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Quarterly Update
Summer 2014

Dear TLA friends,


Nearly two years ago TLA started on a journey of innovation, a quest to transform teaching and learning to benefit America's students and teachers. As we look back at where we started and observe the blended learning ecosystem today, the progress has been breathtaking. Districts across the country are getting interested in this work and upgrading their technology infrastructures. Teachers are starting to incorporate software in daily instruction, and to re-imagine teaching and learning. And the pace of innovation is accelerating.


But the ecosystem required to enable this transformation is still underdeveloped and less organized than it needs to be. When districts turn to the marketplace and ask, "Who can help us take all the necessary steps to implement blended learning?" they still struggle to find organizations that can help them at scale. There are critical gaps in the ecosystem and we are committed to filling those gaps.


Over the last several months we have made numerous initial investments. The next step towards scale is to accelerate this part of our work, mobilizing the capital needed to enable it. We are incredibly enthusiastic about our progress and heartened by the support we are receiving from funders. Thanks for your partnership as we continue this important work!

 

With appreciation,

 

 

Scott Ellis               Joe Wolf

CEO                       President 

 

Recent Activities

TLA Blended Learning Snapshot: EdTech Procurement in Houston  

In June, we released "TLA Blended Learning Snapshot: EdTech Procurement in Houston," (HISD) which highlights the district's success with purchasing education technology devices. The snapshot is a real-world example of how to follow the recommendations found in the Smart Series Guide to EdTech Procurement, which TLA Partner Daniel Owens contributed to in the spring. The snapshot captures the district's procurement and implementation processes, as well as challenges HISD had to overcome, and includes a list of key recommendations for other districts to follow.   

  

   

 

TLA District Stakeholder Blended Learning Readiness Assessments
Gathering key information, opinions and perspectives from important stakeholders up front can put school districts in a far stronger position to implement blended learning. Based on his work with Greeley-Evans School District, TLA Partner John Branam developed a series of assessments that districts can use to determine their readiness. The six separate, complementary surveys are designed for the following stakeholder groups: teachers, principals, parents, students, central office senior staff/technology leads, and community members. Download assessments to learn more.

 

Competency-Based Transcripts

TLA CEO Scott Ellis and Program Advisor Jennifer Wolfe have been working with the New England Secondary School Consortium to promote the adoption of competency-based transcripts for students leaving high school and entering college. A total of 55 colleges and universities have signed
a letter endorsing competency-based 
educational approaches, including schools in Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode  Island, and VermontTLA is now leading the effort to get colleges across the country to make a similar endorsement and help accelerate a shift to competency-based learning nation wide. You can read the full text of the endorsement here.
 
     

Busy Bloggers

TLA's team of experts are diving deep into their respective focus areas looking for the best solutions to overcoming the barriers to blended learning in schools. As their work progresses, TLA Partners (and special guests) are sharing their findings, thoughts and insights with you through our BlendED Update blog.   

 

Recent blog posts:
Image from Tapping Into Teachers: Mobilizing and Learning from the Front Line of Blended Practice
What's Next?

 

Measurement of Impact

As we continue to transform learning and teaching in America, it's important for us to rethink how we measure impact. Certainly measuring academic progress remains critical, but what about non-cognitive skills such as grit, self-control and curiosity? In addition, how important is it for us to correlate achievement with the various software programs used in classrooms, measure teachers' job satisfaction, and invite parents' perspectives on their children's learning - all within the same measurement instrument? These are some of the critical questions TLA Partner John Branam is asking as we explore how best to measure the impact of blended learning. 

 

  

Professional Services

TLA Partner Luis Rodriguez is assessing the professional services needed to help scale high-quality blended learning in K-12 education. Over the next few months he will map the existing professional services landscape and make investment recommendations for TLA. Districts currently often need help when implementing blended learning, and our goal is to cultivate professional services offerings to enable districts across the country to get the support they need.  
 

 

TLA Fundraising

We have been reaching out to potential funders over the past few months and have been overwhelmed by the positive feedback and support we have received.  Bringing our vision of the future of American education to more people who can help us make it a reality has been inspiring and gratifying. The need for a laser-focused organization like TLA is resonating with funders, and our mission to bring an excellent education to all 50 million students in our nation's public schools is a motivating goal. We hope you will join us.  

Again, thank you for your support!
 
Contact:
Scott Ellis, CEO
iinfo@learningaccelerator.org
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