The Great Disruptor

Elevate K-12

By Kim Kross, COO Of Elevate K-12

For those of us who have spent our careers in the field of education over the years, a conversation with our peers will often turn to the lively discussion about the Great Disruptor.  As passionate educators, it is each one of our hopes to find the big change that will help more students – that will have students make more gains and spark the curiosity of that one student who would have otherwise fallen through the cracks.

However, for years that has remained somewhat elusive, like a unicorn under a rainbow.  The “system” of American education is steeped in ways and methods that are often difficult to change.  Be it out of habit or bureaucracy, change in this industry can be very difficult.

Rewind to just 18 months ago

A start-up called Elevate K-12 entered the market with their live-streaming, high quality General Education product.  The premise being that we don’t have as big a teacher shortage as we think we do; we merely have a teacher arbitrage.  There are plenty of people out there who are certified, qualified and have a passion for teaching, but for various reasons regarding location, family situations, or desire, can’t or don’t want to go back into the classroom.  When we entered the market in 2018, we were met with skepticism.

“You’re going to live stream a teacher, from halfway across the country into our classroom of 30 students and expect students to be engaged and learning?!”

But that is the reality of what we did and what we continue to do.

Enter the Great Disrupter

I don’t think any of us anticipated that disruption would come in the form that it did: a virus that is keeping everyone at home.  The media is propagating that students aren’t learning, but let’s face it, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Within days, an industry known for slow adoption and change moved to online modalities where possible.  Companies across education are pitching in with tools, videos and activities to assist in student learning.  We’re not giving credit where credit is due to these individuals and organizations who are working their hardest to create “opportunities for learning” for students across the country.  The change has been unprecedented.  I’m proud of everyone across the industry for what they are doing right now in the uncharted waters we face.

We know this is just the start

COVID-19 is creating a new path, a new way of thinking, and will force the industry to not only plan for the worst, but also plan for the best.  This Great Disruptor has opened the minds of the entire country to rethink how, when and where we are educating our students.  COVID-19 is the spark that will change our industry for the better and allow each of us in the industry to start to find the unicorn under a rainbow.  This catastrophic event will allow all of us the space and forum for new ideas to be heard across the education industry and allow each of us to fulfill our mission of helping more students, reach the students who need it most, and meet each student where he or she is to help them all, in turn, fulfill their dreams.

Kim Kross is COO of Elevate K-12.

The American Consortium for Equity in Education, publisher of the "Equity & Access" journal, celebrates and connects the educators, associations, community partners and industry leaders who are working to solve problems and create a more equitable environment for historically underserved pre K-12 students throughout the United States.

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