The 180 Podcast: Dan Cogan-Drew of Newsela — Helping Students Become Agents of Their Own Learning

Turnaround for Children 180 podcast with Newsela Co-Founder and Chief Academic Officer Dan Cogan-Drew.

Listen to the episode on Turnaround for Children’s website. Also available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and Podbean.

The science of learning and development reveals how academic growth is fueled not just by the acquisition of knowledge, but from dynamic relationships between students, teachers, peers and what they experience.

So what experiences can education technology offer to support those relationships and spur engagement and motivation to learn? That’s what Newsela seeks to create — by tapping into every child’s curiosity in accessible and relevant ways. Newsela offers educators and students access to current news stories no matter their reading level — on everything from the mission to Mars, to the Derek Chauvin trial, to the new pets in the White House.

And it seems to be working. A randomized controlled trial study found that students using Newsela twice a week doubled their reading scores compared to students taught reading without the platform. Today, Newsela is in 90% of American schools, serving 37 million students and 2.5 million teachers. EdTech funders have certainly taken notice. Newsela recently announced a $100M Series D investment.

So how does it work? For the answer we turned to Dan Cogan-Drew, Newsela’s Co-founder and Chief Academic Officer. Dan has worked in education for 25 years, as a public, independent and charter school teacher, and with a focus on integrating digital learning technologies to engage students and accelerate learning.

Complete Transcript

Dan Cogan-Drew: Chris. Glad to be here. Thanks for having me.

Chris Riback: You have spent your career focused on the intersection of digital learning and new technologies and innovative education opportunity access and more. Could we start with what is surely the pertinent question which is how do you connect world-class ultimate frisbee playing with delivering next generation education to the world?

Dan Cogan-Drew: So, ultimate frisbee has been kind of the through line of my life. I started playing in college and actually competed against my now business partner, Matt Gross when he was at Columbia, I was at Wesleyan and we were, he might say, bitter rivals. I would say it wasn’t a rivalry. I played competitively and coaching and getting into some curriculum development and coaching curricula for frisbee. It happens, I met my wife playing frisbee. We now live in Maplewood, New Jersey, which is the birthplace of frisbee to which we moved because it was the birthplace of frisbee.

Chris Riback: You didn’t name your kid frisbee, anything like that, right? You’re not that dedicated to the sport.

Dan Cogan-Drew: Yes, that’s right. But I will say it’s just a segue into some of the topics we’re going to talk about, I have been reflecting on sports and then the nature of sports and youth athletics. I have both of my kids not surprisingly enjoy ultimate frisbee, but both of them and one is currently engaged in youth soccer and I’ve been watching the dynamics of youth soccer, both from the sideline as a parent where I’ve mostly muzzling myself and also with the role of the referee and what the referee is charged with and how that compares to what happens on an ultimate frisbee field, where there is still a coach on the sideline, but the players are making their own calls and what that teaches them about their interconnectedness and their interrelation as opponents.

When they shake hands at the end of the game, they really are thanking each other for the game. It’s not pro forma. And there isn’t a case of if the ref didn’t see it, it didn’t happen. And I’m already seeing that in my 11 year-old, I have to be careful that he’s not being taught the wrong message about what a foul is and what it means to be in competition and why we play. And so ultimate frisbee has a through line, both as an advocation, but also I think there are some considerations for what hopefully in its best form could say about how we all get along.

Chris Riback: The part of youth sports that I frequently relate to and talk about and I think that maybe this will help segue as well into education and your approach. And we see it so often in youth soccer is, let the ball come to you. Be prepared, be ready, but let the ball, let the game come to you. Which might segue as well, a little bit into Newsela and the way that you help students elevate their game.

Dan, can you take us back to the start and just tell us the origin story of Newsela, how did it begin? What is it, what does it do?

Dan Cogan-Drew: Newsela was basically an answer to a problem that my colleague now, our CEO, founder and CEO, Matt Gross and I both perceived. He perceived it personally from his own son’s experience in school and being told by an administrator in the building that as a student in New York state, some kids are just going to be a two on the New York state test, two out of four, and there’s really nothing she could do. So, Matt’s an entrepreneur and he wasn’t going to stand for that. And I was in classrooms working on behalf of a Charter School Network trying to figure out what technology can do. And I kept running into the same problem where there just weren’t good resources in the space of the so-called reading to learn, where you’re reading to gather information, build background knowledge and really create that foundation on which you’re going to build the rest of your learning.

