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The Foundation of Future Ready Part I. "Unit Corps God Country"

"Unit. Corps. God. Country." I love this line from a Few Good Men. To be fair, I like a lot of lines from that movie, Aaron Sorkin is a fantastic writer. But this particular line struck me as a perfect example of someone knowing exactly what foundation he or she is working from. Unit. Corps. God. And Country.


Last February I had the opportunity to visit Parkrose Middle School as a part of my administrative licensure cohort with Portland State University. These field trips to different schools and schools district was meant to expose us to leaders around the metro area. Each school gave us a chance to listen to an administrative team or leader who spoke to the particular challenges that their school faced and what steps were being taken to address their problems. Parkrose as a district has been struggling with its graduation and dropout rates. The administrative team at Parkrose Middle School took it upon themselves to address this problem by moving forward with a a building wide adoption of AVID to help reach struggling students early and to help them become successful students. They took this approach by creating a foundation for all staff to work from. This foundation was a series of questions.
  1. What is our focus? Instruction
  2. What is our foundation? AVID
  3. What is our responsibility? Improve culture
Unit. Corps. God. Country. This particular series of questions struck me as such a simple way to really identify what this staff had decided to work from. No matter what was happening in class, it was tied to this foundation. As Beaver Acres was moving forward with becoming a Future Ready school, it became important for us to identify what our foundation of Future Ready was.  In my mind it was based on great instruction, innovative thinking and digital tools. But our foundation needed more.

Borrowing from Parkrose Middle School's foundation for implementing AVID, we came up with our own set of guiding questions to build our foundation for Future Ready.
  1. What is our focus? Instruction
  2. What is our foundation? Future Ready
  3. What is our responsibility? Raising student achievement 
Coming up with our foundation for Future Ready was only the first step. We had to identify what Future Ready really was. Like I mentioned earlier, it was about great instruction, innovative thinking and digital tools. But that was pretty vague. We needed a framework to work from.

The Department of Education provides a framework for Future Ready. This framework is a good starting point, but tends to address aspects that most classroom teachers don't identify with yet and can be a bit overwhelming. I needed something that was simple and would not end up becoming a barrier for the implementation of Future Ready. Enter the EdTechTeam's Future Ready honeycomb.

The EdTechTeam is a group of teachers that create professional development opportunities for schools and school districts. As described on their website the "EdTechTeam Future Ready Summits are events where teachers and school-based leaders can get engaging, high quality professional development." In the fall of 2015 Beaverton Schools hosted a Future Ready Summit hosted by the EdTechTeam. This professional development opportunity was the first time I was exposed to the honeycomb of Future Ready. This graphic highlighted 6 aspects of what a community of Future Ready could focus on. Although my staff would probably not really focus on the idea of robust infrastructure, they would learn that without a district level dedication to upgrading our building's wireless network much of what they wanted to accomplish may not happen. But the others made perfect sense and would be easily connected to the work we were starting to do already. Student agency, courageous leadership, empowered teachers, inspiring spaces and engaged community. Future posts will be dedicated to each of these components of Future Ready and how our school has begun to use this framework to support our work.

This foundation of Future Ready was what we were going to help us identify what we were doing in class and why. It was the beginning of our code. When planning a lesson, designing an activity, rearranging a classroom or making any instructional decision, we could use these 6 ideals of Future Ready to help us determine if what we were doing was on the the right track. The honeycomb gives us a guide and a foundation to work from. However, this honeycomb isn't the end all be all. There is another foundation that our work must stand on as well.

EdTechTeam. (n.d.). Retrieved February 04, 2017, from


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