Ready Schools helps align school districts to the education and workforce needs of Indiana Uplands employers and prepares students for high-opportunity jobs and careers.
Regional Opportunity Initiatives (ROI) has selected Barr-Reeve Community Schools, Crawford County Community School Corporation, and East Washington School Corporation for participation in the fourth cohort of ROI’s Ready Schools initiative. The Ready Schools development grant provides an opportunity for the school corporation to involve their community in an immersive design thinking process throughout the 2023-24 school year.
The Ready Schools initiative is a framework to support school districts in aligning K-12 curricular and programmatic offerings to educational and workforce needs within the Indiana Uplands, an 11-county region that encompasses Brown, Crawford, Daviess, Dubois, Greene, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Orange, Owen, and Washington counties. Since 2017, ROI has awarded Ready Schools development and implementation grants to 18 regional school districts, impacting 85 schools and more than 35,077 K-12 students.
“Throughout the Ready Schools process, these school districts have embraced the important role they must play in regional economic prosperity,” said ROI President and CEO Tina Peterson. “This engagement will help schools carefully develop strategies to equip students from pre-K through graduation with the skills necessary to thrive in regionally relevant careers and 21st-century jobs.”
Cohort IV school districts will begin the first phase of the Ready Schools process in late August. A District Readiness Coordinator will guide locally developed advisory and design teams through the 10-month design thinking process. An ROI coach will work alongside the District Readiness Coordinator through the Discovery, Synthesis, Ideation, and Refinement phases.
The Ready Schools initiative will enable school districts to engage business leaders, educators, community stakeholders, parents, and students in defining what school success means for their community and to develop a strategic plan to obtain that success. The result is a collaborative approach and a comprehensive planning process designed to support students in achieving academic and career goals aligned with the region’s key industry sectors: advanced manufacturing, life sciences, and national security and defense.
ROI’s frequent Occupational Needs Assessments (ONA) emphasize the importance of relevant student pathways to meet our region’s workforce needs, support growth in key sectors, and attract talent. Intentional design to start earlier in a student’s K-12 journey and create a tangible bridge to a meaningful career ladder is essential.
Employers within the region’s three key sectors of life sciences, defense, and advanced manufacturing foresee accelerated growth but report that workforce quality and availability are limiting factors. The numbers below highlight the significant opportunity we have as a region to grow and retain talent.
Previous Ready Schools implementation funding has been used to support school district strategic plans with action items that align with the workforce needs of employers in the Indiana Uplands. For example, White River Valley utilized implementation funding to launch Wolverine Enterprises, a student-run business comprised of six divisions: Ag Enterprises, Precision Manufacturing, Precision Machining, Fine Arts and Design, Frozen Feasts, and Print Services, all managed by a student business and logistics team.
Richland-Bean Blossom Community School Corporation leveraged a portion of their Ready Schools implementation grant along with bond dollars to transform a wing of Edgewood High School into the Innovative Learning Center, a collaboration suite that includes a flexible presentation and classroom space, a media production studio, a digital design lab, and a digital fabrication lab. This space completed the alignment of digital fabrication and video production spaces being available to students at all levels in the corporation.
The three school districts of The Collaboration of Shoals, Mitchell, and Orleans Schools (COSMOS) used a portion of their Ready Schools implementation grant to redesign high school pathways aligned to regional industry sectors and establish a system of shared courses. These pathways and courses expand learning opportunities for students in all three districts as they provide course options beyond a student’s home district.
Other examples of funded implementation strategies include career awareness programming, work-based learning, project-based learning, and STEM materials and curricula.
For a complete description of activities at each Ready Schools phase, go to: https://regionalopportunityinc.org/details-of-the-ready-schools-initiative/
“With the addition of these three school districts, the number of K-12 students impacted by ROI’s signature education and workforce initiative will exceed 35,000,” added Peterson. “We are proud of the dedicated work done by each Ready Schools district and the tremendous impact this work will have on preparing Indiana Uplands students for success in school and in life.”
Ready Schools Cohort I (2017)
Share your news with us!
Submit your news to the Chamber by the 12th or 28th of each month to be included in the bi-weekly Membership Matters emails.
Webpage Square Ad Banner spaces are available for members. Download our sizes and pricing sheet for more information by clicking the button below.