And so we settled on news. We needed to solve the problem of high interest authentic sources. News was a very generative form of that. And we needed to solve an access problem. Two thirds of kids still don’t read on a grade level and on a basis that’s preparing them for college and career readiness in this country. That’s a Canada size population of U.S. kids. And so what we did was take original source content published by the original authors, let’s say the Associated Press. And we would create multiple versions down from the 12th grade version down to as low as a second or third grade by actually rewriting the articles, aligning them to standards, and making it what we would say instructionalized classroom ready. So any teacher could take this article and use it to generate engagement with their students, with every student.

Chris Riback: How does Newsela facilitate the student teacher relationship or even potentially the student, student relationship? You must feel on some level that you’re in the relationship business.

Dan Cogan-Drew: Yes. That’s an interesting way to put it. I think that’s right. I think it’s based on a premise that we believe, and I think learning science bears this out, that much of learning that takes place is social. And one of the things that can keep a student from being able to engage socially with their peers, from whom they learn a great deal, or can learn a great deal, and their teacher is access to the texts. And that access sometimes is characterized as the digital divide where they don’t have a device, they don’t have internet. It can also be accessed in terms of the accessibility of the text itself. That is if I’m a student who requires some kind of accommodation to navigate by keyboard, for example, you can get me the device, you can get me the internet, I still can’t get to the content because this website is not built for my purposes and my needs. And then there’s the content itself. Is this compelling? Does it ask of me to bring my whole self? Will I put forward the effort required to really understand this — is this valuable to me? And through that, I can connect it to my teacher. I can understand the purpose for what we’re doing today, and I can participate meaningfully in dialogue with my peers. If I’m not reading at grade level, I’m a sixth grader and I read it a fourth grade level, don’t send me out of the room and don’t give me the fourth grade version, the fourth grade book I don’t want to go to the shelf and get the purple book. Don’t do that to me.

Let me read the same thing as everyone else. And you know what? I’m a sixth grade reader, but today I’m going to read it a fourth grade level, and then I’m going to read it again at a sixth grade level, because this is about the origin of the cosmos. And that’s what I need today. And that’s okay.

Chris Riback: So let’s talk about where your company is, how would you characterize where you are right now in terms of reach and scale?

Dan Cogan-Drew: We’ve grown considerably. Certainly when the pandemic hit and school started to close back in March of 2020, our leadership team got together very quickly and said, “Look, what’s the right response to this moment?” And very quickly decided that the best thing we could do was to make our product available for free to any district that requested it. And we saw an enormous uptake to that offer. And that sort of helped us grow into more classrooms than we’d been in previously though our footprint up to that point had been large. We now have a user base of something on the order of 35 million students, about 2.7 million teachers leading up to that we’ve added maybe about 10 million students to the user base.

We’re in 90% of classrooms when we had been prior to the pandemic, I think we’ve just increased our reach and the relevance of what we do. So it was an important moment for us to step up as a provider and to ask ourselves, honestly, what’s the most useful thing we can do right now?

Chris Riback: Why is it so popular? Why does it connect?

Dan Cogan-Drew: Well, what teachers tell us is that it fills a gap for them when it comes to the instructional content that really propels their instruction. And so you can think of it sort of, there’s a, sometimes we call it a colloquially Sunday night googling. This is that experience that you have is that you’re going into the week. And you’re looking for the thing that you want your students to actually read. You have strong intent, you have good alignment to standards, and you have a strong notion of outcomes. And then it comes time to what are my students actually reading? What are they going to watch? What are they going to listen to? And right now, without Newsela, let’s say you’re in a place where you may find yourself on “Teachers Pay Teachers,” you may find yourself on Pinterest.

There’s a Rand study pointing to the proliferation of resources that were the internet, right? When a kid comes home and says, “We’re doing research” and so, “Oh, that’s interesting. What are you using?” “Oh, Google,” you think to yourself as a parent, uh-oh, there’s a million ways that this could go wrong. And then it comes time for the materials and somewhere between the New York Times, the 12th grade reading level or above, and Pinterest, you need to find a solution that can reach all of your kids that’s authentic and accessible.

Chris Riback: And I would think, and this is how I have always interpreted what you do: It helps connect what kids are, what students are learning in school with the real world, with today’s life. We asked the question ourselves growing up in school, “Why do I need to know this, when am I ever going to use this in life?” And you make that connection. I think between what we’re learning, what the kids are learning in school, what students are learning in school, and what’s going on in the rest of the world, is that a fair characterization of the mission?

