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Fall Update
September 2015

Dear Friends,

The country continues to make great progress implementing blended learning, and the examples are becoming increasingly tangible and exciting. Several weeks ago we visited a classroom in Los Angeles, part of a school located in a neighborhood that is really struggling: bars in many windows and barbed wire on the tops of fences. But we were thrilled by what we saw in this classroom:
  • Students were having the kind of learning experience we want to create for kids all across America: personalized, competency-based, and using real-time data.
  • The classroom had the technology infrastructure required to enable this experience for every student: sufficient Internet connectivity, devices, and software.
  • The teacher had the support he needed to thrive in this environment, so his students could thrive.
  • There were no inherent barriers to nationwide scale. Any classroom in the country could implement this approach if they chose to.
This is a snapshot of the kind of impact TLA is trying to catalyze across the country, and we are starting to have dramatic success. We have raised $15M to date, and mobilized much more, to enable blended learning at scale. While we still have much to do to finish the job, we are now starting to shift our focus to the specifics of what happens in the classroom: How exactly do the student, the teacher, the learning content, and the data interact to personalize learning and make it competency-based? 

As more schools have Internet connectivity, devices, resources for teachers, communications tools, and other key enablers for blended learning, we will start to see more examples like the one we found in Los Angeles: exciting, effective changes in teaching and learning for America's kids. Great progress, and much more to come in the months ahead!

As always, we appreciate your support and partnership, which help to make all this possible. Below are a few highlights of our recent work.
With appreciation,

Scott Ellis               Joe Wolf
CEO                       President 
Recent Activities

Human Capital
Highlander Institute Extends Reach of Fuse Fellows
The Highlander Institute is kicking off year two of the TLA-seeded Fuse RI initiative, training and supporting teacher-fellows as they assist half of the districts in the state of Rhode Island implement blended learning.

Relay Blended Learning Teacher Training Launches
TLA grantee Relay GSE, one of the leading practice-based teacher preparation organizations in the country, launched the first three modules of its new blended learning training in August. The modules are  available online and give educators throughout the nation access to the high-quality, innovative, and totally free professional development that they need to personalize learning for students.

Blended Learning Research Clearinghouse
TLA Partner Saro Mohammed released the first of what will be a series of reports outlining the published studies on blended learning's effectiveness and the implications of those results for practice.  This initial version contains eight studies released from 2010 - 2014.

District Guide to Blended Learning Measurement
To further encourage the rigorous study of blended learning's impacts on student and teacher success, TLA released this  five-step guide for districts and schools  that are implementing blended learning and would like to measure their progress.

Communications Tools for Blended Learning
Communications is a cornerstone of successful blended learning implementation, but many school districts lack communications expertise and capacity. TLA Partner Kira Keane recently released Communications Planning for Blended Learning: Step-by-Step Guide to help districts develop a communications strategy for blended learning initiatives.
The guide includes tips, templates, and useful links, as well as the  Blended Learning Messaging guide,  which explains the types of messages that are most effective when describing blended learning, and includes basic sample messages that districts can customize.

State Work
Rhode Island Strategic Plan for Education
Rhode Island is one of the first states in the country to empower its community to develop a state plan for public education through a process built upon the principles of transparency, engagement, empowerment and respect. TLA is proud of our involvement in helping to catalyze and support the development of the strategic plan, which prioritizes personalizing learning statewide and will guide the state's work in public education over the next five years. Join us at RIDE's Accelerating Personalization Conference October 17 where TLA Partner Lisa Duty will be moderating the opening discussion on Education Re-imagined.

Georgia's Innovation Fund
The Georgia Governor's Office of Student Achievement (GOSA) is once again offering competitive grants to Local Education Agencies focused on planning, implementing or scaling innovative programs through its Innovation Fund
. TLA's Lisa Duty supported GOSA's technical assistance to Georgia applicants in understanding one of the fund's priority areas: blended learning. "GOSA's Innovation Fund presents a great opportunity for schools and districts to seek out collaboration and implement innovative strategies for lasting change," says Lisa. "It serves as a great model for other states."

K-12 OER Collaborative
The K-12 OER Collaborative is part of TLA's incubation portfolio and is dedicated to increasing the quality and effectiveness of K-12 instructional materials while substantially reducing their cost to school districts nationwide.  TLA recently announced  that Larry Singer has been named the CEO of the Collaborative. Singer is an experienced leader in the publishing and information technology industries. This hiring comes at an important phase in the Collaborative's work, as it recently completed successful reviews of the rapid prototype units and will be moving into development of full-courses. 
The Collaborative also recently hired Karl Nelson as its Chief Operating Officer. Before joining the Collaborative, Nelson served as the Director of the Washington State Digital Learning Department.
What's Next?

Coming soon: TLA Partner Luis Rodriguez's District Guide: Financing to Scale Blended Learning.

TLA Updates are now twice a year, but you can find the latest news and new resources on our website or follow us on Twitter @learningaccel.

Again, thank you for your support!
Scott Ellis, CEO
i i nfo@learningaccelerator.org