Today County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Randy Ward took the United States Department of Education's Future Ready District Pledge, signaling a commitment to work with educators, families, and community members as San Diego County schools, including those operated by the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE), transition to personalized, digital learning.
"Taking the Future Ready District Pledge was a no-brainer for us," said Dr. Ward. "SDCOE has already been doing this work through our strategic plan, which specifically calls out digital literacy and global workplace readiness for all students. This also aligns with the County Board of Education's goal of assisting districts in anticipating and responding to current and future challenges and trends in education."
Future Ready Districts will engage in a wide range of activities such as:
Fostering and Leading a Culture of Digital Learning Within Our Schools
Future Ready district leadership teams work collaboratively to transform teaching and learning using the power of technology to help drive continuous improvement. This work includes protecting student privacy and teaching students to become responsible, engaged, and contributing digital citizens, as through SDCOE's digital citizenship course.
Helping Schools and Families Transition to High-speed Connectivity
Future Ready districts conduct comprehensive diagnostic assessments of the district’s technology infrastructure and develop a sustainable plan to ensure broadband classroom connectivity and wireless access. Future Ready districts work with community partners to leverage local, state, and federal resources to support home Internet access outside of traditional school hours. SDCOE has been a pioneer in this area through a partnership with Cox Communications on Connect2Compete, which provides internet access to low-income families.
Empowering Educators through Professional Learning Opportunities
Future Ready districts strive to provide everyone with access to personalized learning opportunities and instructional experts that give teachers and leaders the individual support they need, when they need it. Future Ready districts provide tools to help teachers effectively leverage learning data to make better instructional decisions.
SDCOE has extensive professional learning programs not only for teachers in the programs it operates, but for districts across the county. Many (but not all) of these offerings are provided by SDCOE's Learning and Leadership Services Division, which has a laser-like focus on impacting student achievement by improving teacher practice, instructional leadership and district systems of support.
Accelerating Progress Toward Universal Access for All Students to Quality Devices
Future Ready districts work with necessary stakeholders to ensure that all students and educators across the district have regular access to devices for learning. Future Ready districts develop tools to support a robust infrastructure for managing and optimizing safe and effective use of technology, so students have opportunities to be active learners, creating and sharing content, not just consuming it.
At SDCOE, students in Juvenile Court and Community Schools have thrived with increased access to technology after receiving laptops and extensive teacher training to support deployment of the technology.
Providing Access to Quality Digital Content
Future Ready districts align, curate, create, and consistently improve digital materials and apps used in the support of learning. Future Ready districts use carefully selected high quality digital content that is aligned to college and career ready standards as an essential part of daily teaching and learning. Teachers are able to share, discover, and adapt openly-licensed materials and teaching plans.
SDCOE's Digital Content Portal is valuable resource in this area that helps educators enhance instruction with online content and professional development.
Offering Digital Tools to Help Students And Families #ReachHigher
Future Ready districts make digital resources available that help access expanded college, career, and citizenship opportunities. Future Ready districts promote ways to leverage technology to expand equity through digital activities such as completion of the FAFSA online, virtual counseling services, college scholarship search tools, and online advising access, all of which help to return America to the nation in the world with the highest college completion rate by 2020.
An example of SDCOE's work in this area is a June training for Spanish-speaking parents in Vista to learn to use online tools. Leigh Murrell and Alicia Gallegos Butters, integrated technology specialists, taught the class as part of a six-day program intended to get more parents active online. Mentoring Other Districts and Helping Them Transition to Digital Learning
Future Ready districts work to design, implement, and share their technology plans. Future Ready districts join regional summits, participate in an online Connected Superintendents community of practice, and publish their Future Ready technology plan.
SDCOE's very mission is to mentor and provide resources to school districts in all areas. The mission of the San Diego County Office of Education, as a world-class educational leader and trusted partner, is to transform public education and guarantee high levels of student achievement. In partnership with local school districts and the global learning community, we will research and apply innovative 21st century practices; leverage resources; develop strategic alliances; inspire powerful leadership; and provide exemplary customized services to districts, communities and the students in all County Office-operated programs.