Education Elements September 2016 Newsletter
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September 2016 Newsletter

On Our Minds


Our Impact Report is Out and We Don’t Mind Bragging About It At All

Over the past several months we have been knee deep in spreadsheets and are excited to announce that the 2015-16 Impact Report is finally here. An analysis of 17,000 students in districts we worked with showed 142% growth on the NWEA reading exam and 121% growth on the NWEA math exam as compared to national norms. In personalized learning classrooms, 6 out of 10 students met or exceeded national norms in both reading and math. And when teachers were asked about the impact of personalized learning, 91% said that it made them more effective. We feel like proud parents - the accolades belong to each of the amazing districts who had such terrific results but we are glad to have been part of helping you all get there.

We Started the Year with a Bang

The tone you set at the beginning of the school year has long-lasting impact from August to June. Over the past month Anthony Kim, our Founder and CEO, has helped three school districts - Juab School District (UT), Metropolitan School District of Warren Township (IN) and Cypress Fairbanks (TX) - to start their year by leading keynotes focused on the future of work, the impact of personalized learning, and how districts can transform to meet the needs of students. Participants left inspired, excited, and happy to have found some Pokémon in the process.


Design Spotlight


Design Thinking Starts With A Human At The Center

Anyone who has worked with Education Elements knows that we are believers in the design-thinking process and bring it to our work with school districts. When people hear it is a 5-step process they think about a line, but we know it zigs and zags and is just as iterative and circular as it is linear. The first step is one that many sometimes skip, but for us it is a step you cannot miss, as well as one you will likely go back to again and again. Before you build something, you have to know who you are building it for, so for us starting with empathy is crucial. Designing a new way of teaching and learning is not abstract and should always be grounded in the needs of all the learners in the system.

We started with empathy, as we always do, in our work with 15 schools in Loudoun County Schools, Virginia. Each school team worked together to understand the interests and needs of the different stakeholders (student vs teacher). The teams classified each stakeholder as a “go-getter,” “on the fence,” or “disengaged.” They collaborated with their teams to determine what the stakeholder would think, feel, do and say, depending on their classification. This helped them to understand the needs not just of students, but of different types of students.

                In the pictures above, the school teams created empathy map on two different types of students, the “go-getter” vs the “compliant.”

From their empathy maps they generated insights about each of their stakeholders, which helped them to define a problem of practice for both the teacher and student. They then used these to continue with the design process - defining, ideating, testing and refining.

Want to see what happened next? Email to learn more or ask questions about resources for bringing design-thinking to your district!



NEW: The Positive Power of Personalized Learning

Check out how personalized learning impacted our students, teachers and district leaders!

Place to Meet Up

Connect with us at these events: 

  • TASA/TASB Conference, Houston, TX, Sep 24. We will be hosting a small, private dinner for district leaders to discuss strategies for rolling out personalized learning district-wide.
  • DALI, San Antonio, TX, Sep 28-30 / Bonita Springs, FL, Oct 5-7. We will be engaging in conversations with district leaders at DALI Summit.
  • Utah Digital Bootcamps, Utah, Sep 20-28. Members of Education Elements will participate in Digital Learning Bootcamps across the state of Utah. The bootcamps are hosted by the State in regional service centers as a way for LEAs to gain the knowledge they need to apply for grants for digital transformation.
  • Council for Great City Schools, Miami, FL, Oct 19-23. Come find us at their 60th Annual Fall conference focused on large urban districts.
  • iNACOL Symposium, San Antonio, TX, Oct 25-28. Don’t miss our 5 sessions with district leaders from 13 different school districts at The Blended and Online Learning Symposium. Also be on the lookout for info about our booth, parties and more!

Want to meet up at an event? Email and tell us where you will be!

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