The Alliance for Excellent Education (the Alliance) is a Washington, DC-based national policy and advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring that all students, particularly those who are traditionally underserved, graduate from high school ready for success in college, work, and citizenship. In 2015, the Alliance created a separate project under its umbrella called Future Ready Schools (FRS) to help school districts develop comprehensive plans to achieve successful student learning outcomes by (1) transforming instructional pedagogy and practice while (2) simultaneously leveraging technology to personalize learning in the classroom. Future Ready Schools is a registered trademark of the Alliance for Excellent Education.
The Alliance, partnering with the U.S. Department of Education and supported by the LEAD Commission, hosted 13 regional summits across the country between January 2015 and August 2015. The summits were incredibly popular, serving 463 districts and more than 2,200 education leaders representing over 4 million students. As the initial wave of FRS summits concluded, the demand for more summits and additional Future Ready activities was evident. There was a need to address the real and immediate needs of district leaders with ongoing, consistent, job-embedded support as they encountered the challenges of a digital transition. In 2016, Phase 2 brought an additional six summits and five workshops focused on the Future Ready Dashboard. Phase 3 in 2017 resulted in Future Ready being its own unique project within the Alliance offering ongoing professional development through institutes, statewide programs, dashboard trainings, constant online programming (webinars and blogs) through the Hub, leadership at regional conferences, as well as customized consulting services.
From FRS’s onset in 2014, the Alliance led the effort, and is now the official owner of the FRS trademark and all assets associated with the initiative. The key components that provide necessary services from inception to implementation to supporting districts in planning their digital transition are:
- Hub: As new experts and potential mentors are identified, thousands of district leaders are benefiting from conference connections, webinars, how-to videos, partner resource clearinghouse, and other supports offered though the FRS Hub.
- Interactive Planning Dashboard: Continuously expanding and improving, this free tool provides districts with the guidance to effectively plan a digital transition. It offers a digital readiness self-assessment tool as well as a five-step process to identify gaps, set goals, and select practitioner-based strategies to be included in a Future Ready action plan.
- Institutes and In-Person Events: FRS’s in-person events provide district leaders with many opportunities to learn, share, and network about promising practices in personalized learning implementation.
- State Leadership: A groundswell of enthusiasm for statewide programs has prompted FRS to deepen its bench to support state leaders who are planning state-level programming to support districts, especially in their Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plans.
- Strong Partnerships: FRS continues to nurture and expand strong relationships with more than sixty national and regional education groups that support the initiative with resources and expertise.
The Future Ready Framework
At the heart of Future Ready is the research-based Future Ready Framework, a robust structure for digital learning planning and implementation. The Future Ready Framework emphasizes empowered and innovative leadership and focuses on eight essential components (called gears), while keeping personalized student learning at the center of all decision-making.
The Interactive Planning Dashboard
This free online tool is designed to help district leadership teams plan systemically to use technology as a tool to effectively to engage students, empower teachers, and improve learning outcomes. Through the dashboard, district leaders assess their district's needs, identify gaps, obtain strategies, plan, and track their progress over time.
Implementing meaningful digital learning requires more than just purchasing devices for a school district. It requires thoughtful planning, preparation and analysis of student outcomes, teacher development, culture, and leadership. That’s where the Future Ready Interactive Planning Dashboard can help. The dashboard takes school district leaders through each step of a systemic planning process to create a comprehensive approach and action plan for implementing digital learning before they make the next purchase, ensuring a smooth implementation. Dashboard information can be downloaded here.
The Roadmap: A 5 Step Process
The Interactive Planning Dashboard outlines a 5 Step Process - an implementation roadmap - that should take districts between 4-8 weeks to complete. The process begins with a district leadership team self-assessment. After reviewing the results of the district leadership self-assessment, the leadership team is able to solicit stakeholder feedback on eight gear-level assessments. Leadership teams are then able to review the gap analysis and customized strategies to begin action planning.
The online planning template and comprehensive set of resources include research-based strategies to help district teams set goals, close the assessed gaps, and ask critical questions. Upon completion, the team will have created a fully customized digital learning transition plan developed by the district team through the collaborative activities embedded in the dashboard.
Future Ready Professional Development Opportunities
The Future Ready Hub is a “one-stop shop” for all FRS materials, tools, and activities and is a powerful online resource for district leaders. The Future Ready Hub offers school district leaders a variety of ways to share their own expertise and tap into the collective expertise of a broader community of education leaders. District leaders will have opportunities to showcase their successes, connect with mentors from districts within their states, and collaborate with leaders in their regions.
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Our Team: Need Help?
Not sure how to get started, or where to go next? Make sure to reference the 5 Step Process that was developed to help Future Ready Leadership Teams work together to create a customized Future Ready Action Plan. Questions or feeling stuck? Check out or Video Tutorials. Still need help? Contact Lia Dossin.