Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Are We Future Ready?

 When Eric Sheninger came to talk to our complex area school teams last summer, everyone was inspired and excited, but like other professional development sessions, there was no follow-up plan of action or requirements for schools. As a result, integrating technology got pushed to the side at many schools as the reality of Department mandates and requirements consumed a principal's day.

Today, Eric came for a full-day training with us, and the focus was on Future Ready. When I heard about the Future Ready initiative and read the State's plan,  I saw this as a way to get additional devices for our school.  I was ready to jump through hoops to get a piece of the pot, and I thought we had a pretty good chance to be one of the schools in the next phase. But wanting to be selected and being Future Ready are not one-and-the-same.

As we reflected on where we are and discussed the categories or gears of the Future Ready Framework, our complex principals realized that we are all at different places and that we have no common vision for 21st century teaching and learning in our complex.  The first task for us is to have a common K-12 vision for our students and teachers and to begin the discussions with our staff about what it means to be a Future Ready school.

I thought we were doing quite well at our school, but the questions on the self-assessment told me otherwise.  Frankly, I was a bit depressed after realizing that we are not as Future Ready as I thought. Yes, we have some areas that we are doing pretty well in, but there are other areas that are woefully dismal and that we may not have control over (such as funding).

So what are our next steps?  First, we need to come together as principals and have an honest discussion about our vision for the K-12 learner in our complex area and create a plan to address our priority areas.  Then as a principal group, we need to commit to learning together and growing professionally. If it's important to us, we need to make the time to support each other.

Now that I've had time to reflect on the day, I am feeling more hopeful. I truly enjoy working with my colleagues in the North Central Complex Area, and I know that Future Ready can take us to the next level where we are all working with a common vision for our students and our schools.

Thank you, Eric, for sharing about Future Ready with us. It is hard, and there are lots to think about, but you are right; it's not supposed to be easy, and we need to challenge ourselves to get better.

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