Think Together and Orenda Education in the News

Think Together and its partner Orenda Education have been busy at work providing safe in-person learning support, robust afterschool programs and innovative school improvement strategies. Together they are helping meet community needs and making headlines for their work during COVID-19.

In our Riverside region, Think Together’s partnership with the City of Moreno Valley was recently awarded the Helen Putnam Award for our work with Moreno Valley Unified School District (MVUSD) and Val Verde Unified School District (VVUSD). The award garnered the attention of the Riverside County News Source and Moreno Valley City News. While currently online, these districts are prepared and ready to transition to in-person programming when it is safe to do so. 

“Our Think Together regional leaders have been the “gold standard” in terms of planning for the safe return of students and staff. They have gone above and beyond in developing procedures that address every aspect of a student’s day from the time they arrive in the parking lot for drop off, to instructional support time, to break times, to departure and return to their parents/guardians at the end of the program,” said VVUSD Superintendent of Schools Mr. Michael McCormick.

Throughout the pandemic, Think Together and Orenda Education both have had the unique opportunity to work even more closely with school and district partners.

Earlier this year, Orenda revealed their TLC framework. “We took our two decades of industry and professional experience and research in school improvement work and designed an approach to schooling that uses this moment in our history to advance educational equity.”

Robin Avelar La Salle, cofounder of Orenda Education, discusses more TLC and other aspects of the US Education System in her interview with Authority Magazine “5 Things That Should Be Done to Improve the US Educational System”. This article is highly informative, and I encourage you to take the time to read it in its entirety.  

TLC stands for Teacher Workshops, Lessons Online and Coaching & Counselor Training. This model is a research-based, equity-grounded model to prepare educators for school reentry in the COVID-19 environment.

One school district that’s taken on the TLC framework in stride has been Orange Unified School District (OUSD). After learning TLC with the Orenda team this summer, OUSD developed their back-to-school model called SLICE (Student-Centered, Live Instruction, Innovative Learning, Culturally Inclusive, Equitable Choices). Currently, OUSD is in phase 2 of its reopening, using blocked schedules and other safety measures to ensure staff and students are healthy. 

Think Together and Orenda’s work is increasingly more valuable in these times, bravo team and let’s keep changing the odds for kids!