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Quarterly Update
Spring 2014

Dear TLA friends,

One of our main goals is to live up to our organization's name and embody urgency and efficiency in our efforts to bring high-quality blended learning to America's 50 million public school students. We are accelerating on all fronts!

A good example of our recent work is the significant investment we made in four human capital organizations. We are addressing a critical gap in the ecosystem: how will teachers get the support and professional development they need to thrive in blended classrooms and help students to succeed? By investing in these human capital organizations as a cohort, we will help them achieve a bigger collective impact than they would in isolation. TLA will help coordinate design activities at the beginning of the process, share lessons learned as things proceed, and eventually test and propagate project outputs. We bring this capacity building to each of our focus areas and see it as a key step in accelerating the development of the ecosystem.


With a strong, passionate team pushing full-steam-ahead on finding solutions to the barriers to blended learning, we now turn our focus to fundraising. We need to fund many other organizations across the value chain and ensure these solutions will be scalable and profoundly improve student learning. We look forward to working with you on this remarkable opportunity.

With appreciation,



Scott Ellis               Joe Wolf

CEO                       President 


Recent Activities

Human Capital Investments

In March, TLA Partner Beth Rabbitt announced a nearly $2 million series of investments in the human capital sector to support educators making the transition to blended learning. These investments span a range of projects and organizations in an effort to improve the content, structure, and delivery of blended learning supports at the state, district, and school level.  


Brief summary of each initial investment:  




TLA intends to mobilize additional funding for existing and new human capital investments over the coming months as part of its ongoing effort to create scalable solutions in this sector. Learn more. 


EdTech Buying Guide

TLA Partner Daniel Owens is a contributing author of a  

Digital Learning Now! Smart Series guide to EdTech procurement. The paper also features the expertise of John Bailey, Digital Learning Now!; Carri Schneider and Tom Vander Ark, Getting Smart; and contributing author Rob Waldron, Curriculum Associates. The paper creates a framework for EdTech purchasing by offering practical advice to guide key decisions. The authors share lessons learned from districts that have already made the digital shift, discuss the implications for blended learning, and provide examples of best practices in education policy that support smart procurement.  



District-Wide Implementation Programs

As we reported last quarter, TLA has launched three district partnerships across the country and we have made good progress in the initial phase of blended learning implementation. Our work in Reynoldsburg, Ohio; Greeley, Colorado; and Los Angeles, California has focused on improving district Internet connectivity as well as human capital, communications and planning for the fall. As we work on the ground with these diverse districts, we are beginning to see the key elements of successful paths forward for blending learning at scale. Our ultimate goal is to share these roadmaps broadly with districts across the country.





TLA and the Next Generation Systems Initiative

Over the last several months, TLA has been very involved in the Next Generation Systems Initiative sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The goal of this program is to enable a dozen of America's largest school districts to design and implement personalized learning programs for their schools. TLA CEO Scott Ellis served as an advisor to the consultants working with the districts during the initial design phase of the program, and TLA Partner John Branam reviewed the pre-assessments and strategy proposals of all the districts to identify common challenges and barriers to scale. In the coming months, TLA will share these findings with districts across the country and support several of these districts as they go down the path towards implementation at scale.

What's Next?


Blended Learning Software

While TLA has not focused on this portion of the blended learning equation so far, we have decided it is critical to success in the classroom and it is not being addressed fast enough by the free market. TLA Partner Chris Borunda is working to understand the complex and rapidly evolving educational software space. In defining the rubrics and processes by which schools evaluate software and analyzing existing products and services he aims to identify the market's critical gaps and potential solutions. TLA will assess the role we can play to accelerate progress in this sector.


Our end goal is to have high-quality blended learning in schools across America, improving teaching and learning through personalization, mastery-based progression, and the effective use of technology. To reach the tipping point where state and federal funds are reallocated to scale this transformation, we need to raise significant proof capital to create and fund organizations that support districts in each step of the way to blended learning. 


Over the next several months we will be reaching out to individuals and organizations that share our belief in the power and promise of blended learning to transform American education. We invite you join us!
Again, thank you for your support!
Scott Ellis, CEO
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