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Dear Friends,

The last few months have slowly but surely begun to feel more like life before the COVID-19 pandemic. With case counts receding, my children have returned to school without masks, and the TLA team is preparing to come together (vaccinated) at our first in-person offsite here in Maine in well over two years. There is much joy to be found in this return to normalcy. At the same time, I’ve been keeping front-and-center the reminder that our old, perhaps comfortable, version of “normal” was a broken one, filled with obstacles that kept too many children from receiving the effective, equitable, and engaging education they need and deserve. Our mental models must focus on advancement: let’s learn from what we experienced and not fall back into old routines.

As we consider this challenge, one area of team focus is on ensuring our continued pandemic response honors the unique experiences of every learner. How might we better understand, at the level of the individual, where students are? What progress have they made, and what work do we need to do together? To this end, I’m excited to highlight a new Problem of Practice series from our team – Unfinished Learning: Measuring and Supporting Student Progress. This four-part tool is designed to help education teams think about measuring learning through disruption, how to make sense of the data that emerges, and how to begin setting up the right practices and conditions to address what we uncover. This work demands us to move beyond assumptions and averages to use our resources in the best ways for the learners who need them most.

This newsletter also shares some exciting updates about our first cohort of Strategy Lab: Virtual and Hybrid Learning participants, a timely request for information from you about your work, and a few tools we’re bringing out of our archives that remain timely and relevant to the challenges that educators tell us they’re facing.

We hope you’ll explore our site for new releases, tools, and resources, follow our content on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, and pass this newsletter along to a colleague who might find the information helpful. Better yet, invite them to sign up to receive resources directly. Together, we’ll continue to grow our impact and move the needle on education equity so that all students are positioned to thrive – both academically and in life.

With thanks,

Beth Rabbitt

Featured Updates

Teachers, We Appreciate You!

Teachers serve a significant role in the lives of our children and the wellbeing of our nation. During this National Teacher Appreciation Week, we applaud educators across the country who give their all to ensure that children learn, grow, and succeed. The past two years have made the teaching profession evermore so demanding, and we recognize the great efforts teachers have made as they strive to provide high-quality education to children using a number of modes and vehicles. Thank you, educators – not only this week, but year-round. 

Welcoming the First Cohort of the Strategy Lab: Virtual and Hybrid Learning

TLA is proud to introduce the first of three Strategy Lab: Virtual & Hybrid Learning cohorts, a new year-long, pro bono, cohort-based learning experience for traditional school systems with a virtual or hybrid school. Through an inclusive improvement process, these diverse district teams will come together to tackle challenges of practice and develop more equitable virtual learning environments. Teams include:

TLA is launching three separate year-long cohorts, all of which will explore virtual and hybrid learning strategies for improving outcomes for students using our Real-Time Redesign process – but with a slightly different entry point. This first cohort is focused on increasing student engagement and ownership by piloting new online and in-person approaches that deepen connections to and between students, offer authentic “hands-on” learning experiences, and create greater personalization and choice to demonstrably improve student outcomes. 

This is a pro bono initiative, and participating teams will receive coaching, support, and resources for measuring results. Applications are still open to join our second cohort, Launching New Models, and our third cohort, Improving Instructional Equity. To learn more about the Strategy Lab and apply to the other cohorts, check out our one-pager.


Open Call for Information: Help Us Understand Your Work

TLA is working on a collaborative, philanthropically supported research project to understand the landscape of organizations and initiatives currently supporting (directly and indirectly) K-12 innovation and improvement. With the aim of creating an open, up-to-date snapshot of this learner-centered work, we hope to help a variety of actors develop greater collective understanding, coordination, support, and strategy across the ecosystem. 

Want to make sure your work shows up on this map? Please answer this brief 10-15-minute survey by the end of day on Wednesday, May 11.

Findings from this project will be shared in an open format with the broader field. We appreciate your engagement and are excited to ensure your work is highlighted appropriately. If you have any questions about this work or our process, contact Rashida Kimbrue Major

Resources to Help You Advance: Change Management, Adult Wellbeing, and Home-Grown Residencies

TLA has an expansive library of resources and materials to help you navigate timely issues, concerns, and wonderings. This month, we’re spotlighting the following resources:

  • Look Both Ways: Scaling innovation can be complex – especially in the midst of notable shifts in education. This white paper produced by TLA introduces actionable ways school leaders can tackle choices and challenges to facilitate system change in a way that maximizes benefits to teachers and students, using real-world examples from leaders who have navigated their own tensions.
  • Adult Wellbeing in Schools: Just like students, adults in schools – the educators, leaders, and staff who are all a part of a broader school community – have faced considerable challenges over the past few years. Explore TLA’s research around understanding, measuring, and taking meaningful action steps to support the wellbeing of adults in education.
  • Advice: Considerations for Creating a Homegrown Residency Program: The education field is facing numerous challenges regarding teacher preparation and a reliable teacher pipeline. This research synthesis explains what it takes to establish a responsive residency program aligned with school and stakeholder needs.

Partner Highlight


The Center for Black Educator Development works to ensure equity in recruiting, training, hiring, and retention of quality educators that reflect the cultural background and share common socio-political interests of the students they serve. Black educators are disproportionately underrepresented in the classroom, and The Center for Black Educator Development is working to change that. You are invited to join their #WeNeedBlackTeachers Campaign and support increasing the number of Black teachers in classrooms across the nation.

We are pleased 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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