Future Ready Schools - New Jersey (FRS-NJ)—New Jersey’s leading initiative to promote digital learning throughout its elementary and secondary public schools — has recently announced that the number of schools participating in the program has tripled statewide in 2018.

The new figures indicate that 265 New Jersey schools from 94 school districts have now officially committed themselves to the FRS-NJ initiative at the close of the program’s second year and certification cycle. In 2017, during the program’s inaugural campaign to assess and ramp up digital resources and educational practices across the state, FRS-NJ received participation from 81 schools from 33 committed districts.

“Each time we have made an estimation for this program and what it could be, the participation and enthusiasm by our schools and districts have outdone it,” said Jeremy Reich, FRS-NJ Project Coordinator at NJIT. “The sense of positivity and collaboration that Future Ready Schools - New Jersey is designed to create has really spread to establish a community of engaged educators throughout New Jersey, and it is growing faster than we ever thought. I believe 2018 is a ‘coming of age year’ for Future Ready Schools - New Jersey.”

More than 94 NJ Districts have officially committed to support their schools’ Future ready efforts (left). From those districts, 265 schools have officially declared their participation in the program (right).

This year, FRS-NJ made efforts to increase the number of certified schools and participating districts by expanding its yearly certification summit to three regional eventsacross the state. The program also refined its Indicators of Future Readiness — the core measurements by which schools assess their digital learning resources and become certified as “Future Ready.”

The program has already announced several new initiatives to further increase participation and awareness in the program before the launch of FRS-NJ’s 2019 Certification Cycle in February, including a new collaboration with the New Jersey Association of School Librariansto provide guidance, support, and potential resources to New Jersey's Future Ready Librarians based on the national Future Ready Librarians framework

“Future Ready Librarians is one of the first and most established national strand frameworks developed by Future Ready Schools,” said Reich. “This collaboration will help empower librarians to bolster the Future Readiness of schools and give them guidance and resources that support educators and students in the program’s mission.”

Currently, more than 190 New Jersey schools have made submissions for 2018 Future Ready certification and await notification of their status, outstripping the program’s projected 2018 target of 125 submissions for certification. In 2017, FRS-NJ certified 63 schools from 20 districts. 

This year’s FRS-NJ certifications will be announced and awarded at the New Jersey School Boards Association’s Workshop 2018, the state’s largest convention for educational leaders, held in Atlantic City on October 23. 

“Workshop is a great celebration, kind of like our New Year’s Eve for the program,” said Reich. “We will celebrate last year’s successes and announce school certifications in front of hundreds of educators and district leaders at the convention. We will also announce exciting plans as we look toward the 2019 certification cycle that we hope will make the program even better for years to come.”

Future Ready Schools – New Jersey (FRS-NJ) is a certification program designed to promote digital learning readiness in schools throughout New Jersey by providing guidance, support, direction, and resources to schools and districts. The program, a partnership of the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE), the New Jersey School Boards Association (NJSBA) and New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), will help schools promote the skills, abilities, and capacities essential for success in college, career, and citizenship in a digital age. Future Ready Schools – New Jersey is aligned with the national Future Ready Schools framework.