Project BBQ is changing the way schools track student outcomes

The Project Pool portion of Project BBQ's learning management system. Photo courtesy of Project BBQ.

This story is the first of a series that will look at and profile each of the six startups in NewBoCo’s Fall 2018 accelerator programs.

Project BBQ is a Cedar Rapids-based startup that has developed a learning management system for high school and college students.

The web-based management system primarily works with initiative-based schools where students have a choice of projects to choose from. These projects are then tracked through Project BBQ’s agile project management that also tracks the standards required by the state of Iowa.

Their system also tracks other metrics and standards established by Iowa core, that typically are not tracked by schools at this point. Some of these include critical thinking, communication, creativity and collaboration.

“This is one of the main functions of what we’re doing,” Troy Miller of Project BBQ said. “When teachers are working closely with students on real projects, they’re able to assess those students in these soft-skilled areas that are super important to employers.”

Project BBQ currently has three networks of innovative schools they are working with that fit the mold of the type of schools Project BBQ wants to work with.

“We don’t pretend that Project BBQ is the perfect answer for all these schools,” Miller said.” “But we do think it can be the core of understanding people’s pain points and providing solutions.”

Miller says one of the challenges so far has been figuring out how to implement their management system into already existing management systems that schools have in place.

“Most schools use a learning management system that runs the entire school,” Miller said.” The question then is how can our learning management system work within that ecosystem.”

Project BBQ is one of four companies participating in the most recent cohort of the Iowa Startup Accelerator.

“The main focus right now is identifying our number one hypothesis and making sure that what we believe to be true is actually true before spinning the wheels on half-truths or partial truths,” Miller said. “Another part of the process I’m going through right now even though we have a fully functional beta product is continuing to understand what pain points are out there that we can solve.