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Characteristics of Future Ready Leadership: A Research Synthesis

Cover of the Characteristics of Future Ready Leadership: A Research Synthesis

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Strong leadership is essential to systemic, sustainable change in education. Superintendents and their leadership teams, with the support of state and local leaders, are key to leading the transition to digital learning in their districts. The challenges of doing so are multifaceted, and range from unifying a diverse set of stakeholders who may hold divergent views on the best path forward, to updating physical and technical infrastructure, to designing new learning models and resources, to building capacity of educators to take on new roles and new approaches to classroom instruction.

Superintendents throughout the country have expressed the desire for evidence-based approaches they can rely upon to lead this change. In response to this need, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology, in partnership with the American Institutes for Research (AIR), developed a research-based synthesis defining a set of policies and practices implemented by successful Future Ready district leaders. The resulting rubric provides a basis for personalized professional learning to expand the capacity of district superintendents to effectively transition to digital learning.

This rubric served as the foundation for developing a personalizable playlist of videos for superintendents highlighting essential policies and practices for successfully leading the transition to Future Ready schools. Fifty videos were shot on-site at eight school districts across the country. Collectively, these videos constitute a virtual site visit hosted by some of the most forward leaning Future Ready district leaders in the country sharing lessons learned and effective practices with their peers. In addition, the videos were carefully curated to represent each of the 27 evidence-based policies and practices described below.

Although the rubric was originally designed to support the development of the Future Ready professional learning videos, the rubric may also prove useful for strategic planning for superintendents, their leadership teams, and those supporting them in other contexts. The rubric is aligned with the recommendations of the 2016 National Education Technology Plan, ensuring that as district leaders work to become Future Ready they will also be making progress towards implementing the broader technology vision for the nation.