Maggie Rosenthal

PAUSD enters Future Ready initiative

White House program helps districts better prepare students for the changing world

October 30, 2015

Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD) is now part of the White House initiative Future Ready, an initiative wherein school districts aim to prepare students for 21st century challenges.

“We joined Future Ready because we believe that it will help further our district’s vision that supports all PAUSD students as they prepare themselves to thrive in a rapidly changing world,” Superintendent Max McGee said. “As any of the faculty members will tell you, I always say, ‘Our job is to prepare students for careers that do not yet exist.’”

In order to join the initiative, superintendents must pledge to “affirm the commitment of this district to work with students, educators, families, and members of our community to become Future Ready by engaging in a wide range of activities,” according to the Future Ready website.

Future Ready offers resources for schools to collaborate with students of different school districts to share their effective methods of education.

The program also helps students prepare for their futures in addition to helping superintendents transform their respective districts in order to focus more on digital education. Until recently, the district was not able to join the Future Ready program because of ongoing investigations by the Office for Civil Rights, according to McGee.

“I understand that we were not initially accepted into Future Ready because of unresolved issues with the Office for Civil Rights,” McGee said. “In this past year we have taken important steps to resolve those matters.”

Santa Clara County Superintendent of Schools Jon Gundry echoes McGee’s sentiments and believes that PAUSD should be one of the leaders in Santa Clara County in the technology arena.

“I think it’s essential that we move in that direction, not just this district,” Gundry said. “I think there should be a lot of pressure on you to do that here, being right in the center of Silicon Valley. You guys should be at the cutting edge of educational technology and using technological resources for learning and for collaboration. Not just collaboration in your classrooms, but collaboration as far as you can get it and with the technology available that can be all over the world.”

We joined Future Ready because we believe that it will help further our district’s vision.

— Max McGee

In order to qualify for the Future Ready program, according to its website, the school district must exhibit five components: meticulous learning methods, the ability to captivate students in education, parents’ contributions to the schools, devoted teachers and students enthused to establish leadership skills.

With these elements, districts can come together to explore other educational techniques and plan for the next steps in their districts.

Future Ready’s trained facilitators host regional summits each year to share concepts such as professional learning, technology, privacy and use of time and leadership.

McGee attended a meeting yesterday to obtain information on how to use resources and technology in order to make PAUSD more progressive.

“I hope and expect that the White House meeting will provide me with information, resources, and exemplary practices in how technology can personalize learning and also connect our students to human and educational resources far beyond our district campuses,” McGee said. “Also, I will be sharing our Advanced Authentic Research Program  as an example of authentic, purpose driven, project based learning that students need, deserve and desire.”

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