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Aurora Institute

Press Release

iNACOL Is Now the Aurora Institute

National Nonprofit Committed to Systems Change in K-12 Education Will Now Be Known as the Aurora Institute

PALM SPRINGS, CALIF. – Oct. 28, 2019 – iNACOL is changing its name to the Aurora Institute. The change is a result of broadening its narrow focus from online learning as a delivery method to a broader narrative about education innovation in the context of human development. The change is also a reflection of the organization’s deepening commitment to the transformation of education systems and the advancement of breakthrough policies and practices to ensure high-quality learning for all.

The announcement was made Monday evening at the 2019 iNACOL Symposium in Palm Springs, California, an annual event drawing nearly 3,000 education innovators advocating the move away from the traditional, time-bound K-12 model toward new, student-centered approaches to teaching and learning.

“Over the past 17 years, we have grown and evolved, with a new mission, vision, and values. We sought a name that created space for the conceptual work we do in transforming learning for a brighter future and shining a light on innovations across the field,” said Susan Patrick, president and CEO of the Aurora Institute.

The rebrand has been in development for nearly three years. iNACOL was founded in 2002 as an online learning association — then a response to the lack of access many students had to rigorous high-quality courses. Technology-enabled learning has been an incredible innovation for K-12; it is, however, one of many ways to deliver high-quality learning. Over the past decade, the work of the organization has evolved to more closely examine the root cause of issues surrounding access and opportunity in education, along with the fundamental shifts required for all students to be prepared for success in our rapidly changing world. This required a change in focus from delivery method to the intent, purpose, and possibilities of education more broadly.

The board of directors formalized this shift in focus by adopting a new mission, vision, and value set for the organization in late 2017. Since then, the organization has consulted partners in the field of next-generation learning, schools, and other stakeholders to conceive of and bring its new identity to life.

“Aurora means dawn. We think it’s a powerful metaphor about the potential and promise embedded in K-12 education,” said Patrick. “An Aurora signals a fresh start, a new beginning, and hope for the future. That’s what our nation’s education systems can do for each and every learner, and that’s what it can do for the nature of teaching and learning too.”

The change in name does not signal a change in passion. All of the work and legacy embedded in the iNACOL name will continue under the Aurora Institute, including conducting research, issuing publications, hosting webinars, visiting schools, analyzing and developing policy, facilitating learning communities, tracking legislation and offering technical assistance, and advocating for personalized, competency-based education. The annual Symposium, the field’s flagship convening for systems change allies, will also continue.

“We are widening our tent and elongating our table to be of service to education systems and to the democratic ideals underpinning them,” said Patrick. “We make room for all forms of next-generation learning methods aimed at equalizing opportunity. Our new identity helps our name to better match our mission, the breadth and depth of our work, and the urgency of change.”

The rebrand announcement came with an unveiling of a new logo and tagline, “A New Dawn for Every Learner,” along with a special video message explaining why the change is necessary.

A full website redesign is expected in Spring 2020.  For more information visit:

The Aurora Institute (formerly iNACOL) drives the transformation of education systems and accelerates the advancement of breakthrough policies and practices to ensure high-quality learning for all.  Visit our website, like us on Facebook, connect with us on LinkedIn and follow us on Twitter.

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