Company

About LearnZillion

LearnZillion team

Our Mission

LearnZillion is dedicated to championing teachers and supporting their ongoing professional development. Teachers develop expertise and insights while working with students, and have exceptional ideas for how to improve classroom learning. However, they have never been able to integrate that expertise into a curriculum that keeps getting better. We believe that empowering teachers to collaborate and share best practices creates new possibilities for students, and the profession.

Our Products

LearnZillion.com offers a free and growing set of Math and English Language resources for grades 2-12 that have been developed by expert teachers directly from the Common Core State Standards.

LearnZillion’s premium participatory curriculum platform enables schools and districts to accelerate the successful implementation of the Common Core, augment the efficacy of their coaches, create classtime capacity to address differentiation needs, and build teacher leaders.

History

The idea for LearnZillion began at E.L. Haynes Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. where co-founder Eric Westendorf, was principal. After watching 6th grade teacher Andrea Smith teach her students what it meant to divide by fractions, Eric wondered, "could powerful learning experiences be captured so that teachers didn't have to re-invent the wheel every time they taught a standard?"

He decided to find out.

Working with Andrea and a few other E.L. Haynes teachers, he created a homemade website that featured screencasts of high quality, Common Core lessons. The website worked. Not only could teachers find examples of high quality lessons, but parents and students also benefited from the explanations.

Thanks to a Next Generation Learning Challenge Grant, Eric was able to grow the idea. He teamed up with former classmate and teacher, Alix Guerrier, and together they recruited an initial corps of 20 Dream Team teachers from across the country. The Dream Team grew to 123 the following year. In 2013, 200 teachers from 42 states worked on high quality Common Core lessons. There are now over 10,000 high quality resources on the site, covering grades 2-12 in math and ELA. LearnZillion also launched it's premium offering to enable states, districts, and schools to provide powerful and invigorating professional development experiences for their own teachers.

For more about the founding story, check out this post on our blog, The LearnZillion Insider.

LearnZillion content philosophy

It's hard to teach a lesson. It's harder to teach it well. And it's particularly hard to teach it in a way that resonates and sticks with students. Teachers not only have to understand their content, they have to know the best way to teach it.

This idea of Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK) - knowledge of the content and the way to make it accessible to students - is at the heart of LearnZillion. PCK has become even more important with the depth that is now required by the Common Core State Standards. Our offerings are meant to help get teachers started with lessons that were designed with PCK in mind.

The resources on this site were built by a talented group of hundreds of practicing teachers (a.k.a. the LearnZillion Dream Team) for teachers everywhere. They're not perfect, and we don't claim that the methodology you see is the best or only way to teach the lesson at hand. However, we believe that each resource offers a great starting point for understanding and discussion. Collectively, as a community, we will continue to improve upon these lessons, building more practical resources and PCK as we go.

Frequently asked questions

Q: Who makes your content?

A: Every year we select a pool of highly qualified teachers from across the country to create the content you see on LearnZillion.com. This "Dream Team" of incredible educators range from board certified to teachers to those with less than 5 years of classroom experience. Each of them, however, has demonstrated a deep understanding of the Common Core, the ability to create lessons that connect with students, and a hunger to continue their own learning journey. All of them are excited to broaden their impact, learn from content experts, and challenge themselves in new and exciting ways.

Q: Are you a not-for-profit or a private company?

A: LearnZillion is a private, venture-backed company with a social mission. As former teachers, both our founders care deeply about supporting teachers and the vital work of teaching. LearnZillion was created as a private company in order to attract exceptional talent and get a useful product to market as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Q: How does LearnZillion make money?

A: Following our social mission, we offer teachers a wealth of free resources to support the creation of powerful learning experiences for students. LearnZillion makes money by contracting with schools, districts, and states for access to our premium participatory curriculum offering. For more about LearnZillion Premium, click here.