Think Together | September 13, 2022
Think Together, one of California's largest nonprofits serving K-12 schools today announced it has completed the merger with Orenda Education, a top school improvement and professional development consultancy. Upon the close, the combined organization will serve more than 200,000 students across the state with more than $150 million in annual revenue. Moreover, the organization will be better positioned to rapidly scale their impact.
"We're thrilled to bring our two organizations together in our combined efforts to improve student success and close the achievement gap,This merger is the natural evolution of Orenda's existing relationship with Think Together and solidifies our joint commitment to ensuring that the more than 2 million California students that are performing far below grade level have the support they need during the school day and beyond to succeed academically."
Think Together Founder and CEO Randy Barth
Over the past seven years, Think Together and Orenda have had an affiliate agreement in place while the full acquisition builds the long-term financial and operational capacities for Orenda to continue to scale. Orenda's work focuses on transformingeducation systems, either across a school district or by cohorts of schools, providing professional development to all levels of district staff, around a specific data-driven but people-centric school improvement model. Think Together partners with over 60 school districts and charter management organizations to provide more than 900 direct-to-student academic and enrichment programs at more than 450 school sites across California, serving more than 100,000 youth. Orenda Education works behind-the-scenes with school district leaders and educators to identify inequities in schools and then transform their systems to ensure all students have access to a premium education. "Think Together has always been an incredible partner, infusing the infrastructure needed to provide an efficient model for changing the odds for kids," said Orenda Education Founder and CEO Dr. Robin Avelar La Salle. "Our two models have always complemented each other but now, we can efficiently scale our vision for all students to receive the premium education they deserve." The acquisition comes as both organizations experience tremendous growth due in large part to new and renewed state investments in education to accelerate learning recovery efforts and provide educators with needed support amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. "Now more than ever, teachers, school leaders and administrators need to think outside the box to address the issues impacting students including socio-economic biases, social emotional learning, and more," added Barth. "Providing these much-needed supports to educators means districts and schools can provide the skills they need to teach, lead and counsel during and following a period of great disruption during the pandemic. Recently the U.S. Department of Education reported a dramatic decline in scores from the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) known as the nation's scorecard. Two decades of growth for American students in reading and math were wiped away by just two years of pandemic-disrupted learning, according to national test scores released last week. And, the declines were much larger for students at lower performance levels, widening already-huge learning disparities between the country's high- and low-achievers. Orenda's approach to school improvement has proven to accelerate student outcomes, such as mastery of grade-level standards (measured by math and English language SBAC scores), improved A-G class completion rates, and improved graduation rates. They also provide administrative coaching, teaching strategies, and leadership clinics. To expand these services, Orenda was recently awarded a $4 million Education Innovation and Research grant by the U.S. Department of Education to digitize and distribute their school improvement approach through an online platform that is effective and highly scalable to schools and districts in any geography, and to those who require less in-person support. Think Together adds Orenda to their growing list of services that support student education in and around the school day. Think Together's flagship afterschool programs support students in underserved communities with homework help, enrichment, social-emotional learning and physical well-being, all to enable students to strive for college or a fulfilling career. To provide high-quality programs, Think Together partners with philanthropic organizations like the Joseph Drown Foundation. "Breaking down the barriers to opportunity, equity and access in education by keeping students and their success as the centered focus is one of the most meaningful investments for our future generations" said Alyssa Santino, Program Director of the Joseph Drown Foundation. "Ensuring the educators, leaders and structures around students are supported and inspired and effectively trained with research-based, proven and engaging strategies is imperative for thriving students and communities. We are pleased to partner with Think Together and Orenda Education as they excel in this space and continue to transform the trajectory of students and the schools they attend." Barth sees the combination of direct services to students through expanded and early learning, coupled with equity-based professional development, as an effective combination to supporting student achievement alongside their school district and charter partners. Dr. Paul Gothold, Superintendent of County Office of Education in San Diego agrees. His former district, Lynwood Unified School District, realized astonishing improvements when partnering with both Think Together and Orenda, including increasing graduation rates from 56% to 90.8%, and A-G college eligible rates from 18% to 53%. Orenda provides the technical expertise for true district turn-around. The systems approach and professional development modules to build staff capacity ensures all leaders have the tools and resources to provide a premium education for all students, said Gothold. "With Think Together's financial and operational support, Orenda is well positioned to continue providing much-needed education innovation to schools throughout the state and beyond.
