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“With schools closed until at least April, a top priority of the district is ensuring students’ continuity of learning while they are at home. For students that can’t access online resources at home, getting printed materials is critical to their learning until they can return to the classroom. Through a partnership with custom publisher XanEdu, we were able to print language arts and math academic packets and begin giving them to students in only a few days. We’re grateful for XanEdu’s hard work and its commitment to helping DPSCD students continue learning in the weeks to come.”

Beth Coleman Gonzalez, Assistant Superintendent
Curriculum & Instruction at Detroit Public Schools Community District


In the event that printed materials will help improve your remote learning experience for parents and students, these best practices will help you optimize the production and distribution of those materials while simultaneously providing the most affordable solution possible. 

1. Define the Organization of the Content

Many districts are looking for ways to combine multiple resources into a single packet.   Create and convey your plan for how you want the content files sequentially organized.  This will enable your custom print partner to quickly and accurately convey price quotes and a production timeline.  Some providers may even be able to create a table of contents and paginate your materials to help teacher-student communication.


Some materials may be copyrighted and require copyright licensing.  Identifying the source of your materials and seeking a production partner with professional copyright expertise may be useful to ensure compliance.

2. Identify Required Quantity & Distribution Method

Each packet you create will likely need to be produced in different quantities (e.g. grade-level variations, etc.).  First, define your required quantity by packet/book.  Second, consider how you want to distribute the materials to students:  a central location (e.g. school warehouse); consolidated school-level shipments; direct shipment to student homes. 


Keep in mind that printing can often result in volume-based pricing discounts.  You may want to print more than you think you need up front so you don’t need a second small run that costs more and takes longer. 

3. Choose Print Specifications 

Being flexible on production specifications can accelerate the print timeline and lower costs. During these challenging times, hard choices need to be made between high-quality print products versus speed and affordability. 


There are many print specifications that you could choose from, here are some recommendations to optimize speed and affordability:

  • Black and white instead of color

  • Use house paper stock

  • Select efficient trim size (your production partner can advise)

  • Go without a cover stock

  • Select staples for your binding

4. Distribution

Distribution and pack-out requirements to large school districts can be complex, in many cases, with 50+ schools receiving a combination of multiple titles in different quantities.  Select a partner who has experience providing these services to help you streamline the process and make sure the right questions are asked up front to ensure your delivery goes smoothly. 


Create a roadmap (e.g. spreadsheet) that defines which locations will receive which packets and at what quantities.  And consider the higher costs of shipping to multiple locations as an additional budgetary element.


About XanEdu

XanEdu’s K-12 CustomBook Solutions makes education personalized and affordable by giving districts and states control to create materials tailored to the unique needs of their students, rather than asking students to adapt to a standard, off-the-shelf resource. Working with more than 1,200 education institutions nationally, XanEdu helps learners at all levels of education access high-quality, student-centered, innovative learning resources.


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"Finding a reliable partner that got the materials where they needed to be on time removed a major source of stress during a very stressful time."

Kasey Mengel, Special Assistant to the Chief Academic Officer at BCPS