Feb 10 2015

First Future Ready Schools Summit Kicks Off

School leaders gather for orientation on nationwide digital-learning efforts, in conjunction with ConnectED.

The first of 12 summits being held across the country to promote the transition to digital learning kicks off on Wednesday, in Raleigh, N.C.

Created by the U.S. Department of Education, these Future Ready Regional Summits were first announced by President Barack Obama during November's ConnectED to the Future Convening, which gathered more than 100 school superintendents at the White House. During the summit, attendees digitally signed a pledge affirming their commitment to the ConnectED initiative, which began in 2013 as a plan to provide high-speed Internet access to 99 percent of students by 2018.

That effort has been bolstered by the Federal Communication Commission’s recent reforms of its E-Rate funding program, which helps schools and libraries cover the costs of telecommunications equipment.

The Future Ready District Pledge is a way for the U.S. DOE to help school districts become familiar with digital learning by offering resources and support. The summits, which begin this week, are at the core of that effort.

“The agenda will be ‘brand agnostic’ and focus on a comprehensive set of issues that need to be addressed to ensure a smooth transition to digital learning,” according to the Future Ready Schools website. “A key goal is to help district leaders become more informed consumers when decisions about specific technologies are being made.”

Other summits scheduled throughout the year include:

  • Vancouver, Wash.: February 17–18
  • Baltimore, Md.: March 2–3
  • Atlanta, Ga.: March 25–26
  • Phoenix, Ariz.: April 13–14
  • Providence, R.I.: April 21–22
  • St. Louis, Mo.: April 28–29
  • San Francisco, Calif.: May 4–5
  • Denver, Colo.: June 11–12
  • Chicago, Ill.: June 15–16
  • Pittsburgh, Pa.: June 22–23
  • Dallas, Texas: June TBD