On November 19, 2014, I had the honor of joining President Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan for the signing of the #FutureReady pledge, along with 100 other superintendents from across the nation. Hopefully you were able to follow my tweets @SchoolSup. While honored to attend, my selection was in much part due to the efforts of the Ville staff, Board of Education, and students.
After several levels of security clearance, the superintendents were ushered into an auditorium and briefed on the day's events. The highlight of the morning was indeed the actual signing of the #FutureReady pledge (seen in the video link below). You can also view the President's entire speech by clicking here.
After the #FutureReady signing, I had the opportunity to boast about the great things that are taking place in the Ville. Each of the attendees had the opportunity to share and network over lunch breakout sessions. I found the exchange of information in the sessions to be extremely valuable. After lunch, we went back to the auditorium for panel discussions and various presentations from Department officials. The day ended with a Question and Answer session and photo with Secretary Duncan.
In his speech, the President referenced the digital divide. While we have made tremendous progress in the Ville (SmartBoards district-wide, iPad and laptop carts, 1:1 SMS Chromebook initiative, SHS mobile app development course, middle school "scratch" club, "best practice" lesson repository, and additional devices for VDV and SHS), we still have students going home without device and no Internet.
To address this divide, I am forming a special task force to explore avenues to better prepare our students to be #FutureReady. I welcome stakeholder involvement. Should you have an interest in being involved in the task force or would like to provide input, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet me @SchoolSup, comment on this blog, or fill out a Talk with Tim with your information and/or comments.
We have a plethora of local organizations that have a vested interest in education. With partnerships and grants, I am confident that we can bridge the digital divide in the Ville! Coincidentally, the FCC recently proposed increasing the E-Rate program cap to $3.9 billion. As stated in the article, "the proposed plan will go to vote from the entire commission on Dec. 11." This pending program cap adjustment sends a message of sustainability in eRate funding.
I am charged and eager to be #FutureReady in the Ville. Let's continue the conversation and I welcome your input and involvement as we attempt to bridge this gap and make equal access for all children a #reality!