My 5 Future Ready Takeaways

HOUSTON IS FUTURE READY ARE YOU?

I advocate on a daily basis for students across the country (globe in many cases), who happen to live with cancer or some other chronic illness…it’s what I do.  I advocate for students who would prefer not to be treated any differently than their peers and whose simple desire is to attend school, learn, grow, be engaged, build relationships with peers and enjoy the process along the way.  They desire no special handouts, just a normal environment lead by someone who cares enough to prepare them for a future (in a #futureready environment perhaps)…because after all they do intend to survive.

It is safe to say, that this is indeed the case for ALL children across the country… who in some way, shape, form or fashion represent a sub population of students desiring nothing more than to survive.  Each of our students carry a hope for their lives, but is ultimately impacted by the environments in which they live… their homes, schools and communities.  This belief, carries with it an urgent confirmation that the Future Ready Schools movement is indeed vital.

For those of you who don’t know, and honestly I didn’t until my cousin Rafranz Davis suggested that my colleagues and I attend the Future Ready Houston Summit (only a week out)—it’s a must attend.  It is a government initiative launched by the White House to ensure that every child is prepared for a successful future. More specifically, it is a “bold new effort to maximize digital learning opportunities and help school districts move quickly toward preparing students for success in college, a career, and citizenship” (www.futurereadyschools.org).

To say the summit was extraordinary would be an understatement,  and to fully attempt to explain it would be an impossible undertaking.  However, I will offer my Top 5 Takeaways from the Future Ready Summit In Houston

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The camera caught me explaining our version of a Future Ready Leader. You can’t see the 100% battery charged—meaning all charged and READY to WORK. #goodstuff

  • Future Ready Is More than A government Summit: In the most lament terms, this summit is simply different!  It is less about facilitators giving you information about what you should be doing, as most lecture style conferences are and more about engagement, self-discovery and empowerment.  The summit is a space that brings together committed districts of varying sizes, organizations and professionals who pledge to a better tomorrow through their work with children. We were stretched and challenged and then afforded the gift of time to carve out our organizational plans.  It was about networking , relationships and teambuilding across district, and state lines…as all these things are pertinent in our efforts to move forward.  The Summit was everything I NEVER imagined and yet, everything I needed to highjack my fears and activate my greatest hopes as an educator.
  • Culture is everything: I am a firm believer that if it’s one thing leaders are 100% responsible for… it is setting the tone for the culture of the district or organization.  Perhaps, this is why the attendance of district Superintendents was required.  At the core of this pledge is the need to shift the mindsets of all stakeholders involved.  It requires everyone to find value in navigating away from historical policies, procedures and plans and embrace reflection, innovation and creativity.  It requires a culture that appreciates failure at the risk of getting it RIGHT for every single student that walks in.  It means that there has to be a domino effect of losing control…from district leaders, principals, teachers and parents.   What is the vision that drives your culture?  Once every stakeholder is able to communicate that then sustaining a culture that thrives is certain.
  • Devices, Apps and Technology: Though digital tools is at the core of the movement… it is not the movement…learning is! Equipping each of our classrooms with the latest and greatest in technology does not guarantee that learning is being achieved.  Your selection and usage of these tools should be purposeful and well managed.  And much like the textbook industry, there is no one size fit all digital package that will meet all the needs of your students, their families, staff and community members.
  • Diversify your team and get busy: Even with access to an extraordinary Future Ready dashboard that allows districts to assess, evaluate (ratings) and plan their overall digital performance… none of this is as powerful as actually DOING THE WORK …with ALL the right people involved. For as diverse as the students we serve are, so should the team be that is leading the charge in our Future Ready efforts.  Once you’ve built a team that represents every sub-population of the students and other stakeholders we serve…YES even our most medically fragile—it’s time to WORK.
  • Value teachers in the manner in which you expect them to value their students: Here’s the thing…value and ethics of care for those who are in the trenches daily is paramount. Teachers need nurturing and they need purposeful training and a platform that allows them to utilize their voice.  When this statement was made in the conference I paused and thought…how powerful.  Value our teachers’ confidence, their credibility, their creations, their concerns and watch them cultivate children who are Future Ready.

Wait, one last thing…It’s FREE…yep an educators dream.  Free food too… did I say that??  I sure did, now check out the upcoming summit dates take the pledge and get FUTURE READY.

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