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It’s been one year since I incorporated EdLight. What a year! Here are a few reflections on our first year.

We started EdLight with the mission of making great teaching easier.

One year in, this mission still resonates deeply. With remote / hybrid learning, it’s harder than ever to be a great teacher.

Hey so, remember all those things teachers had to do pre-pandemic? Do all those things. …


It feels futile to predict what school is going to look like next year — I can hardly think days ahead in my own life. Yet, we must. Plans must be planned, procurement procured, measures measured.

One thing is clear about school in 2020-2021: “Normal” is off the table. Remote learning will be a part of our reality, in some form or another.

Even in the best case scenario where all students return to school for the full day, we’ll need ways to support students at home due to hyper-vigilance over COVID-like symptoms. …


I have done something I never expected to do: I founded an education technology company. It’s called EdLight, it’s a public benefit corporation, and our mission is to make great teaching easier.

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Visit us at edlight.com

The basic thesis is: we have learned an enormous amount over the last 10+ years about the practices that make great teaching. It’s actually a simple formula: engaged classroom culture and tight academic feedback loops. Unfortunately, the execution is exceptionally difficult.

We need tools that understand great teaching and make these practices much easier.

What? You? Founding an Ed Tech company?

Yes, I do hate most Ed Tech. Yes, Ed Tech is a hard business. Yes, I am sure this is a good idea. Why? …


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Carrie Conaway, Chief Strategy & Research Officer at DESE

Carrie Conaway is the Chief Strategy and Research Officer at the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Carrie helps the Commonwealth of MA set its priorities in education by commissioning and evaluating research and leading strategic planning for K-12 education.

I think you are really going to enjoy this episode. It’s about the details of translating research into policy. We talk about how immigration and health care affect education, and Carrie shares her secret to success: No Meeting Fridays.

You can listen and subscribe using your favorite podcast app (iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play).

If you enjoyed this conversation, please rate us on Apple Podcasts, and send this podcast to your friends. As always, send along your guest suggestions to ryan@edconvo.com — I want to hear from you. …


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Eileen Rudden, Co-Founder of LearnLaunch

Eileen Rudden is the Co-Founder of LearnLaunch, an Ed Tech catalyst organization in Boston.

You can listen and subscribe using your favorite podcast app (iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play).

Eileen had a successful career in the private sector before education. One of the things I learned in recording this podcast is that Eileen was one of the drivers behind the adoption of email through her work as a Senior VP for Lotus Notes. So you can send your complaints to Eileen@justkidding.com.

Eileen has been a pioneer throughout her career, and she tells a bit of her story here. Eileen organized for equal admissions for women as a college student at Brown, rose to the top in male-dominated industries, co-founded the most diverse startup accelerator in the country, and is now driving the adoption of personalized learning in Massachusetts. Eileen is also a prolific board member, having served on boards like Brown University, Lesley University, KnowledgeWorks, the Achievement Network, Education Pioneers, and a lot more. …


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Neerav Kingsland, CEO of the Hastings Fund

Our guest is Neerav Kingsland. Neerav is the CEO of the Hastings Fund, a $100 million dollar philanthropy seeded by Reed Hastings, the Netflix CEO.

Neerav writes a blog called Relinquishment that is one of the most consistently thought provoking places I read. Neerav is a Senior Fellow at the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, and previously served as the CEO of New Schools for New Orleans.

One of the things I love about podcasts is that they can help you come to see thought leaders as people, and I think we do that with this conversation. We get into Neerav’s personal story, then discuss whether a school’s responsibility extends to supporting its graduates, and we speculate on the long path that education technology may take to impact students at scale. …


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Matt Robins is the founder and CEO of DeansList, an ed tech company that helps schools manage their non-academic data. DeansList is my own answer to the question: what is one organization that you think is doing great work that not enough people know about.

This interview covers the importance of building a customizable product to serve a highly decentralized education market, the role of for profit ed tech companies, and what productivity means in a school.

If you enjoy the podcast, please tell one other person about it — at least one. You can also rate us on iTunes — it actually helps. I deeply appreciate the feedback I have gotten from listeners. …


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Shavar Jeffries is the National President of Democrats for Education Reform. Shavar is a deep and passionate thinker — you are going to enjoy this one.

Shavar previously ran for mayor of Newark in 2014, after Cory Booker was elected to senate. The central issue of the campaign was education, and it was a closely watched election for many reasons. If you aren’t familiar with the story of Newark at this time, there’s a New Yorker article called Schooled that is a great intro. It’s based on the a book called the Prize. …


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This week’s conversation is with Mora Segal, the CEO of the Achievement Network, often referred to as “ANet”.

I’m really excited about this conversation. You can find it on iTunes here (and Rate us!).

In the first half, we talk about what it means to be an entrepreneur and what scale means in education. It’s a great listen, especially in combination with Episode 2, my interview with Scott Given. If Scott’s interview is about how you found something, today’s interview is about how you grow something.

In the second half of the interview, we talk about a research paper on the Achievement Network. It’s a great case study on how an organization thinks about translating research into action under the ideal scenario where they have a high quality randomized trial of their own program that uncovers challenging results. …


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Our guest this week is Jennifer Minear. Jennifer is a practicing immigration attorney and is the National Treasurer at AILA, the American Immigration Lawyer’s Association.

You can stream the show on Soundcloud below. It is also available on Sticher Radio and Itunes (Subscribe! Rate us!).

Aila is a professional association for lawyers with the goals of (1) Helping immigration attorneys get better at their work; and (2) Publicly advocating for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy.

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I am deeply grateful to have Jennifer on the show. In general, I try to tackle ‘evergreen’ topics with this show and I don’t chase the news cycle — it’s not a race that I can win. Trump’s actions on immigration in the first weeks of his presidency have shown that immigration will be an evergreen topic. …

About

Ryan Knight

Founder & CEO @ EdLight, PBC. We believe great teaching matters most. Connect with us: edlight.com

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