“Future Ready” is a term we often use here in the Lake Washington School District. In fact, our district vision is “Every Student Future Ready.” That is why I was intrigued when I received an invitation from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Technology, to sign the “Future Ready District Pledge.”
The U.S. Department of Education’s “Future Ready Initiative” centers on technology, education, and student achievement. By signing The Future Ready Pledge, our district is committing to empower school and teacher leaders to effectively use technology to impact student learning. The Pledge specifies seven areas, or “pillars,” and the work “Future Ready Districts” should be doing. Here is what the Pledge asks us to commit to:
Fostering and Leading a Culture of Digital Learning within Our Schools.
Future Ready district leadership teams work collaboratively to transform teaching and learning using the power of technology to help drive continuous improvement. We work together to protect student privacy and to teach students to become responsible, engaged, and contributing digital citizens.
Helping Schools and Families Transition to High-speed Connectivity.
Future Ready districts conduct comprehensive diagnostic assessments of the district’s technology infrastructure and develop a sustainable plan to ensure broadband classroom connectivity and wireless access. Future Ready districts work with community partners to leverage local, state, and federal resources to support home Internet access outside of traditional school hours.
Empowering Educators through Professional Learning Opportunities.
Future Ready districts strive to provide everyone with access to personalized learning opportunities and instructional experts that give teachers and leaders the individual support they need, when they need it. Future Ready districts provide tools to help teachers effectively leverage learning data to make better instructional decisions.
Accelerating Progress Toward Universal Access for All Students to Quality Devices.
Future Ready districts work with necessary stakeholders to ensure that all students and educators across the district have regular access to devices for learning. Future Ready districts develop tools to support a robust infrastructure for managing and optimizing safe and effective use of technology, so students have opportunities to be active learners, creating and sharing content, not just consuming it.
Providing Access to Quality Digital Content.
Future Ready districts align, curate, create, and consistently improve digital materials and apps used in the support of learning. Future Ready districts use carefully selected high quality digital content that is aligned to college and career ready standards as an essential part of daily teaching and learning. Teachers are able to share, discover, and adapt openly-licensed materials and teaching plans.
Offering Digital Tools to Help Students and Families Reach Higher.
Future Ready districts make digital resources available that help access expanded college, career, and citizenship opportunities. Future Ready districts promote ways to leverage technology to expand equity through digital activities such as completion of the FAFSA online, virtual counseling services, college scholarship search tools, and online advising access, all of which help to return America to the nation in the world with the highest college completion rate by 2020.
Mentoring Other Districts and Helping Them Transition to Digital Learning.
Future Ready districts work to design, implement, and share their technology plans. Future Ready districts join regional summits, participate in an online Connected Superintendents community of practice, and publish their Future Ready technology plans.
I am pleased to share that our district has signed on to the Future Ready Pledge. In fact, for the past several years, our district has been implementing concrete steps toward accomplishing the vision for technology infrastructure and integration outlined in the Future Ready Initiative. In collaboration with our community, we have committed to accomplishing a plan as set forth in the 2014 Four-Year Capital Projects Levy that was approved and funded by our voters. The technology portion of the levy includes funding efforts in technology infrastructure and support; equipment, and devices; instructional software and support; business and technology systems; and, technology training and professional development.
On November 19, President Obama officially kicked-off the “Future Ready Schools initiative.” Each year districts in Washington state have the option to submit an updated Technology Plan to the state for approval. We intend to submit a plan this year (due in April) to share our work and learn from others, as outlined in pillar seven above. You can also expect to receive an update on the work accomplished through our 2010 Capital Projects Levy in an upcoming community report, which will be sent via U.S. mail this winter.
We are proud to join with districts across the country in signing the Future Ready Pledge!
Dr. Traci Pierce
Lake Washington School District