Dan Cogan-Drew: Yes, I mean, that goes back to the earliest days of Newsela and where we started with the middle school, as an entry point, middle school, English language arts, news as a source of high quality, authentic, relevant non-fiction, and an inexhaustible refreshed on a daily basis source of this, which really met a need that teachers had to find that kind of material. And this gets to some of the questions around motivation and engagement and some of the learning science and what we know about what fuels this and also what impedes it. And so I think what we’ve struck on is an opportunity to really establish and maintain that relevance as something that students are entitled to. They’re entitled to know why this matters and the content to some degree should speak for itself. It shouldn’t be that hard to intuit why we’re reading this.

Chris Riback: Thinking of it from that perspective, could Newsela have existed 20 years ago? And I don’t mean that as a technology question. Once upon a time we learned, because that’s what you have to learn, because that’s what the teacher said, because that’s what the curriculum offers, because that’s the routine, routinized approach to learning information. Would Newsela have existed 20, 30 years ago? What has changed in education?

Dan Cogan-Drew: Yes. I’ll just say to pick on the words you chose a little bit, the idea of we learned, I would say that I actually don’t think we did. I think that there was a lot of gaps that were prevalent, have been prevalent all along in this factory model. We have not reached all kids. And I think to go to your question, something that no child left behind did help to elevate is the disparities in society. It laid it pretty bare when you compare apples to apples. And so first you raise the level of awareness that this is an inequitable education system. And then you start to look at why, and you start to question some of the decisions, some of the things we’ve taken for granted.

And how many of the decisions that go into the design of learning are actually for the benefit of the institution? And I think every parent understands this because they’re advocating really for a number that’s usually no larger than one. Maybe they have three kids or four kids, so that they go after four kids. And they’re trying to wrestle with an institution that’s been built to move hundreds, if not thousands of kids steadily through a factory cadence. And so I think you have a convergence of better visibility into the data and to understanding really the contours of what we’re facing in terms of the inequities, though not every child is receiving what they need.

And then you have this storm of the 24/7 news cycle, social media, immediate, always on access, ubiquitous devices a much improved user experience and level of expectation on behalf of students that if you’re going to put a device, you’re going to put a screen in front of me, I expect an experience that’s equivalent to the highest caliber, most, and sometimes not to their benefit, but most engaging, addictive kinds of behaviors that I’m being taught are the sort of premium TikTok, Instagram. It’s really got to be compelling. And if it’s clunky, I know almost out of the gate, all this is trying to teach me something, isn’t it? Because something doesn’t feel right here.

Chris Riback: How do you connect that to what the learning science says about how to engage students?

Dan Cogan-Drew: As humans we’re wired to learn, we don’t have to motivate ourselves to survive. We have a natural curiosity to learn about the world through this sort of evolution bears this out that we learn, or we’re not around for long. And so the question then, when you see a student who’s not engaged in a learning context, in a classroom context, the question isn’t really how do you give them engagement? You have to ask yourself, why is the student, what’s blocking the students’… What’s impeding the students’ natural ability to be engaged, to satisfy their curiosity? And I think what we see is when you look at some of the principles of learning science, you see that students, when they don’t find certain conditions being met in a learning context will look elsewhere and games, social media and video games are a great example.

Gaming is optimized in a sense almost by learning science, probably most directly by learning science to do all the things that satisfy a student’s desire to engage. So for example, a game upon entering the game, it’s immediately clear you belong. “Welcome Chris. So glad to have you, this game is for you. This is the best game ever, and it’s for you, so welcome,” and continually welcoming you and continually reinforcing. It doesn’t happen in every learning situation in a classroom. And from our perspective, we’re not the teacher of course. So we think about what our instruction materials do and not do. And one of the things that they can often send a signal is by whose voices they elevate and whose story gets told, they send a message of exclusion…

And a little bit of my own sensitivity to that…I was pulled out as a young reader and I was the subject of a reading intervention. But there was always a moment in the day when someone came to the door and knocked, and we tried to pretend like it wasn’t a big deal, but there was no hiding back. I was getting out of my class, my seat, leaving the classroom. And then there was a moment of re-entry, which is almost worse because it’s like entering the room, everyone’s laughing. And it’s like, “Yes, what did I miss?” But whose voices are heard, whose story gets told, do the characters in various roles look like you, and what are those roles? Are they positive, negative, or are they positively affirming? The subject area that’s grade level is for you. So that’s just one, belongingness just to pick that one apart, one that we think about a lot.

