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May 24, 2012

Partnership for Los Angeles Schools Receives $1.6 Million in Foundation Backing for Its Digital Learning Initiative

Broad, Riordan and Whitman Foundations commit $1.1 million collectively over two years 

LOS ANGELES, CA (May 24, 2012) – The Partnership for Los Angeles Schools today announced it has received 1.6 million dollars from several leading California foundations to support its Digital Learning initiative—a program that brings technology and education software into classrooms serving nearly 17,000 low-income students across Los Angeles.

“The technology allows our teachers to reach the many different learning levels we find throughout our classrooms,” said Marshall Tuck, CEO of the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools.  “The reality in our poorest schools is that our classrooms are often filled with children with wide-ranging academic abilities.  Some are at grade level, a few above, but many lag behind due to all sorts of factors.  Our Digital Learning initiative provides our teachers with new technology tools, enabling instruction at a variety of learning levels all within the same classroom.  Moreover, it provides opportunities for tutoring for students at all achievement levels outside the classroom.  It is truly a breakthrough for our budget-starved schools and we are extremely grateful to the Broad, Riordan, Whitman, OneWest, Weingart and W.M. Keck Foundations for their generosity and support.”  The Partnership is a non-profit organization operating 22 LAUSD[1] schools in the city’s toughest neighborhoods so it is subject to the same budget cuts as all public schools.

The Partnership’s Digital Learning program uses technology to build on a Blended Learning model; a practice where learning takes place through a combination of face-to-face facilitated learning, e-learning and self-study.  In the case of the Partnership, Digital or Blended Learning refers to differentiated classroom instruction supported by facilitated online learning.  “This is not a strategy in which we simply send the student to the computer lab,” said Tuck.  “Our approach relies heavily on our teachers as instructors, guides and mentors.  It’s why a portion of our funding for the program goes toward teacher professional development in this area.  The technology gives our teachers a new tool, and we need to make sure they have every support in making these new technologies tools as effective as possible.  It creates a new aspect to teaching.”

The Partnership piloted Digital Learning for math in several of its elementary schools in 2010-2011 and experienced significant success. In grade levels where the program was fully implemented, students’ California State Test (CST) scores increased over 25% and all schools involved in the pilot delivered meaningful gains on the CSTs. The Partnership also attributes a lot of its success on the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) to the implementation of Revolution Prep’s CAHSEE program. The Partnership’s early success and the success of other quality school operators have experienced with Blended Learning, has led the Partnership to substantially increase its implementation throughout its network of schools.

The Partnership is implementing blended learning network-wide in math in 2011-2012 while piloting programs for secondary English (grades 6-12) in targeted classrooms at many of its schools. The Partnership intends to rollout blended learning network wide in English in 2012-2013. 

[1] Los Angeles Unified School District, (LAUSD)

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