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learn / 2015

PowerMyLearning Los Angeles Program

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Maker Challenge by PowerMyLearning, Inc.

Imagine a world where students have the tools to achieve their dreams. Imagine a world where teachers can personalize their instruction to each student. Imagine families empowered to become stronger learning partners for their children. Imagine this is true for everyone, regardless of income.That’s the world PowerMyLearning is creating in Los Angeles. We provide training & digital tools to low-income students, families & teachers to help students do better in school & achieve lifelong success

In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • Central LA
  • San Fernando Valley
  • South LA

How do you plan to use these resources to make change?

  • Engage residents and stakeholders
  • Expand a pilot or a program

How will your proposal improve the following “Learn” metrics?

  • District-wide graduation rates
  • HS student proficiency in English & Language Arts and Math
  • Academic Performance Index* scores
  • College matriculation rates

Describe in greater detail how you will make LA the best place to learn.

Throughout the greater Los Angeles community, a substantial opportunity gap persists between low-income and higher-income families. Large numbers of students in LA’s low-income communities are not graduating from high school on time, and even larger numbers are inadequately prepared for college and careers. This, in turn, is contributing to an unprepared workforce and growing income inequality.

Additionally, teachers are facing growing pressure to provide personalized instruction to large classes of students with diverse needs and learning levels. PowerMyLearning is addressing these problems by helping all the key constituencies in the learning process—students, teachers, and parents—use digital learning more effectively in school and at home.

Our program helps teachers provide more personalized learning for students. Instead of giving one lesson to their class, teachers have a PowerMyLearning coach who shows them how to create playlists of digital learning activities (videos from different publishers, educational games, simulations, and more) and then assign those playlists to targeted groups of students. In this model, students receive instruction at their level in the areas they need the most help.

This student-centered classroom experience also inspires students to be more self-directed learners. After completing their assigned playlist of activities, students are free to explore their passions and areas of need. This higher-level thinking and metacognition is essential for success in high school, college, and career.

Home access to technology, along with an adult who is trained in how to use technology for learning, can transform students’ home learning environments to create rich learning experiences. Families who participate in PowerMyLearning family learning workshops leave empowered with a laptop computer that is theirs to keep and knowledge to strengthen the learning environment at home.

Currently, students and teachers in low-income communities have less access to personalized learning, high-impact professional development, and technology than their higher-income peers. PowerMyLearning seeks to close this divide and provide equal access to students, families, and teachers regardless of their zip code.

Please explain how you will evaluate your work.

PowerMyLearning proactively measures the results of our Los Angeles program and then uses those data to propel program improvements to increase impact. To evaluate our Los Angeles programs, PowerMyLearning administers surveys to participating families that cover a range of important issues such as increases in family confidence in helping their children learn. PowerMyLearning partners with LAUSD and charter management organizations to secure and analyze California state test data that may be available. We will also work with individual schools to collect and analyze achievement data that may be available locally, including results from the MAP assessment (a highly regarded interim assessment produced by NWEA). To protect student privacy, we use data collection protocols approved by an independent Institutional Review Board.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?

  • Money (financial capital)
  • Volunteers/staff (human capital)
  • Publicity/awareness (social capital)
  • Technical infrastructure (computers, etc.)