary for students to succeed in all school subjects and is critical for success later in life,” said Scott VanHoy, Partner of Leeds Equity Partners.
95 Percent Group’s acquisition of HillRAP from Hill Learning Center officially closed in December 2022. Five members of the Hill Learning Center team, who support HillRAP, joined 95 Percent Group in January 2023. Hill Learning Center will remain an independent nonprofit and continue its core mission of delivering research-based programs and instruction for students and educators. Hill will hold a perpetual license with 95 Percent Group to continue using HillRAP with its own students as well as with select schools and districts, primarily in North Carolina.
About 95 Percent Group
Founded in 2005, 95 Percent Group is an education company whose mission is to help educators identify and address the needs of all readers. Using an approach that is aligned with structured literacy, the company focuses on providing educators with whole-class and small-group literacy solutions as well as developing foundational knowledge about The Science of Reading to deliver evidence and research-based instructional strategies. The company’s professional development, diagnostic assessments, skill continua, and explicit instructional materials strengthen MTSS/RTI frameworks and ensure that students receive targeted intervention instruction to close skill gaps. In 2021, 95 Percent Group secured a significant investment from Leeds Equity Partners to further develop its literacy curriculum and invest in new digital solutions. For more information, visit https://www.95percentgroup.com/.
About Hill Learning Center
Founded in 1977, Hill Learning Center’s mission is to transform students with learning differences into confident, independent learners. Named in honor of founder George Watts Hill, Hill Learning Center began as a program of Durham Academy, becoming an independent nonprofit in 1998.
It pursues its mission through a range of K-12 student and educator programs, providing equitable and differentiated, research-based practices for supporting students with learning differences and/or attention challenges. Hill also has three affiliate sites that will continue to deliver its unique school model in Wilmington, NC (Hill School of Wilmington), Greenville, NC (Greenville Learning Center), and Geneva, Switzerland (Oak Hill). For more information, visit https://www.hillcenter.org/.
About Leeds Equity Partners
Leeds Equity is a New York-based private equity firm dedicated exclusively to partnering with management teams in the education, training, and information services industries (the “Knowledge Industries”). The firm was founded in 1993 and currently manages over $4 billion of capital across a broad spectrum of companies within the Knowledge Industries. Leeds Equity seeks to leverage its sector-focused expertise and market insights to create long-term value for its partner companies and investors. For additional information on Leeds Equity Partners, see http://www.leedsequity.com/.