Tom Sundstrom is the founder, lead system engineer and President of SundRy Education.
If you had a balky transmission, and didn’t know anything about cars, the first thing to do might be to take it all apart, examine all the parts, and put it back together. So you would understand how it was supposed to work.
We at SundRy Education are not mechanics. We are not educators. We are system engineers.
With education, we are like the little green man from Mars. We look, and we say, “What is all this? How does it work? What’s it for?”
And, being ornery little Martians, we have to say: “Why is this working so badly? Why do only 40 to 43% get a decent education? Are the kids that stupid?” Of course they’re not stupid.
And the teachers aren’t stupid either. Nor the principals, superintendents, education profs and big brains behind them. But there’s one thing they’re not.
They’re not engineers.
Engineers build bridges. They like bridges to stay standing. If a bridge falls down, they get upset.
If 60% of the bridges they built were to fall down, they’d get plumb hysterical. That’s because engineers like things to work.
Engineers think in terms of systems. If an engineer looked at a working school, he’d think of it as a vast assembly of parts, many of them interlocked and working in fixed relations to one another. An engineer would think about process. He’d think about purpose. He’d want the thing to work.
SundRy Education LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of SundRy, Inc., a small system engineering business. Our interest in solving the problem with persistently low student outcomes from our education system drove ten years of internal research and development. That effort resulted in identification of the A·B·D core principals and the system we have designed and vetted around them. SundRy Education LLC was specifically formed to develop the A·B·D system for teachers as a cloud-based subscription service using all of our research and design work.
This became a clear path forward after performing a market analysis. The marketplace is filled with products that touch the features that A·B·D offers, but none offer the depth of implementation or the breadth of process integration. Generally, the market is underserved with engineered solutions to education's process problems.
Our education research started in 2003 when we were approached by professionals in the education field who were committed to solving the significant, institutional problems affecting our education system which resulted in high numbers of secondary students leaving school unprepared to succeed in careers or college. We committed to develop a solution to this problem using our system engineering approach as it represented a challenge with significant social benefit. The need was clear.
We worked as a team to pinpoint the problems, investigate the working environments and analyze the existing approaches and available software systems. We worked through direct research and countless meetings with teachers, local and state administrators, policy makers, foundations, think tanks and union representatives. With each step, there was a deeper understanding of the issues. In the process, novel concepts emerged for a new system that initially was called Aligned·By·Design, but has now been shortened to A·B·D.