WHAT WE DO

Actively Learn enables every student to learn deeply.

Actively Learn is an award-winning digital curriculum that drives student engagement and equity through deeper learning. Our flexible features and comprehensive, standards-aligned resources empower teachers to deepen students’ comprehension in ELA, social studies, and science. Actively Learn is part of the Achieve3000 suite of digital education solutions.

TEAM

Expertise across education and technology

Natalie Saaris, PhD
Vice President of Product and Marketing
Anish Mehta
Vice President
Engineering
Benjamin Gaines, EdD
Vice President
School Success
Christine DiBuono
Senior Manager
School Success
Cristina Marcalow
Senior Manager
Product & Content
Dannial Huang
Senior Manager
Teacher Support
Deborah LeAnce
Senior Manager
School Success
Deep Sran, PhD, JD
Chief Academic Officer
Diane Miller
Editor
Content & Instruction
Elaine Riordan
Content Marketing Manager
Glen VanDerPloeg, PhD
Senior Manager
School Success
Govind Khandelwal
Software Engineer
Hannah Calderwood
Product Support Specialist
Ilya Barshai
Data Scientist
Jay Goyal
President
Jess Bell
Senior Manager
School Success
Katie Sieverman, PhD
Manager
Product & Content
Kriti Mishra
QA Engineer
Kyle Zinter
Senior Software Engineer
Lauren Bonvini
Manager
School Success
Madeline Rabbitt
Product Support Specialist
Mary Graham
Staff Writer
Content & Instruction
Michel Mansour
Senior Software Engineer
Patrick Ryan
Senior Manager
Marketing
Prayas Tyagi
Software Engineer
Rajat Kanti Nandi
Software Engineer
Rudy Sharar
Senior Manager
Product & Content
Sergey Feldman
Senior Data Scientist
Shishir Chintamani
Principal Engineer
Stein Setvik
Chief Technology Officer
Steven Blagg, M.Ed.
Senior Manager
School Success
Suzanne Miller
Senior Manager
School Success
Tanya Talwar
QA Engineer
Tarhata Guiamelon
Product Manager
Tessa Polizzi
Senior Manager
Product & Content
Tyler Bills
Office Manager
Victoria Mendoza
Manager
Product & Content
Vikash Mehta
Engineer

FOUNDING STORY

The roots sprouted from the classroom

Actively Learn was founded by Dr. Deep Sran and Jay Goyal in 2012, but the company is built on more than 15 years of work to improve the design, practice, and experience of formal education.

Deep's doctoral work in educational psychology focused on creating an academic program that would promote student’s ability to think critically and to reason about complex questions, all in a learning environment where they would be happy and motivated to learn. He evaluated how well educational software fulfilled the requirements of cognitive models and patented an electronic reading environment that would allow students to construct knowledge in ways that were impossible with traditional texts.

After completing his doctorate, Deep worked at Cesar Chavez public charter high school in Washington, D.C., as a social studies teacher, instructional designer, and department chair. At that point, his goal was to eventually open a public charter school. After two years, however, he realized he would have more academic and institutional freedom at an independent school, so he founded Ideal Schools High School in Loudoun County, Virginia. This school was designed around four principles:

  1. Hire teachers who know and love their subjects
  2. Use rich, engaging content over traditional textbooks (for example, in history we assign authoritative trade texts like "On China" by Kissinger)
  3. Organize class time as a seminar discussion to explore subjects in greater depth
  4. Treat students like junior colleagues to help create a better student experience where they would love being at school. 

Even with these ideal conditions, students did not get as much from reading as Deep and his teachers hoped. All too often, students did not complete or merely skimmed the text, so they were ill-prepared and uninspired.  When students read away from teachers, or when they could not have a discussion with their peers, they simply did not engage. Deep realized teachers needed to be able to do what they were doing in class (scaffolding, encouraging discussion and peer learning, and providing feedback and assessment) when and while their students were actually reading.

Deep and Jay began to discuss the problem and search for a solution. Given Jay's penchant for working on big problems and social equity, coupled with his background in technology, it was a great match. They piloted a prototype at Deep’s school in which students performed 23% better on post reading comprehension tests and over 80% preferred it to traditional methods. After that validation, Actively Learn was born.