Chris Riback: How do you measure engagement? How do you measure success there?

Dan Cogan-Drew: I’m thinking of a Gallup Survey that ran for seven years ending in 2016, that basically found that the more time students spend in school, the less engaged they are. So 74% of kids in grade five were engaged, but 34% were engaged in grade 12. It just gets worse. And so what are you going to do in that circumstance? So I think one of the lights we want to shine this year is to measure engagement. And not just at the showing up. Is Dan’s butt in the seat? And is his computer on, and is he spending minutes in this program? That’s necessary, but not sufficient. What we really want to see is, is this increasing Dan’s motivation, his authentic desire to engage with this material?

Is it hard to measure? Absolutely. But we don’t think it’s impossible. And we think there’s a huge amount of leverage because with that comes actionable measures. We can understand more about the real relationship between the kind of content and the kind of experience with the content that will drive motivation for all students and for different groups of students in different ways, based on the context. So we’ve committed to making this a corporate level KPI (Key Performance Indicator), which is basically the highest value we can put on something this year. And we’re turning to experts in the field like Turnaround (for Children) to help inform our understanding of what is the foundation of the learning science around motivation, engagement and academic progress.

Chris Riback: Describe for me how Newsela works for a student, how they choose what to read. And maybe parallel to that, I found myself wondering as well about the obstacles that you face. Are your challenges with teachers? Are they with administrators? Are they with parents who want to know “Why is my kid learning about this? Where’s that information coming from? What are the sources, wait a minute, are they teaching my kid fake news?”

Dan Cogan-Drew: Yes, I think part of the benefit to the student is that this is a better way to get the work done, to be blunt about it. There’s a certain amount of work that I’m going to be asked to do and all things being equal. I’d rather use Newsela because I have access to an article at multiple levels. So I can feel confident that when I open a Newsela article, I have a mentality of, I can do this. I understand that there’s also choice. One of the things we worked very hard to do is to enable students with some degree of autonomy, even when they’re assigned something, unless they’re assigned read to this particular article. And even at that case that they could change the level if they wanted to read it at a lower level before a higher one. But they can also choose in the way that they learn about their U.S. history, the foregrounding of different characters in different narratives. So that there isn’t one U.S. history story.

Chris Riback: So a lot of optionality and is “empowerment” the wrong word?

Dan Cogan-Drew: I think empowerment, I mean, we’d say autonomy, agency, sense of control, from their learning science. It’s like, I need to believe that there’s something I can do that will impact either directly, the locus of control resides within me to a large extent, and isn’t just a foregone conclusion. I’m terrible in this class, nothing I do, learned helplessness. But I’m an agent of my own learning and I can pursue my curiosity where it leads. There are times when I can’t, there are times when my teacher assigns me something, so, okay, fine. I have to do this thing, but actually it’s not going to be as bad as it would otherwise be, somewhat negatively put, but cynical student, like “Fine do my homework.” But also maybe I might actually find something interesting in this along the way. When that’s the construct.

Chris Riback: Where does any pushback come from?

Dan Cogan-Drew: So pushback can come from you mentioned this like the sources. So prove to me that Newsela isn’t just fake news. We started out with this news in Newsela, and we’ve expanded far beyond news into primary sources and many other forms of writing and media. But there is an aspect to which the editorial process is similar to, if you’re getting it from both sides, you’re probably in an okay place. You’re not going to get to a place where everyone’s just like, “Oh, that’s fine and dandy.” But if the conservative constituents in various communities are a little bit upset about something and the liberal constituency is a little bit upset about something, you’re probably walking a line where, yes, there’s something upsetting for everyone in the world.

And students see that, and we don’t hide that from them. And we want to be forthright about where the controversy is, we publish pro-con articles specifically with that to call out, this is a conservative viewpoint. This is a liberal viewpoint. So I think we don’t hide from that. And increasingly we’ve seen districts engage in really deep conversations with their communities about, “Well, what do you really want kids to be reading about?” And the purpose of school is to prepare them for this world, not to hide the world from them.

Chris Riback: Can we talk about another challenging area that I know you have thought about, think about surely everyday perhaps. Technology on the one hand as a force for good, and technology at the same time as a divider, as an extender of gaps in opportunity. The digital divide: we read and heard so much about it really became even more known as COVID began to hit. It really raised to the fore that digital divide which frequently occurs along the lines of wealth and race. How do you think about that balance?

