Two young boys with pencils and laptops are smiling and a logo for The Learning Accelerator is in the top corner
A man and woman stand in a crowd. Wearing jackets and eclipse glasses, they are watching the solar eclipse on April 8, 2024.

Colleagues and friends, 

Two weeks ago, I let my daughters play hooky from elementary school. Instead of sitting in class and video calls, my kiddos and I strapped on skis and hit the slopes in Western Maine. My husband, father, and step-mom took the gondola up to meet us at the top of a mountain, where, along with about 500 other strangers, we played in the snow, strapped on eclipse glasses, and stood in awe to watch the moon block out 99.7% percent of the sun. 

As the sky darkened, our shadows lengthened and the light turned silvery. The crowd started to clap and cheer as the eclipse peaked, an act of collective witness and wonder across generations and lines of difference

I’m sharing this story because the experience reinforced the importance of three things as we think about the future of K-12 education:

  • In our efforts to innovate, particularly in the age of AI, we must ensure collective learning remains paramount. Brains that fire together, wire together. Emotional saliency helps us learn. Dialogue, sensemaking with others, and moments of human-to-human joy and connection must remain on the table as we improve and advance.
  • Technology can make learning radically better and more accessible, but it lives in service of powerful learning. From skis on our feet to the eclipse glasses that allowed us to stare into the sun to the gondola that supported participant mobility, technology supported nearly every aspect of this group experience. As it should be in school, the technology was not the end, but an integrated means. Its presence, however, allowed us to do something that would have been unimaginable at scale just 50 years ago.
  • Resources for learning are everywhere, we need to design systems flexible enough to allow learners to access them. We have to continue to be open to the ways we can help students take advantage of the opportunities around them. From hybrid and virtual models to community-connected and real-world learning, we have a lot of room to innovate. I hope we will (and not just for the sake of my own kids' attendance records).

Yours in partnership and curiosity,

Beth Rabbitt, Chief Executive Officer (she/her) 

Featured Updates

NEW Problem of Practice: Digital Access Divide

A graphic describing the Digital Divides A TLA Problem of Practice Series. There are three text boxes in shades of blue and green with the language Ensuring... Access: Every student has the ability to use digital tools effectively, safely, and responsibly with consistnet access across both home and school settings. Use: ensure every student has the ability and opportunity to actively use technology as a core component of their learning. Design: All teachers have access to the resources, support, and capacity needed to effectively integrate technology into their classrooms.

Through a new Problem of Practice series on Digital Divides, TLA is creating resources that guide leaders on how they can work to increase digital access, use, and design in their schools and systems – critical levers identified in the 2024 National Educational Technology Plan (NETP).

Today, we’re headlining the series' first installment on digital access - diving into the question, “How can leaders ensure that every student has access to the digital tools they need to develop as expert learners?” In this Problem of Practice, TLA offers school leaders three approaches to ensure each student can use digital tools effectively, safely, and responsibly with consistent access across both home and school settings. 

Explore Digital Equity for K-12 Leaders

Access to digital technologies that enable powerful learning is more important than ever. Leaders and their communities are navigating rapid advancements in areas like AI and community demand for flexible virtual and hybrid opportunities, effective learning acceleration, and resilient response to disruption. Through all of this, it is critical for leaders to also address persistent challenges of equity and work to close divides in access and experience. 

TLA’s updated Digital Equity Guide is designed to help teams intentionally and proactively address the inequities associated with digital technology. If you are looking for a “How To” guide to address digital equity, dive into the guide here.

Insight on Supporting Student Nutrition in Virtual & Hybrid Settings

With a chalkboard in the background, the photo focused on a K-12 student's lunch. It features a red apple, paper bag and milk carton on a wooden desk.

Did you know there are currently no federal or state funding programs or guidelines that support providing meals for families and students who have chosen to learn in online environments?

