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Case Study: Novi Meadows

Organization Profile: Novi Meadows is an upper elementary school with approximately 1,000 fifth and sixth grade students in two separate grade level houses. The school identifies itself as a community of learners — advocating best practices in a child-centered approach to achieve the success of each learner. In February 2007, the Michigan Department of Education recognized Novi Meadows as a Blue Ribbon Exemplary School. Additionally, since the 2002-2003 school year, Novi Meadows has earned a Michigan Department of Education grade of A while making adequate yearly progress (AYP).

Summary: Above all, Novi Meadows values a positive learning environment to encourage student success. With the money donated by, Novi Meadows has been able to finance student scholarships, purchase needed textbooks, support its outdoor education programs and fund a variety of other programs that directly benefit its students., a student photography company, generates high-quality, easy-to-order photos for Novi Meadows while supplementing the school's funding during a time of ongoing budget cuts.

At Novi Meadows Elementary school in Novi, Michigan, administrators are finding creative ways to foster an atmosphere conducive to student growth and achievement.

Despite continuing declines in available district funding, Novi Meadows' relationship with student portrait company affords the school the ability to fund additional classroom needs and student activities.

“Our district cut $3 million in the budget in the past year alone,” said Principal David Ascher. “Our after-school clubs are now pay-to-play because we don't have funding to support those activities. However, we're thankfully able to use money from to help all students take part in activities, especially when they otherwise might not have been able to participate.” is a Michigan-based firm that supplements funding for education to improve the academic environment for children, while providing parents and students with high-quality, affordable pictures. Money contributed by is generated through the sales of student portrait packages. In the 13 years since its founding, has donated more than $9 million to schools like Novi Meadows all across the state of Michigan.

Novi Meadows has received $133,400 from in its 12 years working with the company; money which the school has used to directly benefit students. Some of the schools' materials and programs that have been funded include:

  • Student scholarships
  • Purchase of new textbooks
  • After-school tutoring
  • Outdoor education programs
  • Purchase of classroom easels for reading program

“What I appreciate most about is the company provides money that administrators can use to directly support teachers and students, which is especially important when budgets are stretched thin,” said Tim Falls, former principal of Novi Meadows. “It was a great experience working with the company; the quality and service are just outstanding, and I'm always happy to recommend to other schools.” is able to provide a large return on investment to its customers because it has low processing costs and it takes less of a profit than most portrait companies. Since launching in the fall of 2005, has accepted a fixed fee for each purchased photo package and given the remainder of the cost of these packages directly to the schools it works with.

Beyond providing much-needed and appreciated funding for the school, Ascher said he also values's professionalism and efficiency in executing school picture days.

“Here's what's exciting: we focus on learning at Novi Meadows, so anything that detracts from learning, I want to eliminate. I don't want class interruptions, intercom announcements, or anything like that,” said Ascher. “Picture day could be complete chaos and if it takes too long, we lose learning time. But I can schedule a class to be photographed every two minutes with There are no lines, there are more than enough qualified photographers and the equipment never breaks. Kids are literally out of class for five minutes or less.”

Falls also stressed how impressed he is with how runs its picture days.

“Initially I was hesitant about our switch to from our old portrait vendor, especially because they sent only five cameramen versus the six we were used to,” said Falls. “But photographed all 1,000-plus students before lunch without any problems. The whole process was amazingly fast and easy.”

All schools in the Novi Community School District now work with Though district-wide meetings sometimes bring suggestions for working with other portrait companies, Ascher reports that district principals unanimously respond they want to continue their working relationships with because of the benefits the company brings to their schools.

“I hope all schools will strongly consider working with and I would highly recommend the company to anyone,” said Ascher. “It's a great company with quality service.”