Future Ready Literacy: As a Leader, How Do You Implement Schoolwide Culture Change?
by Thomas Murray on September 22, 2022
Earlier this month, I had the privilege of being a guest on the EDVIEW360 Podcast series. I had an absolute blast talking about what makes a school “future ready,” how leaders can create a culture change on a school campus, and why literacy is essential for every student to have a successful and rich life—academically and beyond.
In my work with Future Ready Schools® in Washington, D.C., my team partners with districts throughout the country to create the types of learning experiences today’s modern learners need to thrive. As a previous secondary and elementary principal, and elementary teacher, I understand firsthand the importance of helping every child learn to read proficiently, and how to intervene when children don’t have the literacy skills needed by third to fifth grades. Every day, my interactions with principals and superintendents include discussions about systems change, sustainability, equity, and resolving culture-change obstacles that stand in the way of students achieving the level of literacy success that allows each one to truly be future ready. These discussions are encouraging, exciting, and reassuring, but also remind me that these leaders set the tone for a positive school culture and are therefore key in how and how well their students learn to read.
During the podcast, we talked about some practical ways principals who are looking to implement change can create an innovative culture that is sustainable, that consistently models future-ready learning, and that relies upon a level of teaching and learning that is backed by science and promotes a high level of success for all students.
We also discussed how, without literacy, there is very little future-ready anything for students. An administrator who promotes a culture of school and districtwide literacy success for all students, and ensures struggling readers have the intervention they need, is in my mind, a non-negotiable. That administrator must also support teachers by listening to their needs, providing time for appropriate professional learning, a gear of the Future Ready Framework, and helping them learn how to use the very best curriculum and intervention tools appropriately.
I hope you’ll take a moment to listen to the podcast when you have time. We shared the aforementioned Future Ready Framework, which gives all educators a road map to follow, and we discussed concrete ways leaders can move their cultures toward being more future ready, where both students and staff can thrive. The discussion was timely and appropriate, and can serve as encouragement to every school leader who is committed to giving every child the opportunity to reach literacy success! You can download our conversation here.
Thomas Murray serves as the director of innovation for Future Ready Schools, a project of All4Ed, in Washington, D.C. He has testified before the United States Congress and has worked alongside that body, the U.S. Senate, the White House, the U.S. Department of Education and state departments of education, corporations, and school districts throughout the country to implement student-centered learning while helping to lead Future Ready Schools and Digital Learning Day. Prior to moving to his role in Washington, D.C., Murray served as an elementary teacher, middle school teacher, middle school principal, elementary principal, and at the district level in Bucks County, PA. He is most passionate about creating cultures of innovation, where teachers are empowered to create the types of learning experiences today's modern learners need to thrive.
In addition to his role at Future Ready Schools, Murray works directly with school and district leaders for administrative retreats, opening convocations, and professional learning days.
Murray also is a cofounder of #edtechchat, a weekly educational technology Twitter forum, where hundreds of educators from around the world discuss topics related to the effective use of educational technology.