Our District's Future Ready Vision

By Randy Ziegenfuss (@ziegeran), superintendent, Salisbury Township School District, Pa.

Salisbury Township School DistrictThe Salisbury Township School District has been on the path to preparing our learners for success in college and career for quite some time. After almost five years of a 1:1 teaching and learning initiative, our leadership team determined it was time to revisit our vision and re-engage our stakeholders in this important work. Enter Future Ready Schools.

Before attending the Future Ready Summit in Baltimore, MD, the team was provided with access to the robust series of tools that is the Future Ready Dashboard. After completing the district self-assessment and gathering input from stakeholders, our data uncovered areas of need and helped generate questions to inform a year-long process of engaging stakeholders in the design of a clearer vision.

Process

Using our initial work in the Future Ready Dashboard, along with other internally gathered data sources, my colleague, Assistant Superintendent, Lynn Fuini-Hetten, and I began engaging our stakeholders in a visioning process driven by two questions:

  1. What are the skills, knowledge/literacies and dispositions our graduates will need to be successful?

  2. What kinds of learning environments will best foster the development of these competencies and qualities?

Thoughout this past school year, we engaged stakeholders in a variety of ways:

You can learn more about the details of our process in this interview on EdCircuit .

In addition to gathering data internally, Lynn and I engaged experts and thought-leaders in educational innovations through the TLTalkRadio podcast. Over the course of the year, we interviewed 35 experts and tapped into their wisdom, informing our conversations with stakeholders and the final outcome of the visioning work.

The final products of this work – our specific Future Ready vision – are the Profile of A Graduate and Beliefs About Learning. Full-size sketches can be accessed here. You’ll notice the learning beliefs are organized around the 5-pillar “north star” developed by Education Reimagined in their recent white paper, A Transformational Vision for Education in the US, and informed by several of the gears in the Future Ready Framework.

In the end, our Future Ready data helped clarify our vision: Action steps from the Community Partnerships gear is helping us provide focus for our “open walled” learning belief. Action steps from the Use of Space and Time gear is helping move us closer to personalized learning. Supporting this work are action steps from the Data and Privacy gear, helping us focus on the development of new policies and practice around student data, privacy and instruction in digital citizenship.

Vision to Action

Our work this school year through professional development will focus on the first steps in developing a common understanding of the components of the profile and learning beliefs. Building the capacity for change in our principals and teacher leaders will be a major focus through #YourSalisbury, a professional learning initiative similar to last year’s Innovate Salisbury. School leaders and teacher leaders will design and implement building-specific action plans using our Future Ready data and supporting the new Profile and Learning Beliefs. Central office staff will be there every step of the way to support the building level work. We will also be revisiting the Future Ready assessments and seeing how the data reflects change.

The conversations around resources and initiatives (new and old) will also change, anchored in these two questions:

  1. How does/will the resource, activity, initiative, etc. move us closer to our vision?

  2. How might the learning environments we create in our classrooms, our schools and our community provide opportunities for learners to develop competency in the components of the profile?

We know that achieving this future ready vision will take time, and it will most certainly be messy at times! By anchoring our conversations in the above questions about what we do for learners, we will move closer to that future ready vision and ultimately do the best work for our learners.