Aspire’s Blended Learning Implementation Handbook

Aspire’s Blended Learning Implementation Handbook

We’re happy to share our latest draft of our Blended Learning Implementation Handbook because at Aspire, part of our mission is to “share successful practices with other forward thinking educators.” We’ve received so much support and input from the blended learning community and attribute much of our early successes to the lessons learned by our colleagues who did this work before we even started. It only made sense to us to share more widely some pieces of our program that have been useful for our teachers.

This handbook was started a few years back when a couple of our first blended learning pilot teachers at Aspire ERES Academy in Oakland, Amy Youngman and Claire Hawley, agreed to write the first drafts for blended pilot teachers for their new colleagues who would be piloting the following fall. Not wanting others to have to reinvent the wheel, Claire and Amy were able to codify their early lessons learned in order to support their colleagues. That summer, they trained all their new blended learning colleagues and set the tone for a really successful year of blended learning school-wide.

Months later, we secured funding to convert to blended learning another Aspire school, Aspire Titan Academy in Los Angeles. The Titan teachers took the handbook and crafted a whole series of lesson plans to help each other set up blended in their classrooms. They graciously shared these plans with us, so we could share them back with ERES, and outwardly with other blended learning teachers.

From that point, my blended learning colleague, Chris Florez, made it look great, and added the whole context piece. Chris is in Memphis, Aspire’s newest region, charged with ensuring the success of our first new blended learning schools that we’re opening this fall. Chris wanted to make sure our new Memphis teachers understood what blended learning was, and how to do it well.

Back here in Oakland, my colleague, Elena Sanina, added the Common Sense Media digital literacy material, as we’ve recognized both that our students need more instruction in this area, and blended teachers need some “offline” lessons to do if and when the network goes down.

Look it over – please send me your feedback and know that this is a work in progress for all of us! We’ll continue to revise it as we learn, innovate and discover. Thanks for all you’ve done this year to make blended work at Aspire!

Written by Liz Arney

Liz Arney

Director of Innovative Learning at Aspire Public Schools, a charter management organization with 34 schools in California.


  1. Greg Gentle

    Thank you for sharing your work. Your efforts to document and share your journey is so appreciated!

  2. I recently participated in a webinar on Blended Learning that included a wonderful video from Aspire ARES Academy, demonstrating how a good theory looks when implemented successfully in a classroom. This article includes a link to the webinar, which was produced by the Colorado Legacy Foundation:

  3. Thank you for this handbook and for your philosophical view of sharing resources, strategies and ideas. We all benefit with this framework.

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