Dan Cogan-Drew: I think there’s some instructive data points that you can look at in terms of what we see at large. One thing that we noticed is that the folks who work in the tech industry tend to have a different view towards technology than folks who work outside of it when it comes to their own children. So you can say whatever you want, and then there’s what you’ll practice with your kids. And you see this Silicon Valley school model is not screen time driven. It’s much more about interpersonal connection, relationships, self-directed learning, and again, I think satisfying your curiosity as a learner and really tapping into what motivates you personally. So in that sense, it’s individualized. I think sometimes technology gets misused when you think to yourself, Well, what’s the best way to personalize learning for every student if we could just create the algorithm that would program someone’s learning, we could sit every kid down in front of something that was just right for them, and they would pursue their own path. And sometimes this is construed as like a way to accelerate kids who are already above grade level and they’re bored. Let them keep going, let the eighth grader work into the 11th grade material. That’s one perspective. I think it isn’t always the healthiest. I think technology, metaphorically when it’s misused, it’s like the screen, you can’t see the kid because the screen is in the way, you got this giant monitor and kids on the other side of it as a teacher, but you literally can’t see them. That’s the opposite of what the technologist should do, right? It should be a force for enabling connection, building relationships and being creative.

I think a lot of what the divide comes down to is who’s consuming and who’s creating? And the more you get the creators controlling the messages and the media, and you have a relative lack of diversity racially and ethnically amongst the creators, you see a kind of a control mechanism for what gets consumed by whom and for what purpose. And again, you see the producers are not, that’s not the way they educate their kids. So we got to stop and ask ourselves, why would that be?

Chris Riback: How do you think about adaptive technology? How do you think about the positive ways in which technology can help with learning?

Dan Cogan-Drew: One of the ways that I tend to look at technology is to try and understand a little bit about the mindset of the technology. We sometimes put the technology in a category as co-teacher and how well, how conversant is the technology with the teacher? Does the teacher tell the technology to do something? Does the technology understand what the teacher is trying to do here? When the technology speaks, “Back to the teacher,” can the teacher understand what it’s saying, can it offer insights into what students are doing? So there’s a relationship there that I think is Newsela or technology stand in, whatever you want to call it, teacher and student, and they play different roles, there are different jobs to be done so to speak.

And you have to be mindful of what does the software think its job is? And software doesn’t create itself. So someone created it, people, people have flaws and points of view and biases, and often there’s implicit models that you take a hard look at what the software thinks its job is, and it’s actually impinging on the student’s job or it’s impinging on the teacher’s job. And ultimately what we’re striving for is students to be self-directed and really turn that agency over to them. It’s a process, it’s a gradual process. It’s not something that we want to relinquish to them immediately.

Chris Riback: Loss of learning: such a concern over the last year. Our kids just aren’t learning enough. They missed too much school. We’ve lost a whole year. Is that what you see — is the right question to be asking one about loss of learning?

Dan Cogan-Drew: No, I think it’s the wrong direction, and how we frame the problem is how we’ll compose possible solutions. I think when we look at it from this deficit orientation, we’re putting everyone in a hole. We’re sort of saying that, just imagine what that says to teachers and what that says to students. Tens of millions of people in this country are getting the message that they’re in a losing battle. They’re losing every day, they’re losing, they’re losing more. And speaking of motivation, how de-motivating would that be to try to fight those circumstances and that language every day as you sit down to again, pursue satisfaction of your curiosity. So I think we need to really, really question that. I understand it has a role in turning up the heat.

I think the heat’s up. We all get it. We can stop using those terms now. When you start talking about what actually has been gained, I think a lot of students have learned quite a bit that we may not think, we may not classify as academic learning. Maybe they did and therefore for some students, certainly the institution itself is actually a barrier, they’re better off at home due to the amount of impediments they face institutionally in the learning environment. And I think the part of this, I just have to step back here is that what the data sources are at the key. I think that’s at the heart of the problem is that, what we’re getting testing data. That is, when new data comes out, a new “Data” comes out, it’s testing data.

So everyone’s like, “Oh, look, that’s the spotlight. That’s where we should be looking. And that’s where our eyes are directed.” And so we end up talking about test scores. We need new and better data sources that help us understand other aspects of students and teachers’ lived experiences right now that are helping us round out our understanding, because people can remember typically one thing that they associate with one area school, tests, and I think that narrows the focus. So what you’re going to get, if you take that logic, you say the problem is academic learning. Well, what do we have that will help with that? It’s like, well, we’ve got a bunch of software that can personalize learning for every student. So let’s get more kids on more software throughout the summer and we’re going to catch up.