This gap poses a serious innovation challenge for school systems wishing to offer these options equitably to all students who desire and require them. It’s past the time to address the lack of access to critical supports, like food and nutrition programs. This insight highlights the steps that system leaders and policymakers can employ, capitalizing on the lessons learned from increasing access to devices and high-speed internet to immediately address nutritional needs alongside broader student well-being.

Upcoming Webinars

EdTech Working: Enhancing Teaching & Learning AND Scaling

Needed Interventions

Flyer of The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading titled, "EdTech Working: Enhancing Teaching & Learning AND Scaling Needed Interventions." Date is April 23, 3-4:30PM ET. The moderator is John Gomperts. Panelists from left to right (top row): Jean-Claude Brizzard and Erin More. Panelists from left to right (second row): Diego R. Ochoa, Beth Rabbitt, Jessica Sliwerski, and Mindy Sjoblom.

The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading has devoted several GLR Learning Tuesdays sessions to the important investment in EdTech because technology can support learning when it helps to “scale up standardized instruction, facilitate differentiated instruction, expand opportunities for practice, and increase student engagement,” as noted by The Brookings Institution. In this continuation of the “Big Bets Working” series, CGLR plans to take a close look at the ways in which EdTech is making an impact on student learning and ensuring students have access to the technology assets needed for this "big bet" to work. The use of technology will only increase in the future, especially with the onset of AI. Now is the time to take a look at the wins made by the implementation of EdTech. 

TODAY April 23, 3–4:30 p.m. ET, register here.

Panelists: Jean-Claude Brizard, Digital Promise; Erin Mote, InnovateEDU; Superintendent Diego Ochoa, San Mateo-Foster City School District, California; Beth Rabbitt, The Learning Accelerator; Mindy Sjoblom, OnYourMark Education; and Jessica Sliwerski, Ignite Reading. Moderator: John Gomperts, Campaign for Grade-Level Reading.

Strategies and Resources for Implementing the NETP

With the release of the 2024 NETP in January, TLA identified a need to guide school and system leaders on how to consider and implement its recommendations within their context. Don’t miss an engaging conversation about strategies and recommendations for how to convert policy into action. 

Join the webinar on April 24th by registering here. This panel discussion will include several members of the TLA team: Dr. Beth Holland, Jin-Soo Huh, Rashida Kimbrue Major, and Michael Ham.

Flyer of NEISTE webinar with Dr Beth Holland, Michael Ham, Jin-Soo Huh, and Rashida Kimbrue Major. Webinar Topic: Strategies and Resources for Implementing the New National EdTech Plan. Date: Wednesday, April 24, 2024 at 4-5PM Eastern Time. Includes link to register and TLA logo

Deadline for Applications to Exponential Learning Initiative is May 5

TLA invites network applications for its Exponential Learning Initiative, which seeks to advance the scaling of high-quality, virtually supported approaches to K-12 learning acceleration at the core of student experience. 

Selected network applicants will receive up to $150,000 to increase access to and scale their innovative approaches across a set of school sites in the 2024-25 school year. Networks will work with TLA and evaluation partner, Mathematica, as they implement scaling efforts and participate in a mixed-methods evaluation to build evidence of impact on student-level outcomes. 

Proposals should be submitted according to the guidance and criteria outlined in the RFP by midnight ET on May 5, 2024. Selected applicants will receive funding in June 2024. 

Access the RFP

School Wellbeing Grant Opportunity

A blue badge image on a white background. The badge says "Casel designated Promising Program."

Do you know a California middle or high school administrator who wants to create more positive relationships among students and teachers and build inclusive school communities?

California’s Children and Youth Behavioral Health Initiative (CYBHI) will fully fund 30 California middle and high schools’ use of the GiveThx School Wellbeing Program during the 2024-25 school year. TLA is supporting this effort by helping GiveThx with recruitment and measurement. Take five minutes to apply by May 31 to become a grantee!

Selected schools would commit to staff spending five minutes a week and students spending 15 minutes a week using GiveThx to build connection and wellbeing among peers. Click here to learn more about the opportunity.

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