Teach to One Founder Joel Rose Discusses the Importance of Innovation in K-12 Education

Jun 19, 2020 by

Joel Rose, co-founder of New Classrooms and Teach to One: Math

The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened our awareness of many things, such as the importance of social interactions and how to be successful in a remote working and learning environment. The innovation of new technologies has played a major role in keeping us connected. When schools closed mid-March, no one expected that teachers and students wouldn’t return to the classroom to finish out the school year. As we look ahead to a new year, school districts, teachers, and families are actively identifying the best options to keep everyone healthy while continuing to improve learning outcomes.

Recently, Joel Rose, co-founder of New Classrooms and Teach to One: Math sat down virtually with Michael Horn to discuss the future of education and importance of innovation to combat learning loss among students. Rose discusses that learning loss isn’t new, but now that it is in the spotlight, we must work together to make necessary changes to the current education model and help get students where they need to be.

New Classrooms is a national nonprofit focused on designing innovative learning solutions. The organization developed Teach to One: Math, a transformative platform that challenges the traditional classroom learning experience. Teach to One: Math meets students where they are and creates a plan to get each student where they need to be to become college and career ready by high school graduation.

The Teach to One: Math (TTO) classroom looks and runs differently from your traditional classroom setting. The “classroom” is designed in a large, open space that promotes personalized learning through various modalities, including teacher-led instruction, individualized virtual learning,and collaborative peer-to-peer learning.

The Current System Has Gaps

New Classrooms identifies cumulative learning loss as an Iceberg Problem; students continue to fall behind, hindering their ability to become college and career ready. Federal policies, states, and districts continue to push back on allowing schools the time necessary to prepare every student. Teachers are being pressured to teach to grade level, preparing students to pass tests but not necessarily preparing them to comprehend the concepts and progress to the next level.

“What is happening across our system is there is this massive inefficiency because we are either teaching kids skills they don’t know or are not yet ready to learn, or we’re teaching them skills they already know,” explains Rose. “It is that inefficiency that is causing kids to fall behind.”

Teach to One: Math uses technology to develop data that helps create personalized lesson plans and schedules for students each day based on how well they understood the previous day’s lesson. Each student is provided a mix of pre-grade, on-grade, and post-grade skills, quickly and effectively getting them back on the main instructional path. TTO will adapt well below grade level, if necessary, unearthing learning gaps to help students catch up.

Now Is the Time to Innovate

In the interview, Horn asks Rose what schools should look like when they return to physical classrooms and how teachers should tackle the very apparent issue of learning loss. Rose states that he understands that people are aching for a return to normalcy. However, he encourages school leaders to think deeply about how they can improve the current education model. He says that “some level of innovation is going to be essential.”

Rose reiterates that learning loss isn’t new, but he has been impressed by the results of TTO partner schools while transitioning to remote learning because of the innovative, technology-based platform. Many TTO partners have shared that they continued to see student participation and success increase due to the structure that TTO provided.

“[The pandemic] is providing us an opportunity to think about learning loss much more holistically,” says Rose. “We can shift our thinking from one that is based on coverage to one that is based on mastery.” He goes on to share that it may take a couple of years, but we must take the time to reflect and identify specific learning gaps to come up with solutions to put students on the path to success.

A Teachable Moment

Teachers have found that while remote learning is a poor substitute for in-class learning, there are several tools that can be beneficial for student success. Many teachers are now looking at ways to integrate things such as videos, Google Classroom, and Zoom groups to enable greater levels of learning.

Concluding the interview, Rose shares that “this moment has laid bare what happens when we do not invest in innovations. One of the reasons the factory model classroom has persisted is because we haven’t had the supply of new approaches to replace it.” He emphasizes the importance of investing in education innovation and says that, without it, the cycle of learning loss will continue.

It is understandable that we have all been under an immense amount of stress and pressure over the last few months. However, we have seen our communities come together to support one another in ways that we never have before. Now is the time to reimagine what we can do to improve the education system as a collaborative group.

About New Classrooms and Teach to One: Math

New Classrooms is an independent, national nonprofit on a mission to personalize the learning experience. The transformative and dynamic solutions that New Classrooms provides allows schools and teachers to reimagine the traditional education setting. One of these solutions is the organization’s innovative learning approach Teach to One: Math (TTO).

Teach to One: Math (TTO) was developed by New Classrooms co-founders Joel Rose and Chris Rush and is designed to help close the gaps in education, allowing students to become college and career ready. This modern approach transforms the traditional classroom learning experience and provides opportunities for students to learn through teacher-led instruction, independent virtual learning, and collaborative peer-to-peer exercises. TTO is personalized to meet each student where they are.

Prior to launching Teach to One: Math, Rose and Rush developed School of One, a middle-grade math modality designed to improve students’ learning experiences in the New York City Public School system. Time magazine named School of One a Best Invention of the Year in 2009.

To learn more about New Classrooms and Teach to One: Math, visit www.newclassrooms.org.

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