Our work is about changing the learning opportunities and lives of kids. Period. While we see technology as key to enabling this vision, student learning is the metric against which we assess strategy. Similarly, we avoid getting into disagreements amongst adults; we aim to stay as objective and conflict-free as possible.
We exist to catalyze and accelerate; while we know school transformation will take time, we seek speed and scale. With a proactive bias toward action, we take initiative for coming prepared and moving work forward through responsiveness and follow-through. In order to maximize our impact, we also use our resources-- time, energy, and financial and human capital-- wisely, never letting perfection get in the way of forward progress and recognizing when our current strategy isn’t accomplishing our goals.
Bold Ideas and Action
Our vision is ambitious, and requires us to think big and take risks to achieve it. While we are open to and encourage disagreement and dialogue, we hold to our convictions. As thought-leaders, we seek to openly share our ideas and in-process learnings. We do this fearlessly, knowing we gain more from learning and encouraging others in the market to do the same than we do from being “right.” Finally, while we deeply understand the context of our work in schools and districts, we also respectfully question (and at times disregard) conventional wisdom, seeking analogies and solutions from other sectors and industries.
We do not expect our work to be easy, and expect to run into challenges along the way. In the same way we are asking students and educators to adopt “mastery-based” mindsets, we seek to do the same in our own learning. We commit to “failing forward fast” and remember that change takes both time and dogged pursuit of good ideas. If others do not agree with us, we keep doors open for future collaboration.
Collective intelligence and impact
We don’t “own” the solution or the capacity to produce the change we seek; we are betting on the power of many organizations and people-- including teachers, students, and families-- working together to transform education. As an ecosystem actor and partner, we are committed to thinking with others and sharing resources and lessons. Similarly, our success is connected, and we share credit. We work very flexibly in the ecosystem--we don’t care what we ourselves do versus what others do, we simply want to ensure that everything that is required gets done with high quality so that America’s kids benefit. We take advantage of our sunset structure and collaborative approach to create unusual synergistic partnerships with other organizations. Where differences exist, we seek to ask questions to gain understanding. The internal processes and structures we adopt reflect our commitment to the collective; we embrace our diversity of backgrounds, experiences, approaches, and skills and presume positive intentions in order to move forward together.
We take responsibility individually and as a team for delivering results and meeting the commitments we make. Our goals are directly connected to the strategies we enact and we assess our progress against them formatively and relentlessly. We aim for transparency and revise as necessary.
Fun and flexibility
Our work is serious but also joyous; we strive to intentionally celebrate successes and to have fun working together in our journey to achieve big. Further, our team is made up of experienced, committed professionals and our team processes are ours to shape and create. Because we trust in our individual strengths and styles, we value outcomes over inputs and seek to create systems that enable rather than prescribe; by working flexibly and cultivating healthy work-life balance we all perform at our best.
We adopt practices that help us-- individually, as a team, and as a community-- constantly get better. We set high goals, develop hypotheses, prototype, and measure our progress as frequently as possible. We reflect on our achievements, struggles, and failures, identify development areas, and devote resources and time to learning new skills.
We pay careful attention to issues of equity in American education, and actively work to ensure that all students in the U.S. receive the benefits of blended learning. We are particularly mindful of the impact of our work on kids of color and kids in poverty. To help us broadly identify and understand the many dimensions of our work, we seek diversity in our staff and board. We believe that diverse and heterogeneous skills, mindsets, and experiences lead to stronger organizations, better decisions, and higher impact for kids.