Future Ready Schools® Launches New Network for Pennsylvania and West Virginia Educators

Jul 18, 2019

WASHINGTON, DC—School and school district leaders in West Virginia and southwestern Pennsylvania are invited to join an emerging network of innovative educators focused on creating more engaging learning environments for students. Announced today by Future Ready Schools®(FRS)—an initiative of the Alliance for Excellent Education—the FRS West Virginia and Pennsylvania (WVPA) Collaborative will improve educational opportunities for students of color, students living in rural areas, and students from low-income families.

“From extreme poverty to a lack of high-speed internet and affordable health care, Appalachia’s challenges are well-known, but its strengths—tight-knit communities and dedicated teachers and community members—are often overlooked,” said Deb Delisle, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former state superintendent of public instruction in Ohio. “The West Virginia-Pennsylvania Collaborative will support educators teaching students who face complex  challenges, both in and outside their schools. It will also serve as a model for future FRS state and regional networks throughout the United States that will connect educators and feature proven solutions that work for students. I have deep respect for the educators who are joining this work to benefit all their students and I am appreciative of the Benedum and Grable Foundations for their support of this critical work.”

The WVPA Collaborative, funded by the Benedum Foundation and the Grable Foundation, will help school and district leaders identify their specific teaching and learning challenges and match them to proven, evidence-based strategies that improve student outcomes and effectively incorporate technology into their instructional programs. The collaborative includes an advisory committee of education leaders from both states to ensure the project addresses specific needs within the states and aligns to each state’s goals for increasing student success.

“The Future Ready Schools framework serves as a valuable organizing tool in the creation of this unique peer learning community—one that supports progressive superintendents in their efforts to advance their districts,” said Jim Denova, vice president of the Benedum Foundation. “The Alliance for Excellent Education has put together a network of national experts who serve as online consultants, which is reinforced by a regional consortium of school leaders. This consortium includes veteran Future Ready leaders matched with aspiring district leaders, and it facilitates idea exchange between West Virginia and Pennsylvania schools. Innovation comes from this kind of collaboration, both national and interstate, and we are very excited about disseminating the results of this project with other school districts.”

“For more than a decade, educators and practitioners across our region have built an educational ecosystem committed to relevant, engaging, and equitable learning opportunities that endeavor to be world class,” said Gregg Behr, executive director of The Grable Foundation. “Our region’s partnership with Future Ready Schools builds on that ambition to remake learning and put our kids and their futures at the forefront of everything we do.”

Two key components of the WVPA Collaborative are free workshops in August and October that will empower school and school district leaders to transform their schools and better prepare students for a successful future.

On October 29, 2019, school district leaders will gather to create digital learning plans for their districts that personalize learning for students and leverage the power of technology to enhance student success. District leaders will learn from experts and each other about how to transform districts by revamping curriculum, instruction, and assessment; providing personalized professional learning for teachers and leaders; creating innovative learning spaces; and developing community partnerships.

In November, principals, librarians, instructional coaches, and other school-based leaders will explore effective leadership strategies with like-minded educators in the region. Participants will create a plan grounded in leadership and school culture for building strong instructional partnerships, develop an understanding of change management, and explore effective strategies and tools that support the development of a Future Ready school.

“Having a network of peers who face the same challenges every day is one of the most valuable assets an educator can have,” Delisle said. “Through these workshops, the region’s school and district leaders can network and learn from experts and mentors who have experienced—and overcome—many of the same issues they encounter.”

Interested individuals can sign up to attend the free workshops at https://futureready.org/events/wvpa/.

Established in 2014, FRS provides high-quality professional learning to school and school district leaders working to create learning environments that are tailored to each student’s unique needs and strengths. As it nears its five-year anniversary in November, FRS has grown into one of the largest networks of school districts in the country. Today, 3,300 school district superintendents—representing more than 19 million students—and more than 42,000 educators rely on FRS’s tools and resources focused on the effective use of technology to improve teaching and learning.

FRS workshops are based on the FRS framework and include extensive training on the FRS Interactive Planning Dashboard, a free online tool that serves more than 1,000 school districts and 15,000 educators nationwide. Through these tools, educators develop a customized, systemic plan to personalize student learning through high-quality teaching infused with technology. Additionally, the FRS five-step planning process, which is aligned with Title IV of the Every Student Succeeds Act, allows district leaders to analyze how technology purchases fit into their district’s vision for teaching and learning and support the unique needs of students. This process begins before districts invest valuable resources to purchase laptops, tablets, and other technological devices.

For more information about the WVPA Collaborative, including a list of participating school districts and members of the advisory board, visit https://futureready.org/our-work/wv-pa-collaborative/.

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The Alliance for Excellent Education (All4Ed) is a Washington, DC–based national policy, practice, and advocacy non-profit organization committed to improving educational outcomes—and lives—of students, with a focus on those in middle and high school. We embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion and specifically advocate on behalf of all students who are historically underserved or marginalized. all4ed.org

Future Ready Schools® (FRS) is a bold effort to maximize digital learning opportunities and help school districts move quickly toward preparing students for success in college, careers, and citizenship. FRS provides districts with resources and support to ensure that local technology and digital learning plans align with instructional best practices, are implemented by highly trained teachers, and lead to personalized learning experiences for all students, particularly those from traditionally underserved communities. FRS is led by the Alliance for Excellent Education alongside a vast coalition of organizations. futureready.org

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