Support for curriculum change, summer conferences, school recognition

lead tech learn

April 27, 2018  Vol. 6

Future Ready Logo

Preparing for the future

Changing workplace demands rethinking K-12 curriculum

The most difficult jobs for future employers to hire and the most lucrative for future employees to find require these skills: “algorithm design; distributed systems; cloud computing; machine learning; mobile development; NoSQL; Scala; data science; big data and 1Python.” If you’re drawing a blank on what those skills are, you should register for Future Ready Learning.

This one-day conference is aimed at connecting careers and civic life to instruction of the Iowa Academic Standards. The conference is designed for curriculum leaders, including members of the statewide content area leadership teams, administrators, curriculum directors, teacher leaders, and teachers, 

According to the speakers presenting at Future Ready Learning, technology will dramatically reshape the workplace. We can expect to see a dramatic decline in manufacturing and production, and a dramatic increase in business and financial operations that will require computer and mathematical skills. It’s estimated that 65 percent of children entering kindergarten this year will work in jobs that don’t now exist.

Joe Fuller, a Harvard professor who co-leads the school’s initiative, Managing the Future of Work, is a keynote speaker at the event who talks about the changing workforce. “It’s going to be much more variegated than it is today. People will have lots of different types of working relationships. Most companies today are made up of full-time and part-time employees. Expect to see a significant increase in gig workers.” The term ‘gig worker’ is borrowed from the music industry where musicians move from job to job (gig to gig). A gig worker is employed for a particular task or a period of time.

Fuller’s message to conference attendees will be that schools need to change to better prepare students for future workplaces. “We have to start revisiting curriculum, particularly how we equip kids who are not on a college path. We have to have a math curriculum with basic statistics and data recording and measurement being much more prominent. We need to have the capstone course in statistics instead of calculus,” he said.

Fuller also calls for greater technology literacy and skills in using a variety of technology. “In Russia, they have an informatics curriculum that covers various elements of computing, such as writing software and interacting with different types of devices. Here, we’re introducing devices to enhance teaching and learning, but we’re not treating it as a discipline,” he said. “Good paying jobs, whether they require a college degree or not, will involve a significant interaction with computing devices.”

In addition to adding computing to the curriculum, Fuller said we need to think about the soft skills. “From being able to deliver brief written and oral communications effectively to interacting with a stranger successfully, these are all skills that are needed in the workplace. Educators don’t sufficiently think about that as something we create pedagogy around and include it in a curriculum,” he said.

For more information, contact Erika Cook at or (515) 240-3103 or Rita Martens at or (515) 281-3145.



With support from ACHIEVE

Districts take stock of science standards implementation

Two Iowa districts, Bettendorf Community School District and Davenport Community Schools, are taking steps to improve their science education programs.

Partnering with Achieve, the education nonprofit that coordinated the development of the Next Generation Science Standards, and with funding from Arconic Foundation, the two Iowa districts are evaluating how far their implementation of the Iowa Science Standards has moved them toward their vision for science education.

As a first step, the districts will work with Achieve to determine their current state of science performance in key areas identified by the districts through an educator and school leader survey, classroom observations, and data analysis.

The districts will then use what they learned about their identified areas of strengths and growth to modify their district plans for science, including

  • Identifying what success looks like and how to measure it in areas such as professional learning, internal and external communications, instructional materials, assessments, general management, and collaboration,
  • Identifying milestones and setting up a system to monitor progress and determine whether interventions and projects are on track; and
  • Developing routines and mechanisms to adjust the science plan as additional data become available.

Achieve will also provide professional learning for the districts that focus on building educator capacity around high quality instructional materials and classroom assessments that are designed to meet the Iowa Science Standards. These sessions will be tailored to the two districts based on what is learned in the initial audit. They will be available at no cost to educators who can earn license renewal credits through the Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency.

The instructional materials professional learning is a two-day session in May to support teachers in the use of the EQuIP Rubric for Science to measure how well lessons and units are designed for the Iowa Science Standards and to help deepen understanding of the standards. This course will help teachers to better recognize materials that are truly designed for the Iowa Science Standards and to think about how to modify the lessons and units teachers are already using to better match up with what is new and different about the Iowa Science Standards. If you are interested in attending this training on May 14-15, there are about 30 spaces available. Registration link is 

The assessment professional learning is a two-day session in July that will focus on evaluating assessments for alignment to the Iowa Science Standards. Teachers will use the Achieve Task Screener to evaluate a common assessment task, then will use their deepened understanding of high-quality assessments designed for three-dimensional standards to evaluate the alignment of locally-developed assessments, including suggesting improvements to the tasks to meet their intended purposes.

For more information, contact Kris Kilibarda, science consultant, at (515) 322-7620 or