Our Story

One great idea leads to another. In 1975, Joan Hoffman, M.A., opened the School Zone Teacher Store, a retail outlet for teacher supplies. It was for teachers, yes, but the store soon drew parents looking for resources to use at home with their kids. This is where the magic happened! Recognizing a huge, unmet need, Joan and her husband James Hoffman, Ed.D., envisioned a line of educational products that would help parents encourage and reinforce their child’s at-school learning. The rest, as they say, is history. An amazing journey continues to unfold more than 40 years later, thanks to The School Zone Advantage that is part of every product.

The Journey

School Zone presents their first educational products

1979 - School Zone Incorporates

Educators Joan and James Hoffman take their idea to create supplemental educational materials for kids to the bank. They start School Zone Publishing Company!

School Zone office building in 1980

1980 - A New Home for a Booming Business

The demand for School Zone's first-ever series of workbooks is so high that new production facilities must be built!

Walmart storefront

1983 - Workbooks in Every Walmart

As part of Sam Walton's commitment to children's education, Walmart orders School Zone workbooks for all its stores.

James Hoffman, Joan Hoffman and Captain Kangaroo

1986 - To the Rescue for Captain Kangaroo

When the beloved children's show "Captain Kangaroo" comes to an end after running for 29 years, School Zone helps to fund its return in reruns on PBS.

School Zone office building in 1987 with inset of Jog, Frog, Job reading book with cassette tape and Start to Learn videotape

1987 - School Zone Keeps on Growing

School Zone continues to grow and succeed. The warehouse is expanded to six times its original size as School Zone offers more than ever—workbooks, flash cards, early readers, audio and video cassettes, puzzles, and more!

The Big Readiness Book and The Big Phonics Book

1993 - Brand-New Big Books Sell Big

Reception for School Zone's Big Get Ready Workbooks is strong from the get-go. And even today, this Big Workbook series continues to be a best seller!

Alphabet Express box cover, screenshots of software and Apple's 1996 HIDE winner certificate

1996 - Apple Awards Alphabet Express

School Zone expands its offerings by making interactive products. Alphabet Express is the first of these and wins Apple's 1996 HIDE (Human Interface Design Excellence) Award for Most Elegant Product!

School Zone website in 1998

1998 - School Zone Goes Online

School Zone launches its first website and begins to sell its products online.

Staff members accept award

2002 - Interactive Excellence

School Zone continues to receive awards for its carefully crafted interactive products for children. To date, School Zone has received over 100 different awards.

School Zone apps

2010 - Three Apps Ready for the First iPad

For Apple’s highly anticipated iPad launch, School Zone makes an app version of three of its popular software titles. The first-ever iPad releases with these apps available on the App Store.

Charlie & Company main characters

2013 - A Brand-New Show: "Charlie & Company®"

School Zone decides to produce an independent live-action and animated educational series: "Charlie & Company."

Little Scholar tablet with bumper

2014 - Little Scholar® On-the-Go Learning

School Zone continues to innovate by creating a learning tablet packed with award-winning content. Safe, secure and ad-free, the Little Scholar doesn’t even need the internet!

Girl embraces tablet runnin Anywhere Teacher

2015 - The Ultimate Learning Destination

Now anywhere can be a School Zone. At any time, on any device connected to the internet, children and parents can experience School Zone’s fantastic content and curriculum on Anywhere Teacher.

Charlie navigates the cave in the preschool learning path

2019 - Anywhere Teacher Guided Learning Paths

School Zone adds what would be the first of three, teacher-developed, curriculum-based learning paths to its online learning program, so that kids in preschool, kindergarten, and first grade learn what they need to know, when they need to know it, one step at a time!

Preschool and kindergarten full learning program packaging and contents

2021 - Comprehensive Kits: A Classroom Approach

School Zone creates teacher-developed Full Learning Programs for preschool and kindergarten that feature a year of activities in one great package. Just like at school, kids can easily move between books, workbooks, flash cards, games, and cut-and-paste projects.