Defining Future Ready

Posted by Kelly Bielefeld on 11/17/2023

Health care students checking vitals on a mannequinI believe that one shared goal for every parent is for their student to be well-prepared for the future. Our collective aim is to empower every child to be “future ready.”

Often, catchphrases like “future-ready” can lose their significance over time, becoming challenging to define. To address this, we use a strategy that involves clarifying a term by providing examples and non-examples of that word, a method we also apply to the concept of being “future ready.”

 

What are some examples? One example is equipping our students with future-oriented skills such as coding, drone operation, and networking technology. Another example are the extracurricular activities that many of our students participate in, including athletics, fine arts, and community service organizations like Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and 4-H. These activities nurture essential skills we know they will need in the future: teamwork, perseverance, communication, and contributing to the greater community. Our district continues to support the development of these future ready skills in various ways.

 

All aspects of a student’s educational journey should point forward and should extend over the horizon.

 

To achieve this, it is important then to consider what “future ready” is not. Encouraging careers that may become obsolete or teaching skills that won't be relevant in the future are non-examples we need to be mindful of. We've seen professions like telephone operators and milkmen disappear.  Likewise, we must question whether certain skills, like shorthand or how to use a floppy disk or fax machine, are still “future ready.” Looking ahead, we wonder whether skills such as keyboarding will remain relevant, or if advancements like self-driving cars will reshape how we approach driver training. How will AI impact the way that we teach and learn?

 

You might wonder how WPS addresses these examples and non-examples…how are we adapting to make sure that students are truly future ready?  Through our current strategic plan, we are defining life readiness through a future ready lens.  We know that this is a moving target that will require ongoing refinement and development.  And more than anything else, we must have community support and input to ensure we both know and teach the skills that students need for the future.

 

By providing a forward-looking education and fostering qualities that are vital for the evolving landscape, WPS seeks to actively instill the cutting-edge skills and knowledge in our students to ensure that they will graduate “future ready.”