Learning Forward, Future Ready

Learning Forward, Future Ready Websitelearning forward, future ready logo

Lawrence Public Schools want to emphasize the learning goals behind the school board’s recent purchases of Apple technology. This is more than 1:1, and it’s more than just devices. Our challenge is to commit to ensuring every child is future ready!

Learning Forward, Future Ready is about preparing our students with 21st-century skills and strategies so they can compete globally. It’s about ensuring that teachers receive the professional development and support they need to positively interact with students. It’s about our schools being creative and resourceful and engaging students through meaningful and relevant learning.

One of the school board’s goals directed staff to explore a 1:1 initiative: “to provide students equitable access to technology.” In March of 2016, the board approved a lease-purchase agreement with Apple for 5,000 iPads, 500 laptops, and project management and integration support. The technology equipped each middle school student with an iPad and provided devices for teachers and for student checkout.

We have an opportunity to level the playing field and close the digital divide. Our district is poised to create a learning culture and provide every student access to the tools necessary to foster their essential skill sets, support their creativity and inspire students to learn and achieve even more than we thought possible.

“Our focus has been on how instruction becomes more effective and how we personalize learning for students,” said Jerri Kemble, assistant superintendent of leading, learning and technology. “All learners– students and adults, are learning forward in order to be future ready." 

Bond issue construction districtwide provided a foundation for Learning Forward, Future Ready. School improvements include flexible learning spaces, moveable furniture, and a robust technology infrastructure. The district enables students to check out Kajeets or internet hot spots from school libraries to ensure equitable access to technology beyond the school day. Families also explore options, such as low-cost internet services for the home available through www.everyoneon.org.

With the middle schools equipped with iPads for the 2016-17 school year, the district’s two high schools formed a team to investigate, plan, and develop a recommendation for grades 9-12. The team visited other high schools, attended training and explored various tools, including iPads and laptops. A nine-week pilot project equipped a limited number of high school classrooms with 1:1 student technology: iPads at Free State High and MacBooks at Lawrence High. In mid-October, the high schools swapped devices. The pilot project helped to inform the high school staff's recommendation to the school board for MacBooks to be provided all high school students in the fall of 2017.

The school board approved the purchase of MacBooks for all students at both high schools on February 23, 2017. Read more here.