Rural California School District Recognized Globally for Innovative Use of Data and Technology to Support Teachers Amid Remote Learning

Rural California School District Recognized Globally for Innovative Use of Data and Technology to Support Teachers Amid Remote Learning
Lindsay Unified School District named the first-ever winner of the ASU+GSV Innovative Educator award, recognizing the district’s work to empower educators

Chicago – October 1, 2020 – Lindsay Unified School District—a rural California school district that serves a majority LatinX population—has been awarded the first-ever ASU+GSV Innovative Educator Award, for its development of a platform that gives educators the real-time insights and personalized training needed to support their students’ learning. Presented by LEAP Innovations and GSV Ventures, the award will be announced today, at the annual ASU+GSV Summit, a virtual gathering of more than 20,000 philanthropists, entrepreneurs, investors, and education leaders convened to discuss innovation in the midst of COVID-19.

“The ASU+GSV Summit has long showcased innovations from education leaders focused on transforming learning. Teachers are among the real heroes of 2020, and this new award puts their work front and center on the global stage,” said Deborah Quazzo, managing partner at GSV Ventures. “COVID-19 has underscored the urgent need to re-imagine schooling at this moment. We are honored to showcase the forward-thinking work of Lindsay Unified, alongside some of the biggest innovators in our sector.”

Following a keynote chat by Malcolm Gladwell, Amalia Lopez, director of special projects at Lindsay Unified, will accept the $10,000 award. The prize will fund college scholarships for their class of 2021, through its Lindsay Educational Foundation for Learning.

Lindsay Unified School District is being recognized for its teacher-facing dashboard that makes it easier for teachers to identify personalized training and development that can support their teaching, rooted in the needs of their students. The district transformed its learning management system into a data dashboard oriented around the teacher—giving educators the ability to set personal career goals, access professional learning, upload evidence, and monitor progress, while also doing the same for their students.

As a result, in the midst of COVID-19, the dashboard has given educator teams unique support for their own practice, coupled with real-time insight into students’ engagement and progress toward their learning goals, making it easier to collaborate with parents and other district staff.

“COVID-19 has exacerbated grave equity concerns, but it has also become a galvanizing moment for so many educators. We have the chance to emerge stronger on the behalf of our students, by innovating through this moment of challenge.” said Phyllis Lockett, founder and CEO of LEAP Innovations. “Understanding the critical role of teachers in a student’s success, Lindsay Unified has impressively innovated their learning management system to become a more dynamic, empowering tool for educators. We are proud to recognize their work, and hope others will be equally inspired.”

Following a national application process, 15 finalists were selected to pitch for the ASU+GSV 2020 Innovative Educator Award. A panel of 14 judges included leaders from New Schools Venture Fund, ISTE, the Christensen Institute, Walton Family Foundation, and the Chan Zuckerberg Institute, among others. ASU+GSV is showcasing all the finalist presentations on their platform, here.

“Lindsay Unified School District is proud to be recognized for our work. Even though COVID-19 has been an incredibly trying time for us all, our Empower platform has enabled us to stay focused on helping our educators, and in turn, our students, reach their fullest potential,” said Amalia Lopez, special projects director at Lindsay Unified. “This work has created a clear line of sight, giving educators new agency over how they support the learning of their students. To be recognized by GSV and LEAP Innovations, two organizations leading innovation in our field, is a true honor.”

In addition to Lindsay Unified, two additional awardees were granted $1,000 prizes for their outstanding work — the Utah Board of Education for its work to develop a more holistic way for schools to define student outcomes, and Build Up, a six-year early-college high school that incorporates paid apprenticeships in home building with industry-aligned early-postsecondary academic coursework, leading them to graduate with workforce credentials and homeownership.

LEAP Innovations, whose framework for personalized learning has become the standard among innovative school leaders, launched the award in partnership with GSV, the pioneering venture fund and co-host of the ASU+GSV Summit. For the last four years, ASU+GSV has run a nationwide application process to identify and showcase the best innovations happening in schools and districts as part of the conference’s programming. This is the first year GSV is awarding a school or district for its outstanding innovations.


About GSV Ventures
GSV Ventures is an early-stage venture capital firm that is focused on the $7+ trillion learning and talent technology sector. The fund is currently investing out of GSV Ventures Fund II, backing innovative entrepreneurs across the “Pre-K to Gray” Arc of Learning and Talent technology. Portfolio holdings include Andela, Pluralsight, TurnItIn, Coursera, Coursehero, Outlier, and Degreed, among others.

About LEAP Innovations
LEAP Innovations is a national organization headquartered in Chicago that connects innovation and education to transform how students learn. LEAP works directly with educators and innovators to discover, pilot and scale personalized learning technologies and innovative practices. LEAP’s work is anchored by the LEAP Learning Framework, a suite of resources that educators across the country are using to define, design, and implement personalized learning models.