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Quarterly Update
Fall 2014

Dear TLA Friends,

We are extremely pleased to welcome the support of several new TLA funders and excited to share with you the tremendous growth in our work over the past few months. Our initial investments are producing tangible results and leading to a growing collection of resources for districts to implement blended learning. We have made our next series of investments in human capital and are delighted with the progress in this critical part of the ecosystem.


We are also garnering state-level attention and recently embarked on an ambitious initiative to make Rhode Island the first fully "blended learning state" in the nation. In an interview with the Hechinger Report, Deborah A. Gist, R.I. Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education, eloquently summed up the vision of statewide blended learning implementation:


"Our vision is that all Rhode Island students will be pursuing flexible, student-centered pathways that are proficiency-based...We envision some form of blended learning going on in every school in the state...All over Rhode Island we have teachers who are breaking new ground and sharing what they are doing with each other...Technology can never take the place of great teachers. It is a tool for our great teachers to use."


As we witness this growing commitment to blended learning at all levels of education, we can truly envision a not too distant future where we no longer need to call it "blended learning" - we will just call it "learning."


With ongoing appreciation,



Scott Ellis               Joe Wolf

CEO                       President 


p.s. Read more about our R.I. partnership in this Hechinger Report Q & A with R.I. Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Deborah Gist.

Recent Activities

TLA State Framework

In August, TLA Partner Lisa Duty released A Framework for Cultivating High-Quality Blended Learning at the State Level to help state leaders better understand the role they can play in a transition to blended learning. 


While policy is an important driver of change, state actors can act as catalysts in a number of other ways to spur the implementation of high-quality learning. 


TLA's framework is the foundation of our relationship with states that are committed to using blended learning to improve student outcomes in an innovative culture.



Rhode Island: First Fully "Blended Learning State"

Along with the release of the state framework, TLA announced its partnership with the Rhode Island Department of Education to make R.I. the first "blended learning state" in the nation. The partnership will initially engage in two major initiatives:

  • Developing an integrated Five-Year Strategic Plan for Rhode Island that will position blended learning as an engine for system change, and
  • Creating a communications campaign intended to accelerate blended learning throughout the state. 

In a recent blog, Rhode Island Chief Deborah A. Gist and TLA's Lisa Duty explore Rethinking the Education Experience of Future Generations.



Partnership with the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) and the Colorado Education Initiative (CEI)

The Learning Accelerator will build on its work in Colorado by partnering with CDE and CEI to advance the state's innovation in learning strategy. Our investment will initially fund a consumer engagement initiative to explore the priorities and educational needs of students and families as Colorado districts increasingly redesign, re-engineer and rethink education to create a system that responds to the individual needs of every student. 



TLA Recognizes Ohio as a Partner in Innovation

The Learning Accelerator will also build on its work in Ohio by providing support to the Ohio Blended Learning Network (OBLN). Our investment will fund research and stakeholder engagement that will inform the development of a roadmap to high-quality blended learning. 



TLA and 2Revolutions Release Framework for Building a Culture of Innovation

As districts and states move forward in their efforts to innovate, they are asking a critical question: "How do I create a culture of innovation?" Entitled "So You Think You Want to Innovate? Emerging Lessons and a New Tool for State and District Leaders Working to Build a Culture of Innovation," this publication provides an analysis of what innovation culture means within the context of education; describes why it is essential; and introduces a new framework that defines the factors that comprise a robust culture of innovation. 


"Innovation culture is critical to the future of education," says lead author and TLA Partner Lisa Duty. "We need to learn to thrive on building and testing new solutions to education's most challenging problems. But the reality is that this is incredibly complex work." The publication features a comprehensive self-assessment tool - rich with key examples from inside the education sector and beyond - that provides guideposts for education leaders to find where they are on the path to building a culture of innovation.



New Human Capital Investments

In September, TLA announced its second round of investments in the human capital space. "Our initial human capital strategy aims to provide districts and schools with essential, high-quality supports for building the effectiveness of blended learning teachers and leaders," said TLA Partner Beth Rabbitt. "These grants will help us further this goal."


Friday Institute -  With support from TLA, the Friday Institute is launching a national blended learning training program for school leaders. Friday will pilot this program starting in January, 2015 with 5-6 cohorts, working with local partners (including school districts, states, professional associations, and other nonprofits) who will be selected through an open application process. Applications for participation are due on November 15, 2014. More information is available here.


CFY- Power My Learning - This national nonprofit organization helps students, teachers, and parents use digital learning to improve educational outcomes.  TLA's grant will help the organization leverage its existing student-facing PowerMyLearning platform to create a personalized professional development approach for educators.


Highlander Institute -  This follow-up grant will fully fund the organization's efforts to launch and sustain a statewide, Rhode Island teacher fellowship. Learn more about the Fuse Fellowship.


What's Next?


National Presence 

The Learning Accelerator has recently increased its involvement in federal efforts to promote personalized and blended learning in America's schools. Our work includes facilitating the effective disbursement of nearly $2 billion in corporate commitments in support of President Obama's ConnectEd program. We are also supporting efforts to assess how to maximize the effectiveness of the administration's Future Ready Schools Initiative in support of the ConnectED goals. 



We are making exciting progress building our ranks of financial supporters, but still have work to do to reach our goals and the tipping point where state and federal education dollars can be reallocated to bring the power and promise of blended learning to scale. 

Again, thank you for your support!
Scott Ellis, CEO
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