Our journey to PayGrade

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As almost all new teachers can relate to, Janessa Boulay struggled with classroom management her first year of teaching in 2012. The summer between her first and second year, she was determined to find a better way to manage her class. She also had to keep in mind that she needed to make lessons engaging, teach all of the required content, integrate social-emotional learning, keep track of student work, grade assignments, have sharp pencils and so much more!

Overwhelmed by it all, Janessa was introduced to the idea of a classroom economy.
After a year of building out her economy, complete with jobs to help out with daily classroom tasks, charge bills like desk rent, give positive and negative action items based on student behavior, and run auctions to reward positive behaviors, she regained control of her class. Not only did her classroom economy create a “buy-in” for students, but she was teaching a skill set she truly believed in, personal finance.
After seeing the immensely positive impact an economy was having on her students financial smarts, Janessa realized the importance of teaching finance to students when they first realized the value of the dollar. She also thought her paper system was a little outdated as she was doing all of her real banking online. She Googled "online classroom economy" and nothing came up. She soon realized that there was a need for an online virtual banking system for students, one that could reach the lower grade levels as well as become more advanced in financial concepts as students grew older.
So, Janessa teamed up with her husband, Tim, to move her paper economy to the web.
Tim and Janessa spent countless nights and weekends working on the PayGrade platform, and then immediately tested the program in her classroom. Her students loved "adulting" and spending their savings on auction items like going to the movies, water world or out to lunch. Students especially loved her HOA club (only students who bought their desks could participate) that met once a month over lunch and discussed money concepts and new ideas around their classroom economy.
After many software iterations, they released a platform to the public that focused on teaching kids basic finance while helping teachers manage their classrooms.
By the end of the year, teachers all over Colorado were using PayGrade (formerly BoulayBank). Schools were adopting the platform as a school-wide behavior management system, personal finance course, entrepreneur platform and more.
The success of PayGrade is thanks to word of mouth in the teaching community - resulting in thousands of schools using the software around the world.
Janessa and Tim truly believe that through hands-on financial education, PayGrade can transform students into money-smart community members.

Why the name PayGrade?

PayGrade was formerly called BoulayBank. Once the platform started taking off, Janessa and Tim realized that a new name was in order. Most people didn’t know what Boulay meant. The Name: “PayGrade” is a step within a compensation system that defines the amount of money a person will receive - exactly what students on the software experience.

Why the .io?

.io is the most popular technology domain extension and it stands for input/output which is exactly what PayGrade represents: the more input (effort) students give, the more output ($) they will earn throughout the year.
The team at PayGrade hopes that with this software students will be prepared to step into the real-world as prepared individuals with some seriously awesome money smarts.