HOWELL – Now that all 12 Howell Township Public Schools have sailed through a rigorous selection process and are deemed Future Ready certified, the question is, what is a Future Ready school?
Superintendent Joseph Isola laid the Future Ready groundwork back in 2014 when he took the reins from the previous superintendent Dr. Enid Golden, who had assembled a 60-member Technology Task Force made up of all stakeholders in Howell. Technology is one of the three Future Ready Schools Task Force themes. Leadership and Education are the other two.
Isola continued that vision by appointing Claire Engle as director of digital learning and innovation, where she has driven 6,000 students and 700 staff members into creative learning environments that prepare students to be more collaborative learners.
Future Ready Schools by formal definition is a certification program designed to promote digital learning readiness in schools throughout New Jersey by providing guidance, support, direction and resources to schools and districts. It is a partnership between the New Jersey Department of Education, New Jersey School Boards Association and New Jersey Institute of Technology that helps schools promote the skills, abilities and capacities essential for success in college, career and citizenship in a digital age.
“Howell’s educators and leaders have been involved in the program since its inception, joining all three of the inaugural task forces and helping shape the FRS-NJ experience and resources through the volunteering of their time, experience, expertise, and resources,” Jeremy Reich, Project Coordinator of Future Ready Schools – New Jersey, said. “The district and its staff are exemplar in their use of social mediums such as Twitter to both enable and celebrate the work and achievements of both students and educators alike with their community, as well as with the wider educational community, and to engage with each of these groups for the greater good.”
There are about 60 schools in New Jersey that are certified as Future Ready. Howell stands out as being one of only a handful of districts throughout the state that has achieved certification for all of its district schools, showing its commitment to 21st century learning environments.
“While accomplishments such as this are certainly a source of pride, I recognize that it only signifies the beginning of a journey that will require continued commitment. It is our district’s belief that providing such environments is part of our obligation to students to ensure their readiness for a lifetime of informed citizenship in a digital society. Accomplishments such as this are only possible when the entire educational community is moving in the same direction,” Isola said.