School District Transformation through the Future Ready Initiative (#FutureReady)
October 29, 2014 10:15 am
The Future Ready Schools Initiative is a bold new initiative, led by the Alliance for Excellent Education, supported by the US Department of Education, and in partnership with the LEAD Commission and a vast coalition of organizations, working to support school district superintendents and their leadership teams on district-wide transformation. The vision of this new initiative is for district leaders to develop and implement a sustainable, forward thinking roadmap for effective digital learning transformation. This transformation ensures that an effective technology deployment aligns with instructional best practices and is implemented by highly trained teachers, so that the learning is effectively personalized for every student. In turn, students will experience greater success and ultimately be better prepared to succeed in the competitive global workforce that they will face upon graduation.
The initiative began with the “Future Ready Pledge”, created by the Office of Educational Technology at the US Department of Education, and will officially launch through a Superintendent’s Summit that will be held at the White House in mid-November. 150 of the most innovative superintendents from around the nation will join high-ranking White House officials and members of the US Department of Education for a digital pledge signing ceremony, launching the initiative. Following the summit at the White House, twelve regional summits will be held across the nation, with hundreds of school leaders attending each event. At regional summits, district teams will develop specific action plans in areas such as professional learning, data and privacy, technology and networks, curriculum and instruction, assessment, the use of time, etc. Over the course of the first year, district leaders will be provided with a dynamic self-assessment tool, as well as additional implementation guidance, a vast array of online resources from the coalition partners, capacity to connect and network with other leaders in their region, and the support needed to transition their district into one that is future ready.
Effective transformation doesn’t happen overnight, and for such transformation to be sustainable, internal capacity must be developed. During this process, teachers will be empowered and a valuable part of the decision making process. Districts, through their future ready school leaders, will create cultures of innovation, where risk taking is encouraged, and technology enables teachers to personalize the learning for each student through rigorous, dynamic instruction. In a Future Ready School, all students have access to high quality digital content and broadband access supports whatever is dictated by teaching and learning needs. As with any technology-related initiative, it’s important to remember that pedagogy is the driver, while the technology serves as the accelerator. The Future Ready Initiative will support this notion, while giving district leaders resources, connections, and the training needed to initiate sustainable transformation in their school district.
Over the next four weeks, both the Alliance for Excellent Education and the Office of Educational Technology at the US Department of Education will share blog posts from guest bloggers on the following topics, all of which align to the Future Ready Pledge:
Fostering and Leading a Culture of Digital Learning Within Our Schools
Helping Schools and Families Transition to High-speed Connectivity
Accelerating Progress Toward Universal Access for All Students to Quality Devices
Providing Access to Quality Digital Content
Offering Digital Tools to Help Students And Families Reach Higher
Mentoring Other Districts and Helping Them Transition to Digital Learning
We encourage all educators to share their thoughts on how they are preparing students to be Future Ready in their schools! Make sure to include the hashtag #futureready and feel free to share with @all4ed and @officeofedtech. Share your #futureready story today!
Tom Murray is the State and District Digital Learning Policy and Advocacy Director at the Alliance for Excellent Education. Follow him on Twitter: @thomascmurray