Future Ready Schools® Digital Equity

Supporting underserved schools and districts with resources and leadership strategies for the successful implementation that improves learning outcomes for all students

Schools and districts face greater demands to prepare students for college and a career, yet many students—especially students of color and those from low-income families—do not receive the necessary support to achieve at high levels and succeed after high school. To help meet these needs, Future Ready Schools ® (FRS) –led by the Alliance for Excellent Education and with support from AT&T —has launched a program, the FRS Digital Equity Program, that will provide school district leaders with the resources, leadership strategies, and support to better plan and implement a digital learning strategy to improve learning outcomes for all students.

With support from AT&T, the FRS Digital Equity Program will create a strong network of district leaders representing high-needs schools throughout the country that will share resources, capture best practices, and identify additional support that aligns with their specific needs.

FRS will also work with these districts to help them complete a digital learning implementation plan using the FRS Interactive Planning Dashboard. The dashboard helps to align research-based strategies with each district’s specific needs, allowing school district leaders to create systemic action plans before purchasing additional technology—ensuring a much smoother implementation.

“Technology is making it easier for students—regardless of age, gender, income, or geography—to learn anytime, anywhere,” said Nicole Anderson, AT&T ‎assistant vice president of corporate social responsibility. “Through our collaboration with the Future Ready Schools initiative, we’ve seen firsthand the powerful role technology can play in personalizing learning and improving student outcomes. The new Digital Equity Program will bring that power to even more underserved students and help us identify and scale best practices across the country.”

FRS Digital Equity program will help ensure that those who are historically underserved have equitable access to the opportunities that digital learning can provide. Specifically, it will help leaders effectively plan and implement student-centered learning strategies; assess their current educational environment to identify points of leverage, build an in-depth understanding of the essential components of a digital learning transition; and develop a strategic plan that fits their specific educational context.

Through consistent use of the suite of FRS resources, face to face and virtual workshops, and access to progress data in the FRS Planning Dashboard, district leaders will cultivate a network of educators in similar contexts that can be of support during their digital learning transition. Read the Press Release

Future Ready Impact Series

Innovation and Equity: Expanding Access to Advanced Placement Course

Featured District: Colton Joint Unified School District (CJUSD), California

Although personalized instruction has been a goal for the district, CJUSD catalyzed its effort to leverage technology fully, by joining the Future Ready Schools® (FRS) network in 2014. That year, Superintendent Jerry Almendarez took the Future Ready District Pledge and set the district on a path to creating student-centered learning using the FRS framework as a guide. His enthusiasm for change motivated the district leadership team, teachers, and staff to increase their professional capacity on technology integration by participating in FRS’s regional professional learning events, face-to-face workshops, and virtual support. This commitment to change laid the groundwork for CJUSD’s effort to redefine learning in the district and articulate a new profile of a high school graduate that focuses on addressing equity.

CJUSD focused on student performance in advanced placement coursework as their initial equity challenge, Read more about how district leadership leveraged in-person video conferencing to increase opportunities for high school students. DOWNLOAD

Innovation and Equity: Improving Instruction Through Professional Learning

Featured District: Sioux City Community School District (SCCSD), Iowa

Over the last few years, SCCSD made significant investments in digital transformation, implementing a one-to-one student to device initiative at the high school level; expanded multiple science, technology, engineering, math (STEM), and career-focused program

offerings; and developed seventeen school construction projects. Despite these successes, the district sought to leverage the FRS resources to help them identify key points to implement personalized learning strategically to enhance the district’s internal leadership capacity and improve initiatives the district had in place.

With this knowledge, SCCSD created a professional learning program that provides teachers from elementary, middle, and high schools throughout the district with training on instructional approaches that highlight the use of technology to personalize student learning. The program applied a train-the-trainer approach to professional learning that would provide all SCCSD’s teachers, particularly those in schools with high needs students, access to the skills and resources they need to apply a personalized learning approach in the classroom. DOWNLOAD

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Participating Districts

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  • Colton Joint Unified School District (CA)
  • Florence Township School District (NJ)
  • Harrison School District Two (CO)
  • Highline School District (WA)
  • Newburgh Enlarged City School District (NY)
  • Newport School District (AR)
  • Oceanside Unified School District (CA)
  • Pontotoc County School District (MS)
  • Prince George’s County Public Schools (MD)
  • Rowland Unified School District (CA)
  • Sioux City Community School District (IA)
  • Yucaipa-Calimesa Joint Unified School District (CA)

Why Digital Equity Matters

Digital equity—or removing the opportunity divide between students who have and do not have access to digital resources—has become a prevalent topic among K–12 educators in recent years. As many districts and schools across the country move closer to transitioning fully to technology-enhanced, student-centered learning, there is a need to understand and address the barriers that inhibit many students from receiving a high-quality digital age education. Digital equity matters because

  • research has documented the negative impacts of differential access to technology on the academic achievement of K–12 students;
  • many of the country’s poor, rural, and underresourced schools do not have access to the technology needed to provide students with a high-quality digital age education; and
  • wealth gaps among schools and districts have the potential to enhance the achievement gap between children from high- and low-income families.

Development of the Future Ready Digital Equity program is made possible through support from 

About Philanthropy and Social Innovation at AT&T: AT&T Inc. is committed to advancing education, strengthening communities, and improving lives. We have a long history of investing in projects that create learning opportunities, promote academic and economic achievement, and address community needs. Our AT&T Aspire initiative uses innovation in education to drive student success in school and beyond. With a financial commitment of $400 million since 2008, AT&T is leveraging technology, relationships, and social innovation to help all students make their biggest dreams a reality.