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Students in class outside take notes and use magnifying glasses to observe leaves

Dear colleagues and friends: 

As a school leader, August was always a time of both renewal and anticipation for what’s to come. Every school year and every new class of students brought with them opportunities for growth, tremendous potential for impact, and typically a need for the team to rethink and innovate for a changing context.

In many ways, this is the beauty of being an educator. Working with young people demands dynamism that reflects the complexity of who they are and who they will become. This means accepting that the work may never look the same from year to year – but also celebrating that we are in a profession that allows us to join our students for a unique part of their journey toward adulthood.  

As we enter another school year experiencing the ripples of the pandemic, it’s tempting to reject this dynamism and instead seek normalcy or a “return to basics” in our schools. Without a doubt, we must strive to create stability and a safe and welcoming environment for students. At the same time, we must acknowledge that students and their contexts have been forever changed in ways we’re only beginning to understand. 

Now, more than ever, our educators must embrace dynamism; they must improve practice, innovate on structures, and seek new pathways to support students and families. Just as they have countless times in the past, I believe educators will rise to this moment, and TLA will stand with them in our mutual commitments to ensure students reach their full and unique potential.

With gratitude,

Ryan Mick, Chief Program Officer

Featured Updates

Strategy Lab: Virtual & Hybrid Welcomes New Cohorts 

TLA is proud to introduce the second and third Strategy Lab: Virtual & Hybrid cohorts, Launching New Models and Improving Instructional Equity. Part of our year-long, pro-bono cohort learning experience for traditional school systems with virtual or hybrid schools, diverse district teams will come together to develop more equitable virtual learning environments through our Real-Time Redesign process. Districts in our first cohort, Increasing Student Engagement and Ownership, recently completed a team assessment process, which we’ve now made available as an open resource for virtual and hybrid schools. 

Improving Instructional Equity teams include: 

Launching New Models teams include: 

New Report: "From Digital Access to Digital Equity"

From Digital Access To digital equity Critical Barriers that leaders and policymakers must address to move beyond boxes and wires July 2022 Prepared By Dr Beth Holland and the Learning Accelerator Team

If the goal is to ensure that every student experiences an equitable, engaging, and effective education that helps them meet their full and unique potential, then digital equity efforts cannot focus solely on internet and device access. In a newly released report, From Digital Access to Digital Equity: Critical Barriers That Leaders and Policymakers Must Address to Move Beyond “Boxes & Wires,” TLA Partner Beth Holland and our team examine five critical barriers to digital equity that education and policy leaders need to address: digital redlining, the digital use divide, privacy taxes, adult bias, and ethical concerns. 

As districts plan their technology implementation processes for the 2022-23 school year, a new TLA blog series will unpack specific aspects of this report. The first post argues that there cannot be digital equity without explicit attention to protecting students’ and teachers’ privacy. Future posts will address the media literacy challenges presented by the digital use divide and the ethical questions that leaders need to answer as they move into the new year.

Teacher Onboarding Strategies

With the school year quickly approaching, schools will be welcoming new teachers and beginning their onboarding processes. During this exciting time, teachers can face some significant hurdles as they adapt to new structures, supports, tools, instructional models, expectations, and other aspects specific to their new schools and communities. Using research and conversations TLA has had with real-world school leaders, we've shared actionable guidance in our Problem of Practice on teacher onboarding to help leaders set teachers up for success. The series also explores how leaders can communicate with new teachers around the purpose and vision of their innovative models and recommendations for ensuring they understand and engage with the communities they serve. TLA has also published Problems of Practice on unfinished learning and station rotation that teachers might find useful during this time of year.

Partner Highlight

Purple and orange logo of iCivics

iCivics was founded in 2009 by Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor to champion civic education so that the practice of democracy is learned by each generation. Since then, iCivics has become the nation’s premier nonprofit civic education provider of high-quality, nonpartisan, free resources to up to nine million students annually, across all 50 states. They offer a digital civic library that includes more than 200 curricular resources, digital literacy tools, professional learning materials, and educational video games.


Interested in exploring what iCivics has to offer? Attend a free webinar hosted by iCivics' Director of Educator Engagement Natacha Scott on August 16, 7-8 p.m. ET. This session will provide a deeper understanding of iCivics resources and the support they provide for educators in making high-quality civic education available for each and every student.

We are happy to share resources and opportunities from our partners. If you are interested in collaborating with TLA and learning more about how we can work together to make strides for education equity, please contact Jessica Mayorga.

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