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Rhode Island to Promote Blended Learning Through Nonprofit Partnership

The Rhode Island Department of Education announced this week a new partnership that it hopes will bring blended-learning opportunities to schools across the Ocean State.

With $100,000 and technical support from the Learning Accelerator, a Cupertino, Calif.-based nonprofit that promotes and helps fund new educational models that combine face-to-face and online learning, the Rhode Island department will spend the next year developing strategic plan and communications plans aimed at expanding blended learning in the state. 

"This partnership with the Learning Accelerator recognizes and furthers our commitment to basing instruction on the needs of every individual student," said Deborah A. Gist, Rhode Island Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education, in a statement. "With these funds, we will continue our commitment to innovation powered by technology."

A spokesman for the department told Education Week the formal agreement is for one year, although both parties expect their new relationship to extend well into the future.

The partnership builds off a number of digital-learning efforts already underway in Rhode Island, including an initiative to bring wireless Internet access to every classroom in the state. The state education department also recently awarded grants to two traditional public schools that are pursuing blended-learning strategies, and Rhode Island currently has two virtual-learning charter schools, according to deparment spokesman Elliot Krieger.

The Learning Accelerator aims to raise and distribute $100 million in support of blended learning initiatives. The group recently released a document titled Framework for Cultivating High-Quality Blended Learning at the State Level that will help guide the work now to be done in Rhode Island.

Check out Ed Week's recent special report, Sizing Up Blended Learning.

Follow @BenjaminBHerold and @EdWeekEdTech for the latest news on ed-tech policies, practices, and trends.

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