About Think Together
For over 25 years Think Together has partnered with schools and communities to pursue educational equity and excellence for all kids. As a nonprofit organization, Think Together innovates, implements, and scales academic solutions that change the odds for hundreds of thousands of California students. Think Together's program areas include early learning, afterschool, school support services and leadership development for teachers and school administrators.
TALENT DEVELOPMENT, ENTREPRENEURS, AND LEADERS
edX | September 23, 2022
The London School of Economics and Political Science, a member institution of the University of London, and edX, the global online learning platform from 2U, Inc., today announced the launch of LSE's first two MicroBachelors® programs in Statistics Fundamentals and Mathematics and Statistics Fundamentals as well as An Introduction to Pre-University Mathematics, its first Massive Open Online Course. LSE is the first university to expand its degree partnership with 2U to launch a series of edX microcredentials that provide learners with a flexible, stackable pathway towards pursuing a fully online undergraduate education.MicroBachelors® programs deliver immediately transferable skills while providing a pathway towards pursuing a full Bachelor's degree. Each of LSE's new MicroBachelors® programs includes four university-level courses from leading LSE faculty. Learners who successfully complete a MicroBachelors® program from LSE and are admitted into select online undergraduate degree programs from the University of London, with academic direction provided by LSE, will be eligible to apply for recognition of prior learning (RPL), creating an accessible pathway into the degree program. The Introduction to Pre-University Mathematics MOOC, which is free to audit, will expand access to a foundational mathematics education worldwide. It will also teach the competencies required to succeed in university-level courses, including LSE's new MicroBachelors® programs.
"Over the past five years, our partnership with 2U has enabled LSE to become a leader in digital education, bringing high-quality education to life online. We've reduced barriers, removed international borders, and extended our reach,Building on our partnership, the new innovative offerings from LSE on edX create an incredible opportunity for us to further increase our global impact by providing a vast community of learners with a clear pathway to gain the critical mathematics and statistics knowledge to achieve academic success."
Wim Van der Stede, Academic Dean for Extended Education at LSE
The school's initial partnership with 2U has played a role in LSE's strategy to expand its educational offerings and make teaching, learning, and research accessible to people who wouldn't have been able to access the institution in traditional formats. To date, over 26,000 learners have completed online certificate courses offered through LSE and 2U, and over 1,000 students have enrolled in its online undergraduate degrees powered by 2U. The addition of the MicroBachelors® programs and MOOC will help further expand LSE's reach to over 45 million learners around the globe.The launch of LSE's first MicroBachelors® programs and MOOC demonstrate the power of 2U and edX to expand access and increase the affordability of higher education at one of the world's most renowned social sciences institutions," said 2U Co-Founder and CEO Christopher "Chip" Paucek. "Creating new pathways to degree attainment is an essential part of edX's mission to unlock the potential of our community of 45 million learners worldwide, and we're thrilled to expand our partnership with LSE to bring that mission to life through the first truly stackable path to a fully online undergraduate degree.
