4 Step Process
The 4 Step Planning Process is designed to help school and district leaders with creating sound, research-based action plans for implementing personalized student-centered learning. Embarking on this work takes leadership, time, patience, courage, collaboration, trust, and some trial and error to get it right. With that in mind, this planning tool guides district teams through building a team, collecting and analyzing data on their readiness across each gear in the Future Ready Framework, and creating a comprehensive action plan. We celebrate your leadership and encourage you to jump in!
Assemble a Future Ready Schools Planning Team
District leadership teams use the Future Ready Dashboard to plan effectively and implement personalized learning for all students. As each district assembles an FRS leadership team, include a cross-section of leaders that represent a variety of viewpoints and foster an environment where everyone is able to speak freely.
Ready to Get Started?
Accessing the dashboard is simple. To create an account, visit dashboard.futureready.org to create a user profile with your name, email, and additional information about your district. After logging in, begin by reviewing the 4-Step Process.
Feel free to use this email template to introduce other leaders in the district to the Future Ready Schools planning process and encourage them to get on board.
Your district leadership team should include a minimum of 5 members but no more than 12 members, depending on the size of the district. Choose team members who can assist with collecting information, setting goals, and creating an FRS action plan for the district. Recommended roles of team members include the following:
- Assistant Superintendent
- School board members
- Community and/or business leader
- School-based ed-tech leaders or instructional coaches
- Finance or business officers
- Librarian / Media Specialist
- Directors of professional learning
- Directors of curriculum, instruction, and Assessment
- Director of education technology / Chief information officers
- Parents / Guardians
- Union leaders
- Middle or high school students
Once you've recruited your team, identify an "FRS Team Lead" who will schedule meetings, send reminders, assign responsibilities, and move the planning process along as the facilitator. You are now ready for Step 2!
Questions on Step 1? Contact us at [email protected].
Congratulations on completing the first step to creating your district's FRS action plan. Now that your district has a team, you are ready to roll up your sleeves and get to work! Step 2 walks each team through assessing the district's readiness for implementing personalized student-centered learning.
Task 1: Take the Readiness Assessment as a Team
Estimated time: 2.5-3 Hours
Schedule a meeting with your FRS planning team. Before the meeting, distribute a copy of the Readiness Assessment so that each member can think through the items and select responses that resonate with their understanding of the district.
At the meeting, display the questions for all to see so that each question can be discussed before the response is submitted. (Note: Completing the readiness assessment takes between 2.5 and 3 hours depending on the length of discussion.)
Once signed in, click "Readiness Assessment" in the menu bar to access the self-assessment.
Pro Tip 1: It is essential that the Readiness Assessment is completed by a group that represents a cross-section of leaders throughout the district. It is not intended to be completed by a single person; responses should be representative of many voices. (Additional tip: Provide sweet treats and caffeine to entice great discussion!)
Pro Tip 2: The district's FRS Team Lead should facilitate data collection and team discussion. The team lead should encourage all participants to voice their opinions, especially if they disagree. It is vital that each team member represents a unique perspective in the district. An imperative part of the planning process is to create an environment where a culture of respect and trust is the norm.
Once the Readiness Assessment is submitted, your team’s results will be ready to view. Click "Download Report" to receive a PDF version of your team’s results.
Task 2: Analyze and Discuss the District's Readiness Assessment Report
Estimated time: 1 to 1.5 Hours
Team Leads are encouraged to distribute the report from Task 1 to the leadership team prior to the next meeting.
During the meeting, the team should review the report as a group. While analyzing the results, district teams should work collaboratively through the following guiding questions before moving on to Step 3.
- Which results were most surprising? Which results confirmed our thinking?
- What is our district doing well based on these readiness levels?
- What problems of practice or challenges do the findings highlight?
- Which gears in the framework are of the highest priority for our district?
- What other stakeholders should join the conversation for each of the gear areas?
Pro Tip 1: Visit the Framework page to review the descriptions of each FRS Gear and element. District leadership teams should use this information to answer the guiding questions above and to inform Step 3 of the planning process.
Questions on Step 2? Contact us at [email protected].
It’s time to celebrate your progress thus far - Great job finishing Step 2! Now, we can use the data you collected to create a customized, research-based Future Ready Action Plan!
Task One: Start with WHY!
Future Ready Schools® believes in the power of “starting with why.” As a leadership team, draft a “why statement” to clearly identify as a team the purpose of the work for which you are planning.
Task Two: Set A Timeline and Assign Gear Level Leaders
Future Ready Leadership Teams should collaborate to identify: 1.) a timeline for completing the Future Ready Action Plan, and 2.) which gears will be prioritized in the team’s action plan.
