Appearing with President Obama and more than 100 district school superintendents at a White House convening, Alliance for Excellent Education President Bob Wise today announced a series of regional summits and the unveiling of vast resources for district superintendents who take the U.S. Department of Education’s Future Ready District Pledge to develop the human and technological capacity needed to personalize learning using digital tools.
“This Future Ready initiative is an unprecedented coordination of public, nonprofit, and private resources to ensure that every student has access to the best learning opportunities through effective technology and quality teaching,” Wise said. “Today the nation’s school districts are taking a big step to make every student future ready. Already, more than 1,000 district superintendents have taken the Future Ready District Pledge—a number the Alliance will work to increase over the next year.”
The regional summits are part of the Future Ready Schools Initiative—a bold new effort announced today by President Obama and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to help school district leaders nationwide develop and implement sustainable, forward-thinking plans for pairing effective technology deployment and quality teaching. The Alliance for Excellent Education and the U.S. Department of Education are leading the initiative with support from the Leading Education by Advancing Digital (LEAD) Commission.
Open to any school district that has taken the Future Ready District Pledge, the regional summits will take place in 2015 in up to twelve of the following metropolitan areas: Atlanta; Baltimore; Chicago; Dallas; Denver; Phoenix; Pittsburgh; Raleigh; Seattle; San Francisco; St. Louis; and Providence.
Led by trained facilitators skilled at using technology and digital learning effectively, each regional summit will serve thirty to forty district teams consisting of three to five members. The summits will focus on a comprehensive set of issues that drive student learning including: curriculum, instruction, and assessment; professional learning; technology, networks, and hardware; budget and resources; data and privacy; use of time; and community partnerships. Highlighting the experiences of districts in each region, the summits will offer district leaders tangible ways to build capacity among their teams and throughout their districts. During each summit, district teams will develop an action plan to support their school leaders and teachers as they implement digital learning.
“The Future Ready Schools Initiative comes at a critical time as districts embrace college and career readiness as the goal for all students and recognize the potential of digital tools to help teachers personalize learning for each student,” Wise said. “It will help districts avoid pitfalls that are sometimes associated with technology purchases and planning while ensuring that school leaders, teachers, and students receive the support and tools they need to implement technology effectively.”
To provide ongoing support for the districts attending the regional summits and reach the hundreds of additional districts that cannot attend in person, the Alliance is building a Future Ready Schools Leadership Network that will provide continuing support and tools to all districts that take the Future Ready District Pledge. As part of the network, which is sponsored by AT&T and McGraw-Hill Education, more than twenty-five national organizations representing administrators, parents, teachers, and parents will combine their resources with numerous state and local organizations in an unprecedented effort to ensure that every school district is truly future ready.
Specifically, the network will offer (1) a Future Ready assessment and customized report to guide the development of concrete district action plans; (2) webinars and expert advisory chats; (3) examples of successful districts; (4) a community of mentoring districts; and (5) tools for tracking progress as districts implement their plans.
“Through the regional summits and the Future Ready Schools Leadership Network, districts will receive resources and support to ensure that local technology and digital learning plans align with instructional best practices, are implemented by highly trained teachers, and lead to personalized learning experiences for all students, particularly those from traditionally underserved communities,” Wise said. “Future Ready schools will have empowered teachers and leaders, students who take charge of their own learning, and parents who are engaged and informed. The end result is a more personalized approach to teaching and learning that ensures that all students have the skills they need to succeed.”
To learn more about the Future Ready Schools Initiative, visit www.FutureReadySchools.org.