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STEP 4 – Moving from Essentials to Action

The Future Ready Learner Design Process is a tool designed for teams to articulate the skills kindergarten students should have after their first year and ultimately define a “portrait of a graduate” within their district. This process is designed as a critical element in a district’s continuous improvement planning effort as it emphasizes excellence, innovation, and equity in school design.

This is Step Four: Moving from Essentials to Action. In Step Four, you will create a unique and authentic version of a Future Ready Learner to share with your stakeholders.

At Future Ready Schools and the Readiness Institute at Penn State, we recognize that no two districts are the same. Each district is working to create their unique and authentic version of a Future Ready Learner, and thus we are providing options that support the various purposes for which the design process may be utilized.

Sample Use Cases:

Example 1: Future Ready Grade [Level] Learner
Rationale: This option is meant to envision one year into the future. Completed toward the beginning of the school year, this step can identify the desired version of a Future Ready Learner in a particular grade level at the end of a school year. 

Use Case: An 8th-grade middle school team utilizes Steps 1–3 and Action 1 in Step 4 to create a Future Ready Grade 8 Learner profile that can be used to backward plan the desired skill outcomes for that school year.

Example 2: Future Ready Graduate
Rationale: This option is for districts looking to develop their own unique version of a Future Ready Graduate and the skill set the community wants that learner to leave with upon graduation.
Use Case: The FR Unified School District leverages Steps 1–3 and Action 2 in Step 4 to create a Future Ready Graduate outline to build a shared understanding of essentials in an orderly manner.

Example 3: Future Ready Headlines
Rationale: This option is for districts looking to envision what a successful learner might look like 5 to 10 years postgraduation.
Case Use: The FR Unified School District leverages Steps 1–3 and Action 3 in Step 4 to create a Future Ready Headline that will be used by the community in its strategic planning process to envision what learner success might look like in the future.

Teams may elect to do one, two, or all three actions.

ACTION 1: Future Ready Learner Ideastorm Matrix

Objective: Use structured brainstorming with the team to identify new practical and relevant essentials that intersect distinct categories of the FRS framework.

Estimated Time: 45–60 minutes Materials: Sticky notes (15-25 per team member), black markers (one per team member), large flipchart or whiteboard (per group)

  1. INSTRUCTIONS: Future Ready Learner Ideastorm
    As a team, review the “gears” of the FRS framework. These will be referred to as “enablers” in the matrix. (10 minutes)
  2. Create a Future Ready Learner Ideastorm matrix on a whiteboard or large flipchart, selecting three to five Future Ready Enablers (selected gears) that are most relevant for your community and three to five essentials/characteristics selected from Step 2: Future Ready Dot Voting. (5 minutes) 

Set up your customized matrix using the voting from Step 2 and the FRS framework. A template and an example are here to help you: 

Future Ready Learner Ideastorm Matrix Template

Big QuestionArea of Focus from Future Ready Dot VotingArea of Focus from Future Ready Dot VotingArea of Focus from Future Ready Dot VotingArea of Focus from Future Ready Dot Voting Area of Focus from Future Ready Dot Voting
Future Ready Enabler*
Future Ready Enabler*
Future Ready Enabler*
Future Ready Enabler*
Future Ready Enabler*
*Future Ready Enablers: Gears of the FRS framework plus Collaborative Leadership:
Curriculum, Instruction, & Assessment; Personalized Professional Learning; Robust Infrastructure; Budget & Resources; Community Partnerships; Data & Privacy; Use of Space & Time; Collaborative Leadership
  1. Building on the Future Ready Dot Voting (Step 2) activity, invite the team(s) to write their most voted upon essentials on individual sticky notes and place them on the “Area of Focus from Future Ready Dot Voting” headings on the top row of the Future Ready Learner Design Process matrix. (5 minutes)
  2. Invite the group(s) to choose four Future Ready Enablers to list on the matrix. (Four is recommended, but schools/districts can choose fewer or more based upon specific needs.) Consider using the gears that are most relevant for your district’s work at this point in time.

Remind the groups that the enablers will help turn their essentials into actionable steps. (5 minutes)

Tips and Tricks: Consider using a different color or larger sticky note for each area of focus to distinguish them as headers.

ACTION 1: Future Ready Learner Ideastorm Matrix

Objective: Use structured brainstorming with the team to identify new practical and relevant essentials that intersect distinct categories of the FRS framework.

Estimated Time: 45–60 minutes Materials: Sticky notes (15-25 per team member), black markers (one per team member), large flipchart or whiteboard (per group)

  1. INSTRUCTIONS: Future Ready Learner Ideastorm
    As a team, review the “gears” of the FRS framework. These will be referred to as “enablers” in the matrix. (10 minutes)
  2. Create a Future Ready Learner Ideastorm matrix on a whiteboard or large flipchart, selecting three to five Future Ready Enablers (selected gears) that are most relevant for your community and three to five essentials/characteristics selected from Step 2: Future Ready Dot Voting. (5 minutes) 

Set up your customized matrix using the voting from Step 2 and the FRS framework. A template and an example are here to help you: 

Future Ready Learner Ideastorm Matrix Template

Big QuestionArea of Focus from Future Ready Dot VotingArea of Focus from Future Ready Dot VotingArea of Focus from Future Ready Dot VotingArea of Focus from Future Ready Dot Voting Area of Focus from Future Ready Dot Voting
Future Ready Enabler*
Future Ready Enabler*
Future Ready Enabler*
Future Ready Enabler*
Future Ready Enabler*
*Future Ready Enablers: Gears of the FRS framework plus Collaborative Leadership:
Curriculum, Instruction, & Assessment; Personalized Professional Learning; Robust Infrastructure; Budget & Resources; Community Partnerships; Data & Privacy; Use of Space & Time; Collaborative Leadership
  1. Building on the Future Ready Dot Voting (Step 2) activity, invite the team(s) to write their most voted upon essentials on individual sticky notes and place them on the “Area of Focus from Future Ready Dot Voting” headings on the top row of the Future Ready Learner Design Process matrix. (5 minutes)
  2. Invite the group(s) to choose four Future Ready Enablers to list on the matrix. (Four is recommended, but schools/districts can choose fewer or more based upon specific needs.) Consider using the gears that are most relevant for your district’s work at this point in time.

Remind the groups that the enablers will help turn their essentials into actionable steps. (5 minutes)

Consider using a different color or larger sticky note for each area of focus to distinguish them as headers.

Share your work!

Now that you have gone through the process, it’s time to share your work with Future Ready Network. Share your work with us so we can add it to our gallery of exemplars.

Developed in collaboration with:

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