Pro Tip 1: Nominate a Gear Leader for each gear of the Future Ready Framework that the district will prioritize in its action plan. A comprehensive action plan requires a series of meetings to plan each gear area. Select Gear Leads who will have a strong understanding of the content for each FRS gear and are willing to take the first pen to write the vision and goals for their gear. FRS Team Leads should help coordinate meeting times on the team's calendar for planning aligned with the agreed-upon timeline.
Note: Action plans can have a more direct focus (e.g., tackling one or two gears), or have an intensive work plan for each Future Ready gear. Use the dashboard to create an action plan that fits your specific district needs and priorities. Here are sample FRS Action Plans and an action plan template to give you an idea of what your district could create using this planning tool.
Task Three: Develop Your Plan!
Future Ready Action Plans should include:
- An Introduction:
- Your “Why” Statement:
Explain to the reader why this plan is so important to the community, your staff, and your students. Why are you going through the Future Ready process?
- Background and Local Context:
Provide a short context to help the reader understand your district’s recent history and the activities you have taken to prepare for this change. This could include your drivers to make this change – students deserve more, leading with learning (not technology), career and college readiness, digital citizenship, competition in the workforce, etc.
- Theory of Change:
Tell the reader about your overall approach to achieving your vision. Remember, we’ll be setting specific goals later so this should answer some of the questions below broadly
- Your “Why” Statement:
- How will leadership work to create a culture for change to occur?
- How will you balance innovation with sustainability?
- How will you support and engage stakeholders throughout the process?
- How will you ensure stakeholder voices are heard throughout the process?
- Pertinent Information About the Future Ready Framework:
- A Description of the Future Ready Framework: (Feel free to use/edit below)
The research-based Future Ready Framework emphasizes collaborative leadership and creating an innovative school culture. The framework is comprised of seven key areas (called gears), plus leadership, each of which is addressed during the comprehensive planning process. This framework keeps student learning at the heart of all decision-making. For more, visit FutureReady.org/Framework.
- A Description of the Future Ready Framework: (Feel free to use/edit below)
Pro Tip 1: Use the next planning meeting to complete Tasks 1 and 2, and if time remains, the first portion of Task 3 as listed above. Use team-building activities on vision setting and strategic planning to identify the appropriate language for completing the introduction section of the action plan.
- Your Action Plan Goal Areas:
Pro Tip 1: We recommend staggering meeting times and benchmarks for the completion of each gear area development. The time between meetings gives the leadership team the chance to review each FRS gear in the action plan and be prepared with suggestions for improvement. Districts should plan to review 1-2 gear sections (maximum) in each meeting to avoid "information paralysis".
Each Gear Area should include:
- A Gear Vision Statement
- At least 2-3 actionable SMART Goals of what needs to be accomplished
Pro Tip 2: Each gear should include at least 2-3 goals to support the vision, but could include an unlimited number depending on the scope of each goal and your district's approach to the Future Ready Action Plan. Be sure to review the SMART goals document when writing the goals for your district.
- Action Steps to Support the Implementation of Each SMART Goal Area
Pro Tip 3: Goals can correspond to an unlimited number of action steps however, teams should be careful not to set unrealistic expectations for implementation. Balance the relationship between a number of strategies and the timeline associated with each goal to ensure your plan is practical.
Pro Tip 4: Future Ready Schools® offers dozens of resources from partner organizations that can support your planning process. As your team is developing goals and action steps, consider reviewing external resources for additional ideas by using the Future Ready Resource Library.
Pro Tip 5: Future Ready Schools® (FRS) partnered with Columbia University’s National Center for Restructuring Education, Schools & Teaching (NCREST) to identify successful strategies for implementing innovative student-centered instructional approaches. These Learning Science Implementation Guides can support your planning process.
Questions on Step 3? Contact us at [email protected].
It’s time to celebrate your Future Ready Action Plan! As such, action plans can easily be edited in whatever way best serves your leadership team. Customize it by adding your district’s logo, infographics, images, etc. This information can now be used as the digital learning transformation guidelines, as part of the strategic or comprehensive planning process, for budget needs, future district visioning, and for implementing your Future Ready Action Plan!
Share it internally and with your stakeholders – letting them know how to stay up-to-date with your latest progress. Also, make sure to stay connected through the Future Ready Website where you can get help with gear-by-gear implementation any time along the way. Finally, don’t be shy! Suggest improvements to the Dashboard and if willing, share your plan with Future Ready Schools® so that we can celebrate your success!
Questions on Step 4? Contact us at [email protected].