February 6, 2008
Donna Blevins, a mother of three, former teacher, and public official, observed the challenges of the American educational system and resolved to devote herself to improving it. Applying the latest research on early childhood learning and brain development, she began working on her home computer in 1991 to create a unique educational program. The result was a learning system that combined proven teaching methods and computer-aided technology to stimulate the human brain when learning capabilities are optimal.
That first year a computerized curriculum was built and tested by 12 families with young children. Buoyed by the system’s positive impact on the first users, Blevins began offering private lessons using her unique program in 1992.
Throughout the 1990s Blevins and a growing team of experts honed the process through practical use, additional research and development, and technological design improvements. More than 1,500 children were observed and their educational progress tracked as they used the Be Smart Kids learning system. In 1998 Dr. Robert McElrath, former Tennessee Commissioner of Education for Governor Lamar Alexander (who later served as U.S. Secretary of Education), came on board to help assess and build the process.
Ross Perot, owner of world-renowned technology company Perot Systems, was introduced to Be Smart Kids in 1999. An advocate of early childhood learning, he agreed to have his company design and build a computerized model for delivering the process worldwide. Ultimately, more than 50 of Perot’s computer experts from around the world spent nearly two years working on the design and later building the whole system. Perot was so pleased with the final product that he presented Be Smart Kids learning systems to the East Dallas Community Inner-City School, an innovative school that he supports.
With its incorporation in 1998, Be Smart Kids Inc. began opening learning centers, offering private lessons using the trademark learning system. The company also began licensing use of the system and training teachers for on-site learning centers at day care facilities, preschools, Head Start programs, and elementary schools. The home edition of the electronic learning system was introduced in 2001. Today the Be Smart Kids Learning System is in homes worldwide, enabling parents to harness the computer to develop their own child’s love for learning.