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Dear Friends,

At my home in Maine, the last of the autumn leaves are falling. Our family is navigating traditional elementary school routines – juggling morning drop-offs, aftercare, homework battles, and teacher-family conferences, among others – alongside new pandemic additions like mask-wearing and pooled testing. While I haven’t been a K-12 parent for too many years (my daughters are in third and first grades), our day-to-day is feeling more ‘normal’ as weeks roll by, and I’m deeply grateful for the hard work of the educators and leaders who are making this possible amidst extraordinary conditions.

Yet, while this feeling of normalcy brings comfort, I’m also acutely aware that returning to normal won’t nearly be good enough. Given the enormity of inequities our children experienced pre-pandemic, we must continue to advance beyond where we were pre-pandemic (including the relative comfort of today’s return to in-person learning). We must work to build and leverage new strengths and skills to fully meet the needs of every child, in every school, every day.

The Learning Accelerator team remains committed to this vision for advancement, working in partnership with educators as they move forward to support the uniqueness of every student. From exploring ways to measure and respond to unfinished learning and adult wellbeing, to highlighting inspiring pandemic innovations and bringing system teams together to explore how to use newfound capabilities, we’re learning a lot. Thank you for learning with us.

Beth Rabbitt, CEO

Recent Highlights
Strategy Lab, Virtual & Hybrid Learning: Learning alongside school systems to meet the needs of every student
In our research on pandemic innovations, TLA highlighted the opportunity for school systems to strategically leverage newfound virtual capabilities – ushered in during closures – to more flexibly and equitably meet the unique needs and interests of every student. We’re excited to announce that we’re launching a new cohort-based learning opportunity for districts across the country to explore innovations in virtual and hybrid learning. Through two separate year-long cohorts, this philanthropically funded, networked learning experience will explore how school systems can strategically leverage virtual and hybrid learning capabilities to better meet the unique needs and interests of every student – keeping equity and flexibility top of mind. Learn more about this opportunity
Hop, Skip, Leapfrog: Connecting and building upon real-world lessons from COVID-19
In winter 2021, the TLA team kicked off the Hop, Skip, Leapfrog Project to understand the concrete innovations schools had undertaken during COVID-19. Through conversations with over 30 system leaders and subject-matter experts, our team captured and codified over 100 new practices and conditions teams had piloted in response to student and educator needs, ranging from implementing virtual personalized learning plans to launching family technical assistance centers to partnering with SpaceX to provide their communities with internet connectivity.

Our whitepaper, Launching Forward: Leveraging pandemic innovations to advance school systems, delves into the connection points across districts, sharing learnings that leaders can leverage to advance their systems more quickly, building from hard-earned work throughout the course of the pandemic.

The Hop, Skip, Leapfrog Guide explores the practical, concrete ways the schools and systems we spoke with pursued student-centered innovation during the pandemic, the conditions that made this work possible, and how other leaders can bring these learnings into their own context.

Our Hop, Skip, Leapfrog Expert Blogs feature big ideas from subject-matter experts as they dive deep into specific challenges, opportunities, and lessons on topics from equity and whole-child learning to educational technology, professional development, and more.
Digital Equity: Moving beyond technology access to ensure every learner can thrive
The concept of digital equity is nuanced and complex, spanning a broader context than just access to sufficient devices and high-speed internet. As a framework, it calls on educators and leaders to ensure that all students have access to and ownership of the tools that best support them as learners, as well as the skills and competencies required to take advantage of digital resources.

The new TLA Digital Equity Guide intends to help school and system leaders have meaningful, actionable, and iterative conversations around digital equity to develop concrete plans of action that improve the learning experiences of all students. In addition to the activities and strategies presented in the guide, we have also created two editable companion resources – a Self-Assessment Tool and a Reflection and Planning Companion Workbook – to support teams’ internal audits of their current state and plans for improvement.
TLA Stories of Learning: Broadcasting the voices of education leaders
This summer, we ventured into the realm of podcasting and launched TLA Stories of Learning. Our inaugural series, What Will We Take With Us?, shares our conversations with real-world educators and education leaders, highlighting their insights, experiences, and takeaways from the pandemic. Tune in to discover how leaders from districts across the country rose to meet the challenges posed by COVID-19 in their schools and communities, and what they’re taking forward with them into a future that supports student-centered learning across the K-12 field.
Lessons from Lindsay Unified School District: Examining unfinished learning and adult wellbeing
Since first partnering with Lindsay Unified School District in 2018, our work alongside dedicated education leaders in this California district has expanded. Over the past several months, TLA has worked closely with the district to explore two major topics examining the impact of the pandemic on education: unfinished learning and adult wellbeing at LUSD.

Much of the national narrative has centered on the concept of “learning loss” as a result of COVID-19. Our study, Learning Found, Not Lost: Examining Learner Growth and Supports in LUSD During and Beyond the COVID-19 Crisis, takes a look at the context around pandemic closures and unfinished learning – and examines the progress LUSD learners were able to make in the face of the challenges. Explore the executive summary, full report, and literature review to learn more.

Recognizing the critical connection between the wellbeing of adults and its mission to empower and motivate every learner, LUSD also sought to gain greater understanding of educator and staff experiences during COVID-19. Creating a Culture of Wellbeing: Investing in Adults to Support Students analyzes four major drivers of adult wellbeing and shares practical strategies to help support and sustain a culture of wellbeing at school.

Other News
Career Opportunities at TLA: Join our mission-focused team
TLA is hiring! We are seeking an Associate Partner, Programs, to contribute to our key projects and strategic initiatives across a broad range of TLA's programmatic work. To learn more about this role, visit our new Job Opportunities page, and please share this opportunity with your networks. If this role isn't a fit for you – but you're still interested in joining our mission-focused team to help connect educators and leaders with the knowledge, tools, and networks they need to transform K-12 education – keep our opportunities page bookmarked to check back for future openings.
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