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Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of the year.  This year, we are traveling with my extended family (10 of us in total) to New York City, where my niece lives, for the long holiday weekend.  Love being in the city at this time of year—cold, crisp weather, holiday lights starting to show up on the streets.

I am thankful for so many things this year.  My oldest son got married, bought a home, and adopted a 2-year-old that they had been foster-parenting since birth (my first grandchild!).  Our younger son is teaching high school math, and is head coach for the school’s tennis team that should start the season ranked #1 in the state.  Our daughter is in her freshman year of college, and enjoying the campus living experience.  My wife is doing executive coaching and also working to ensure the gym we own recovers from the pandemic; she and I are empty nesters for the first time!

I’m also thankful for many things happening around the country.  Over 40 states have now adopted K-12 computer science standards—accelerating the movement over the last few years toward recognizing computer science as an essential academic subject to be taught in our nation’s schools.  In a recent survey, over 65% of teachers, principals and superintendents agreed that computer science is as important to teach as the other core subject areas such as math, language arts, science and social studies.  This is not only a national security issue, as the United States lags far behind the number of computer science graduates each year in both India and China, but also an important issue of equity.  Exposing our youngest students to computer science concepts and lessons helps to ensure that all students—regardless of income, gender, or race—have the opportunity to develop an appreciation for this subject area which can lead to enhanced career opportunities later in life.

Additionally, I am thankful for the increased attention on closing the digital divide—and the recognition that closing this equity gap involves not just providing equality of access to devices and broadband access, but also to adequate digital skills instruction.  Significant initiatives at the state and federal levels are in process to tackle this important issue, helping to allow underserved communities to develop the access and skills to participate as members of our increasingly digital economy and society.  For over 20 years, Learning.com has focused on equipping students with digital skills essential to thriving in a digital world, and now that mission is being embraced by educators, administrators and governments.

At Learning.com, we also have many things to be thankful for.  I continue to be so thankful for the loyalty of our customers.  Last year was the best year in our history in terms of customer retention…and this year has been even better!  Our team has worked hard over the last few years to drive up customer satisfaction and retention—customer retention is truly a company-wide metric.  And in addition, for the 6th year in the last 7, Learning.com was recognized as a Top Workplace in Oregon and SW Washington.  I am so thankful for the culture that our executive team and our employees have created, especially coming through all the challenges of the last 2+ years.  I am honored to lead this amazing team.

Happy Thanksgiving!