Getting Schools Future Ready

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of representing EveryoneOn at the White House to join President Obama and over 100 K-12 Superintendents from across the country in launching the next phase of the ConnectED initiative. The convening, entitled “ConnectED to the Future,” marks another critical step toward realizing the administration"s vision to connect 99 percent of American students to next generation broadband by 2017, and to transform learning and improve opportunity for all students, regardless of their race, income, or zip code. Secretary Arne Duncan, Director of the Office of Education Technology, Richard Cullata, and the White House’s education adviser, Roberto Rodriguez, were all on hand to meet with the Superintendents and reaffirm the commitment to the goal first announced by the President in June 2013.

Among the highlights on the day was the president’s launch of Future Ready Schools Initiative, an effort to support and steward the swift adoption of digital learning strategies by districts, and to ensure those strategies are aligned with instructional best practices. Future Ready will be led by a coalition of education technology and inclusion partners, and we are proud that EveryoneOn has been asked to join the coalition in delivering hands-on training and facilitation at 12 regional summits in 2015.

At the end of the event, Obama led all 110 superintendents in a digital pledge signing ceremony, where they joined over 1,100 additional superintendents, from all 50 states in a promise to transform their districts into ones that better prepare students for their future. The initial signing had an impact on approximately 10.9 million of our nation’s students. In his remarks, Obama summed up the critical importance of the effort, stating: “Every child deserves a shot at a world class education.”

At EveryoneOn, we remain inspired and committed to ConnectED, and are playing an important role in making the value real and actionable for teachers and students. To date, we have been working to communicate, coordinate and deliver to districts the private sector pledges from partners like Microsoft, Sprint, and Safari Books, among many others and with the partnership of ofDigital Promise and theLearning Accelerator.

In addition, the expertise and thought leadership of EveryoneOn’s National Connected Advisory Council, comprised of chief technology officers and chief information officers from leading K-12 districts nationwide, has been instrumental in designing a set of priorities and standards for how it is implemented. These efforts led to the development of simple rubric that is already being used to steward improvements to existing ConnectED offers and inform new offers in the future.

Looking toward 2015, we are ready to roll up our sleeves to assist Future Ready schools across the country achieve successful implementations. The White House event reaffirmed the national imperative to bring the transformative power of “anywhere, anytime” learning to all our students as fast as possible. Through EveryoneOn, and the committed work of our digital inclusion partners nationwide, we must always ensure that we also bring the same sense of urgency to making “anywhere, anytime” learning accessible to “everyone, everywhere.”