Our Story: Newsela

Our Story

Co-founders Matthew Gross and Dan Cogan-Drew wanted to build a product that delivers meaningful classroom learning for every student.

It started with content.

Content is a powerful tool.

When students can draw personal connections to their classroom materials, they engage more in their learning, participate more in class, and better understand what they’re learning. 

Whether it’s seeing themselves represented in the lesson of the day, making past-to-present connections with history, or discovering unique interests in the stories they read, we believe content has the power to create those personal connections and inspire a love of learning.

Traditional materials weren’t cutting it.

Step into any classroom and chances are you can usually spot the students who don’t want to be there. They’re the ones blankly staring at their assignments, not participating in the discussion, and not engaging with their classmates. Maybe they don’t understand the topic. Maybe they’re bored and don't feel connected to the lesson. Maybe they feel embarrassed that they get pulled out of class for extra help. 

Whatever the reason, the result is the same.

We wanted to change that.

Newsela launched in 2013 with a bold mission: meaningful classroom learning for every student. 

Founders Matthew Gross and Dan Cogan-Drew built a platform that gave teachers the relevant, engaging content they desperately needed: news, aligned to state learning standards and delivered at five different reading levels.

Finally, teachers didn’t have to choose between engaging, accessible content and delivering standards-aligned instruction. They had a powerful tool that connected lessons to the real world and helped students understand why learning matters.

Our family of products grew.

We didn’t stop there. We added activities like quizzes, writing prompts, and Power Words, giving teachers tools to help students build skills in addition to knowledge. We added subject-specific products for ELA, social studies, and science, giving teachers curated resources aligned to what they’re teaching. 

A few years later, we added Formative—the leading real-time instruction and assessment platform—to our product suite, giving administrators and teachers even more access to collaborative, real-time, actionable data in the classroom.

We push forward.

School districts overwhelmingly choose Newsela because of the unparalleled value we bring to administrators, teachers, and students. Millions of teachers and students have used Newsela products to bring learning to life with engaging, relevant, accessible content and activities.

We put educators and students first in all we do. Our team of experts, former educators, and education champions constantly strive to deliver powerful solutions to inspire our users. And we’re forever pushing forward on the path to meaningful classroom learning for every student.

Hear from our team

In the press

EdWeek Market Brief

K-12 Dealmaking: Newsela Leans Into Classroom Assessment With Acquisition of Formative

Newsela is seeking to vastly expand its delivery of real-time assessments through the newly announced acquisition of Formative.

The New York Times

Learning Apps Have Boomed in the Pandemic. Now Comes the Real Test.

“Teachers are starting to realize which tools are really built for both a physical and a remote classroom,” Mr. Gross said, “that work equally well in both settings.”


Newsela Raises $100M to Challenge K-12 Textbook Publishers, Eyes Acquisitions

Business news is packed with unicorns, and Newsela is the latest in education to join the herd after reaching the vaunted billion-dollar valuation.

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