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Colleagues and Friends:

Last Sunday, my two daughters and I carried a bucket of chalk to our sidewalk. Sprawled on our hands and knees, together we wrote the names of black brothers and sisters recently killed by white hands and institutions. With each name, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery just the most recent among them, my six-year-old asked, “But mom, what happened? Why did they die?” We talked about racism, about the privileges we enjoy as a white family, about the violence that has been and is being inflicted upon on our neighbors – near and wide – due to racialized fear and oppression. My four-year-old listened quietly as she painstakingly chalked out “LOVE” in pink.

The events of the last 12 weeks have starkly laid out the disproportionate burden carried by and violence inflicted upon people of color in the United States. COVID-19 has impacted communities at higher rates. As schools closed, the education community struggled to offer equitable access to learning, exacerbating existing gaps in achievement and engagement. We’ve watched a rise in police brutality and militarized response to protests. These injustices are not new. Heightened during this current crisis, they are more visible, but institutionalized racism within education and out has inflicted enormous pain on black and brown bodies and minds.

TLA seeks to create a world in which every student receives the engaging, effective, and equitable education they need to reach their full and unique potential. Achieving this vision is impossible within systems constructed upon foundations of institutional racism and injustice. Standing up for all kids means working to tear down structures of white supremacy that hold us back from achieving true equality and our collective, democratic commitment towards a more perfect union. 

Our team stands with #BlackLivesMatter. We’re committed to continuing to do the work necessary to build the internal mindsets and practices to work towards antiracism as well as to ensure our programs and external efforts drive towards social justice. We recognize there is much more that remains for us to do; as a team and board, we will be digging in together and with others to inclusively design a plan for action and additional commitments that honor our mission and the communities we work with. Our progress will not be measured by what we did yesterday or what we say today; rather, the evidence will exist in sustained effort and action, in the partners we choose, and in our daily priorities. Thank you for holding us accountable as a team and for the feedback you can provide to help us be better.

We continue to believe that our work to connect every educator with the tools, knowledge, and networks they need to transform K-12 learning is as important as ever. It is imperative that education communities restore access and push past challenges to ensure every student is learning rigorously and getting the individual support they need to thrive as complete humans. We recently sent out an update on TLA’s work to help educators navigate school closures, enable remote learning, and work together to build a more resilient future in light of COVID-19. Below we offer additional updates on new resources for school and organizational leaders as well as recent additions to our board and team.

With love and solidarity,
Beth Rabbitt, CEO

New Resources for Communities
Always Ready for Learning Coaching Support
To ensure every leader, regardless of local resource or connection, has access to human, expert support, we have launched a pro-bono, customized coaching initiative. Aimed to support system and school leaders across the country navigating summer school and planning for instruction in the face of uncertainty in the fall, we are offering sustained and free access to a coaching network that includes experts from the following partner organizations: 2Revolutions, Afton Partners, Catalyst:Ed, Highlander Institute, InnovateEDU, ISTE, KnowledgeWorks, LINC, PowerMyLearning, and Transcend. Please share this opportunity with districts in your networks, and learn more here .
Remote Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Toolkit
In 2019, TLA launched a new network of seven virtual and partially remote K-12 education organizations to explore the intersections of remote culture and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). With the recent rapid shift to remote work for many organizations across the country, leaders must consider how decisions, practices, and remote culture may exacerbate inequities where they work and in the communities they serve. We collaboratively built and launched the Remote DEI Toolkit to openly share the group’s insights and strategies based on the challenges of remote DEI.
Problem of Practice Guidance Series
Data-Driven Instruction. Personalization that supports individual needs in classrooms requires broad, intentional use of data across schools and systems. Educators need to translate data insights into instructional actions to harness the potential of student data. In order to support student agency and ownership of learning, educators must be empowered to develop practices that enable students to understand and use their own data in meaningful ways. TLA has released a three-part guide to data-driven instruction, including real-world examples from schools across the country and links to tools and resources from experts in the field.

Leveraging Multilingualism to Support Students who are Learning English. This collection of actionable strategies guides teachers on how to leverage a student’s home language and culture in a personalized learning classroom and provides other strategic supports to engage students and contextualize their learning. (We are thankful to our fellows from Latinos for Education for their early support of this project.)
Driving Instructional Change with Google Tools
TLA teamed up with Google for Education to help teachers and school leaders understand and enact the following four key, research-backed learning principles for improving education:
  • Personalized & Measurable
  • Project-based & Self-managed
  • Collaborative & Diverse
  • Authentic & Experiential
We worked alongside educators who are pioneering the practical implementation of these principles and have made this robust and actionable set of resources available free for use across the globe.

New Leaders
Nik Namba Joins TLA Board
Nik Namba
TLA is happy to welcome education leader Nikolaus Namba to the TLA Board of Directors. Nik is currently a partner at Transcend Education. He has spent his entire career in education as a teacher, academic coach, principal, and leader in school districts and charter organizations focused on personalizing learning using a competency-based systems approach. Prior to Transcend, Nik was the Director of 21st Century Learning for Lindsay Unified School District and before that Chief Academic Officer of Ingenium Schools, a charter management organization in the Los Angeles area. We are thrilled to bring his voice and perspective to our leadership
Two New Partners on the TLA Team
Beth Holland
TLA also welcomes two new partners to our team. Beth Holland will lead our work in research and measurement. For the past several years, Beth has been examining the challenges of equity and communication within K-12 public school systems for her dissertation and working at the Consortium of School Networking (CoSN), where she led their Digital Equity and Rural initiatives.
JinSoo Huh
Jin-Soo Huh will be exploring ways that TLA can partner with and support technology companies in their work to bring innovations to schools. He is an experienced educator and school innovation leader and has expertise in school design, education technology, professional development, and personalized learning. Prior to joining TLA, Jin-Soo spent over a decade as a math teacher and school system leader. He also co-founded the Data Whiz community of practice and writes about innovation in schools as a columnist for EdSurge. Learn more about our team.
Additional TLA Perspectives