About London School of Economics
The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) is an internationally renowned university specialising in the social sciences. Its expertise spans a wide range of disciplines from economics, politics and law, to sociology, health policy, accounting and finance. As one of the most international universities in the world, the School's diversity of people, ideas and interests make it an exciting centre for research, teaching and public engagement. Established in 1895, the original vision of LSE as 'a community of people and ideas, founded to know the causes of things, for the betterment of society' remains true to this day. It continues to use its research-led expertise to influence governments, NGOs, businesses and others to help tackle the world's most pressing problems. For more information visit lse.ac.uk .
edX is the education movement for restless learners and a leading global online learning platform from 2U, Inc. ( Nasdaq: TWOU). Together with the majority of the world's top-ranked universities and industry-leading companies, we bring our community of over 45 million learners world-class education to support them at every stage of their lives and careers, from free courses to full degrees. And we're not stopping there — we're relentlessly pursuing our vision of a world where every learner can access education to unlock their potential, without the barriers of cost or location.
Otus | November 10, 2022
Otus, a leader in K-12 student-growth edtech, today announced that CenterPoint Education Solutions’ Illustrative Math (IM) certified and EL Education aligned interim assessments, along with state standards assessments will now be available on the Otus integrated learning platform. With these assessments available on the Otus platform, educators and students will have instant access to high-quality assessments aligned with their curriculum or their state’s standards
Since its launch in 2016, Otus has been used by educators to optimize learning and help accelerate student growth for over 1 million students nationwide. Otus provides educators with one place to gather, visualize and act on data to maximize student outcomes. The all-in-one platform saves educators time by integrating traditional and standards-based grading, assessments, progress monitoring, data-informed instruction, and more.
“CenterPoint is excited to bring our aligned assessments to Otus; we hope more districts look toward incorporating assessments that are aligned with their curriculum and (state) standards, Aligned assessments allow educators to gauge both student understandings and misunderstandings paramount information to guide instructional planning. Otus’ learning platform gathers student-growth data and visualizations in one place, which models CenterPoint’s larger mission of monitoring student achievement around assessments.”
LJ Sylvester, Vice President of Growth at CenterPoint.
Interim assessments are administered throughout a school year and are key to supporting learning. They empower educators to measure student learning, identify where students are on their path to grade-level expectations, and provide data to drive instructional strategy. With Otus now hosting CenterPoint’s IM-certified, EL Education, and standards-aligned interim assessments, students and educators are provided with expanded access to high-quality curriculum-aligned assessments. Via Otus’ platform, CenterPoint’s assessments will make use of the existing assessment functionality, including technology-enhanced question types to heighten student engagement and real-time standards-aligned data reporting for teachers to inform instructional strategy. Otus is thrilled to add CenterPoint Education Solutions to its ever-growing network of partners and to be able to offer their top-notch, curriculum-aligned assessments to Otus users,” said Phil Collins, Ed.D., SVP of Client Success. “As Otus continues to expand its offerings of partner assessments available to users on the platform, we aim to provide high-quality, diverse options, and ultimately empower educators to make data-driven decisions that improve their schools. By integrating CenterPoint Education Solutions’ assessments into Otus, we are taking a huge step in that direction. Both the Illustrative Math and EL Education curricula are green rated by EdReports and have shown consistent results for student achievement. CenterPoint was the first organization to develop interim assessments aligned to these curricula to support the important work of teaching and learning at the ground level.
The following grades and content areas are licensed for use on Otus’ platform:
Illustrative Mathematics Aligned Interims Assessments: Grades 3-8, Algebra 1, Algebra 2, Geometry
EL Education Aligned Interim Assessments: Grades K-8
Eureka Math Topic Items: Grades K-8
CenterPoint Standards Aligned Interim Assessments in ELA: Grades K-11
CenterPoint Standards Aligned Interim Assessments in Mathematics: Grades K-8, Algebra 1, Algebra 2, Geometry
Otus significantly improves the way we support students by providing an all-in-one platform for educators to gather, visualize, and act on student data to ensure every child – no matter their learning level or background – is on a trajectory to achieve their true potential. Otus was created and built for teachers, by teachers. It saves educators time through the streamlined integration of assessment, performance tracking, and third-party data, while its gradebook and dashboard reports make it easy for teachers, administrators, and families to understand each student’s growth. Otus has delivered improved results for more than 1 million learners.