Flex when conventional instruction is not a fit

Follow the playbook for disruptive innovation by starting a Flex model where it doesn't meet overwhelming resistance, such as . . .

. . . where a conventional teacher is unavailable

. . . a summer school or bootcamp

. . . a community that is concerned with pandemic readiness

. . . a microschool or school in church or office space

. . . a virtual school that needs an in-person option

. . . a prison, immigrant, homeless, or refugee center

. . . a dropout recovery or gifted program

. . . or any school with enough stakeholder support

Get my vintage playbook to learn some moves.

Heather Clayton Staker seated on a stool

Flexible instruction for a complex world

Think of your favorite teacher when you were young. Unfortunately, the world does not have enough of these superhuman individuals to ensure that the conventional classroom is a viable model as we advance.​

But there's good news. The Flex model of blended learning emerged 20 years ago and is improving. The Flex model is in-person schooling that combines two things:

  1. online learning to access the right lessons regardless of location and
  2. other activities, such as group discussions, projects, and 1-on-1 coaching.​

Because it doesn't require in-person teachers, the Flex model can snap into small schools, studios, pods, alt campuses, and churches. I first saw a Flex school in 2010. I loved it so much that we moved our family from Hawaii to Texas to enroll.​

I've been writing about, speaking about, and recreating Flex models ever since.

Save yourself 20 years

Learn from my legwork


Thanks to Christensen Institute research

You can leapfrog two decades

that included these milestones:
Heather Clayton Staker at CA State Board of Education meeting

California State Board of Education

Student Member, 1993-94

I became curious about how to change the system after the Governor of California appointed me to vote on behalf of students as a high school senior on the State Board of Education.

Heather Clayton Staker in cap and gown at Harvard College

Harvard College & Harvard Business School

Bachelor's degree 1998 and MBA 2001

An undergraduate concentration in government and an MBA concentration in social impact further fueled a determination to improve the education system.

Report: Classifying K-12 Blended Learning

Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation (formerly, Innosight Institute)

Research fellow, 2010 to present

Based on Professor Clayton M. Christensen's theories at this think tank, I co-created a definition and taxonomy for “blended learning”—the use of online learning in in-person schools.

▶︎ Download

Report: Is K-12 Blended Learning Disruptive?

“Is K-12 Blended Learning Disruptive?”

White paper, 2013

Clayton M. Christensen, Michael B. Horn, and I argue that the Flex model is more “disruptive” to conventional classrooms than other models are.

▶︎ Download

Staker family

Acton Academy, Main Campus

Getting the parent experience, 2010-2019

Enamored with the Flex model of blended learning, Allan and I moved our family to Austin, Texas to enroll them in the first Acton Academy, which has the features of a Flex microschool.

▶︎ Amazon: Laura Sandefer's book, Turning Learning Upside Down (with a foreword by me!)

Cover of the book Blended: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools

Blended: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools

San Francisco: Wiley, 2014

This bestselling book from the Christensen Institute shows you four main models of blended learning and a roadmap for implementing them. My coauthor: Michael B. Horn

▶︎ Amazon

▶︎ Barnes & Noble

Heather Clayton Staker, Ready to Blend LLC

Ready to Blend LLC

Founder, 2015-2024

As the demand for workshops about blended learning surged, I founded the training firm "Ready to Blend." (But now Guide School uses digital distribution to help you afresh!)

▶︎ White paper on developing the education workforce

Blended Learning Live! workshop with Heather Clayton Staker

Blended Learning Live! and Teacher Boost

Teacher and School Leader Workshops, 2016-2024

Ready to Blend certified 150+ facilitators to run Blended Learning Live! and Teacher Boost, two workshops that simulate blended classrooms.

Cover of The Blended Workbook

The Blended Workbook: Learning to Design the Schools of our Future

San Francisco, Wiley: 2017

This Christensen Institute workbook annotates examples of blended learning plans that we helped 75 school districts develop. My coauthor: Michael B. Horn

▶︎ Amazon

▶︎ Barnes & Noble

Heather Clayton Staker speaking in China

International expansion

Africa, Asia, Australia, Canada, Europe & South America

With societies facing wars, migration, refugees, teacher absenteeism, pandemics, and other realities . . . I am grateful for the emerging Flex solution!

Students in Malaysia using a camera


Accelerate Learning with Microsoft through Blended Learning

Global pilot projects, 2022 and on

A partnership with Microsoft Education for their digital tools allowed me to pilot-test Flex models in Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, and Rwanda.

▶︎ 1st Singapore case study

▶︎ 2nd Singapore case study

▶︎ Malaysia case study

Heather Clayton Staker in white blazer with arms folded across chest

Launch of Guide School

To prepare guides for Flex models, 2024 and on

Welcome to Guide School, where you’ll find programs that help your Flex schools develop the capable guides we need for the 21st century!

▶︎ Enroll in your first program

Staffing AI-era schools with guides

Disruptive innovators are replacing conventional classrooms with Flex models that are suited to the complex needs of students today. These special new spaces need guides. I'm here to support you in this critical opportunity for K-12 education. 

Heather Clayton Staker in a green shirt