And I think that’s just going to decimate communities. I think it’s just going to rip through communities tearing apart the motivation, interfering with the relationships that kids need most right now. And I think that would be the worst outcome. We do this pre mortem exercise every once in a while to say ourselves like it’s August and everything went horribly wrong. What do we think happened? That’s probably my number one concern keeps me awake at night is that technology is going to be seen as one thing. It’s going to be applied in one way and everyone’s going to suffer.

Chris Riback: What an important question. What defines academic learning and what are we testing? I mean, we can use an old classification and we can test the wrong things and come up with the wrong data or challenged data around an outdated definition of something.

Dan Cogan-Drew: Yes. I mean, I’ll give you an example from a book I was reading recently called Make it Stick, which is basically a compendium of research on learning and what actually leads to outcomes and what are some of the mistaken notions out there. So there’s a notion called mass practice. It’s not just a notion, it’s a practice. We basically drill on something and in the short-term you see improvement on it. So we’re going to learn addition skills and we’re going to be drilling on addition skills and over the course of our 40 minutes, or even a couple of days, my kids are going to get better at addition skills, then along comes an addition problem in the real world that isn’t presented as the next item on a problem set, and somehow, crazy as it seems, students have trouble. I’m oversimplifying addition, perhaps they could do this, but they have trouble translating this massed practice of addition skill after addition skill to the real world context, because the real way that learning happens is through an interleaving of the tasks that are similar, but in a different context.

And it’s deceptive because educators in the room, and you can imagine a coach, a soccer coach just drilling a certain kind of, passing with the right foot. We’re getting really good at passing with the right foot, cut to the game, the ball lands on my right foot. I’m just as likely to goof that pass, even though I’ve just done 40 isolated practices of passing with my right foot, because I haven’t really synthesized and understood that skill in a larger context. And I think that’s a pitfall we could easily fall into, and software’s great at algorithmic repetition with incremental advances and all the like, and I think that will lead us to arrive at some mistaken conclusions about the progress we’ve made.

Chris Riback: It’s also another excellent argument why we all should be playing frisbee and not just soccer. I think that was really the point that you wanted me to take away from that example.

Dan Cogan-Drew: There’s one thing, there’s only one thing.

Chris Riback: If there’s just one thing, Dan, as we start to close out, what’s the most interesting, or maybe surprising thing you’re learning about students as they use Newsela, maybe about their interests or motivations?

Dan Cogan-Drew: I think one of the things that’s most interesting is that students are more ready for this world. They live in this world more deeply than we sometimes give them credit for at younger and younger ages. And that they’re exposed to what we might’ve thought in my generation, let’s say, were adult topics much, much younger, and they are aware on the periphery of these things. And when they’re not fully, not able to face them directly sort of fully face them and learn about them. They’re really become sources of agitation and stress and they’re distractions that are not easily satisfied. And you can’t address it, there’s something bothering you. And you’re not sure what it is because you heard a snippet around something that sounds very disturbing, but you’re only in third grade and nobody’s explaining to you, what’s going on.

And often it’s teachers who are in that position. And I think we really need to honor kids and understand like the world we live in and their exposure to it is much deeper and much more significant than I think people in my generation may initially have perceived, I’ll say, I perceived personally, that’s a learning that I’ve had.

Chris Riback: TechCrunch says you’re a unicorn, are you a unicorn?

Dan Cogan-Drew: Technically I suppose we’re a unicorn. Sure. But I think there’s many other opportunities for companies to grow and help teachers out that don’t have to become these diamond in the rough unicorn types. There are a lot of openings and a lot of problems to be solved. And I think if you’re always putting teachers and kids first, and you’re really thinking about the human aspect and the relationships that you’re trying to foster and removing obstacles to these, then you could see boundless opportunities. So I don’t think, we’re not alone and we certainly won’t be going forward.

Chris Riback: Dan, thank you. Thank you for the conversation. Thanks for what you and your colleagues do for students, teachers, educators, parents, our schools.

Dan Cogan-Drew: Thanks very much, Chris. I enjoyed the conversation. Thanks for having me.

Turnaround connects the dots between science, adversity and school performance to catalyze student development and academic achievement. www.turnaroundusa.org