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Two middle school students and parents are seated on chairs at a school while one students talks and gestures

Colleagues and friends: 

Last week I had the opportunity to join school and district leaders from across the country for The Learning Accelerator’s Strategy Lab and Innovation Directors Network joint convening in Dallas. The purpose of this convening was to advance and catalyze the work of these groups as they wrestle with challenges of virtual and hybrid learning as well as explore the potential for innovation and impact in a post-pandemic K-12 system. I left inspired by the work of these leaders and their continued hope for and commitment to the students they serve. I also left with some reflections about why these experiences matter:

  • There’s a continued need for coherence across the sector: Virtual and hybrid learning models grew exponentially as a result of the pandemic. TLA supported district leaders in making sense of these models in the midst of the global crisis, but advancing technology and approaches to learning will require continued sensemaking and coherence for districts to ensure long-term progress for students. 

  • Leaders want guidance in a world with increasing choices: With the continued expansion of virtual, hybrid, and other innovative opportunities for students, district leaders are faced with more choices than ever — leading some to reticence in decision-making and others to prioritize more initiatives and opportunities than can be managed effectively. It is clear that districts want to provide the best learning opportunities for their students, but they also want guidance and support from impartial partners on how best to deliver this for young people.

  • Networks for learning still hold incredible potential: When designed and implemented effectively, learning networks have tremendous potential to help district leaders generate new ideas, solve present challenges, and deepen their commitment to the work. These networks also have the potential to catalyze change in the sector if conveners and organizations consider how to channel the learning of these gatherings into learning for all.

These reflections have not only motivated me for the work ahead, but they serve also as a reminder as to why I am grateful that organizations like TLA exist. With a commitment to bridging knowledge and wisdom across the sector and catalyzing collective action rooted in a shared vision for our students, I know TLA will continue to serve as a critical partner to districts and decision-makers in service of young people.


With gratitude, 

Ryan Mick, Chief Program Officer 

Featured Updates

All-Cohort Convening Brings Virtual and Hybrid Learning Leaders and Experts Together in Dallas

Members of TLA’s Strategy Lab: Virtual & Hybrid cohorts and Innovation Directors Network converged in Dallas Nov. 2–4 to deepen connections with each other, learn from and engage with experts in virtual and hybrid learning, expand their understanding of shared challenges and opportunities in the field, and broaden their vision and sense of possibility for equitable virtual and hybrid learning as a vehicle for a learner-centered education.

Two students and a teacher are seated in front of a monitor with the words citizenship and community partnership while one student talks and gestures with hands

Participants had the opportunity to visit one of four personalized learning Dallas ISD schools: City Lab (pictured here), IDEA High School, Dan D. Rogers Elementary School, or PL Prep at Sam Houston Elementary School. Teachers and students led a Q&A session for attendees after guiding school tours.

Five people sit around a table outside

Small-group breakout sessions allowed participants to engage with experts on topics including digital equity, learner-centered scheduling, and building student relationships in a virtual/hybrid world. Here, Jill Rogier leads a session on equitable pedagogy and instructional design for virtual learning.

Four middle school students and three parents sit in chairs while one student talks and gestures with her hands

On the final day of the convening, participants listened to students and parents at Dallas Hybrid Prep about why they like hybrid learning and why it works for them, the challenges they’ve faced transitioning to a hybrid model, and how their school engages and communicates with them.

Five people are seated around a table smiling with drinks and chips

Innovation Directors Network members Errika Baker, Kristen Watkins, Grace Magley, and Megan Goldfarb chat with TLA Partner Jin-Soo Huh at a happy hour TLA organized for convening participants.

Supporting Future Educators in the Community

Lindsay Unified School District (LUSD), a central California K-12 district, partnered with TLA to understand the effects of the first year of their “grow-your-own'' residency program. In collaboration with Alder Graduate School of Education and Marshall Teacher Residency, LUSD used Bank Street Education’s Prepared to Teach framework to design a residency program that recruited from within the community to attract future educators who understood the district’s performance-based learning system, shared pedagogical language, foundational understanding of instructional practices, vision, and performance-based systems, as well as the lived experiences of their learners.

The TLA team recently published its mixed-methods study, which found that the first year of LUSD’s residency program had helped build community and capacity, supporting new educators and helping the district bring in faculty who could quickly integrate into LUSD’s system and empower students to progress through learning standards at their appropriate pace. Lessons learned from this study can serve as a resource for districts seeking to implement a residency program in the future.

TLA's Fall Retreat in Washington, D.C.

Fifteen people posed for a photo in front of a school building

The TLA team hails from cities spanning from Portland, Maine to Portland, Oregon but takes time bi-annually to connect in person, deepening their skills and abilities to carry out TLA’s purpose, vision, and work while also exploring the path forward for the organization. After a local school visit, skill-building sessions, collaborative activities, and an exciting overview of a learning agenda for the sector and a strategic vision as TLA evolves — the team left the retreat aligned on strategy and vision for the next five years. Our team shares our gratitude to our retreat hosts, Friendship PCS, who graciously allowed TLA to use space at their Armstrong campus to conduct the offsite.

Partner Highlight

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In 1979, a group of Americans concerned about the genocide in Cambodia and the large number of refugees fleeing Southeast Asia founded the “Indochina Refugee Action Center” or “IRAC.” In 1991, IRAC became the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC), which operates today as a national civil rights organization that builds power within diverse communities from Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam to create a socially just and equitable society. As representatives of the largest refugee community ever resettled in the United States, SEARAC stands together with other refugee communities, communities of color, and social justice movements in pursuit of social equity.


As a multi-issue advocacy organization, SEARAC invests in empowering resilient advocates who fight collectively for the Southeast Asian American community’s needs. Get introduced to SEARAC’s communities by exploring its Southeast Asian American Journeys demographic report, and read this fact sheet to learn about SEARAC’s call for data equity.

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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