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A team of leaders from San Rafael City Schools (SRCS) was in Mountain View on May 4-5 to participate in the eighth of 13 Future Ready Regional Summits. The Future Ready Summits are a critical step toward realizing the goals of the ConnectED Initiative announced by President Obama in 2013 to connect 99 percent of students to high-speed Internet and empower teachers with the technology they need to transform teaching and learning.  

The SRCS team of four included Superintendent Michael Watenpaugh, Assistant Superintendent Harriet MacLean, and San Rafael Teacher’s Association President Katie O’Donnell, who attended the two-day summit, with Director of Strategic Initiatives Dan Zaich joining the team on Tuesday. The four-person team is among 1,800 educators who will attend one of the Future Ready Summits.

Knowing the guideline that superintendents are required to attend as part of the team, Dr. Watenpaugh made the difficult decision to attend in lieu of the LCAP Community Workshop. 

“We considered not attending because of the LCAP Community Workshop that was scheduled for Monday, May 4, but we quickly realized that all we were learning at the Future Ready Summit was directly connected to our LCAP; we didn’t want to miss this Future Ready opportunity to gather knowledge and information that could guide our technology initiatives in San Rafael,” said Superintendent Watenpaugh.

The Future Ready team met teachers, site principals and district leaders who are successfully integrating technology into all content areas by developing a digital learning plan that aligns with instructional best practices.  They were encouraged by those teachers in our district that are taking ever greater steps to integrate digital learning tools into their classrooms, but they left with an understanding and a realistic vision of what is possible in our schools – using technology to empower teachers, engage students, and effectively provide all students with access to the tools and the expertise to be prepared for the future.  

SRTA President Katie O’Donnell commented, “We had direct access to teachers and school leaders whose experience and expertise will help us develop a revised technology and digital literacy plan. I have the names and contact information from teachers and school districts across the country that I will call as questions and new challenges emerge. It is realistic for us to make sure that teachers receive the right training and the right tools to bring digital resources and technology into every K-12 classroom.” 

Assistant Superintendent Harriet MacLean identified, “In just two days we engaged in a series of workshops that have provided expert support to help us create and build our district’s technology and digital learning plan.  It’s not a ‘new’ plan; it’s an integrated part of our Common Core Implementation Plan and our Local Control Accountability Plans. But, now, after attending the Future Ready Summit, we have access to resources that have been implemented and are working in other districts. We have connections with teachers and leaders in other districts who can be an invaluable resource as we move forward.”

“Superintendents provide critical leadership to ensure that every child in their district benefits from what we know matters and what we know works for kids,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “The Future Ready Regional Summits will be a forum where local leaders can share knowledge with their peers, engage leaders from outside their region and better equip themselves with skills and tools necessary to provide students with what they need to be successful in life.”

Superintendent Watenpaugh has signed the Future Ready District Pledge, identifying SRCS’ commitment to developing our staff and technological capacity that is needed to transform teaching and personalize learning using digital tools. As of this date, 1500 districts across the country have signed the pledge. For more information, including resources for students, parents and educators, visit http://tech.ed.gov. Information about the summits is also available through the Twitter feed for Future Ready: #FutureReady.