The Ready Schools Initiative is a framework to support school districts in aligning their programs to community and regional workforce needs using the results of the ONA as a resource. Within our region, this workforce need is most pressing in our three key industry sectors: life sciences, defense, and advanced manufacturing. The goal of this work is to enable schools to engage stakeholders in meaningful dialogue about what success means within their community and to develop a plan to obtain that success. The result of this process will be a systemic approach designed to support students in achieving their academic and career goals aligned with the wealth of opportunities in SWCI.

Cohort 1: 2017-18

Discovery Synthesis Ideation Refinement Implementation
Two months (Aug-Sept) Three months (Oct-Dec) Two months (Jan-Feb) Three months (Mar-May) Multi-Year (Aug.+)
2017-18 School Year 2018-2021 School Years

View more information about the Ready Schools Initiative.

Applications for Cohort 1 of the Ready Schools Initiatives have now closed. Notifications will be made by the end of June 2017.

The application process for Cohort 2 will begin in early 2018.

Frequently Asked Questions
Updated May 11, 2017

Would it be possible to have a few stakeholders complete the Readiness Assessment ahead of time?

Yes! We would like superintendents and at least one principal and one teacher to complete the Readiness Assessment prior to responding to the Ready Schools RFP. However, we ask that you use your best judgement when selecting stakeholders and community members to fill out the Readiness Assessment as the total number of responses the survey system can handle is limited. Also, please bear in mind that the Readiness Assessment is a self assessment tool and as such it is imperative that the individuals responding have knowledge of the school system and community.

The Readiness Assessment may be found here.

How specific should the submitted budget be? What format should we use for the budget?

The budget should provide a general idea of where your district intends to use available funding. In the first section, schools should identify the anticipated use of the $100,000 available for one full-time equivalence (FTE). This should include the estimated salary of the District Readiness Coordinator and other encumbered expenses associated with the position.

The second portion of the budget should address the use of the $50,000 for exploration. This budget should include general plans for exploration, facilitation, and professional development. We recognize that this plan may evolve and change throughout the life of the development grant and encourage successful grantees to work with ROI to make modifications if and when necessary.

We have assembled a sample budget to help applicants think through how to allocate funds.

Is there a way to get a copy of the informational presentation held on May 8th?Slides from the May 8th webinar.

Ready Schools Information Webinar Recording Password: pTnMwS28

Do you have any other projects that you looked at and inspired this approach?

Yes! ROI has spent extensive time over the last year visiting model schools and investigating new and innovative education approaches. We have also found that there is no one approach to modernizing and aligning education and workforce that will work in every school and/or district. Some of the models/approaches have included components of experiential learning such as PBL and inquiry, and pathway specific high school models.

Could you distinguish the difference between question 2 & 3 of the RFP?  #2 focuses on successful strategies and #3 focuses on strengths.

RFP question 2 asks: Describe current K-12 education and workforce success strategies in place within the district and make a case for how the Ready Schools Design Process will add value and relevancy. Please include any information on how local industry is currently engaged within the district to help align education plans with regional workforce goals or needs.

RFP question 3 asks: Describe the district’s strengths and anticipated challenges with respect to addressing K-12 education and workforce alignment. (e.g. engaging stakeholders, teachers, industry)

Question 2 is trying to assess what resources aligning K-12 education and workforce are currently in place in your school system.  Question 3 is more cultural in nature — what do you have that is (or is not) working? Has your district recently passed a referendum? Is there a recent past workforce/education strategy that’s been implemented that didn’t give the results that had been hoped for? Anticipated buy-in at all levels K-12?

Broadly, question 2 is more about what exists structurally while question 3 is an assessment of the community culture between workforce and K-12 education.

Are the three pathways of life sciences, defense and advanced manufacturing priorities or is this an overall program for postsecondary career readiness?

Yes, these three sectors are a priority for this work. ROI’s mission specifically encourages workforce development and growth in the fields of life sciences, defense, and advanced manufacturing as these are the three primary sectors in which our 11-county region excels. The core principles put forth as a guide for this process includes a need for schools to recognize the “significant role they play in achieving regional prosperity.”

Our research has indicated that life sciences, national security and defense, and advanced manufacturing are key to the region achieving and growing prosperity. Many skills and abilities are applicable to all three sectors, such as problem skills, IT skills, employability skills, and many others. While the focus for our region lies within life sciences, defense, and advanced manufacturing ROI will consider funding for other supportive skills and pathways that align with the organization’s goals.

Is it possible for school districts to apply together?

The creation of the Ready Schools process was intended to support a single school district through a design thinking process to develop an innovative community-driven plan. We recognize that not all school systems have reached the same system-building milestones or need the same level of support. Therefore, we will accept multi-district proposals that include a strong rationale for collaboration and support systems in place to ensure that the design process will not suffer by the inclusion of multiple districts. Please know that cross-district collaboration will not result in a prioritization during the proposal scoring process.

What if a school district does not feel ready for the first cohort but is interested in being a part of the 2nd cohort? Should that district or districts apply now?

We are unable to guarantee participation in subsequent cohorts, however we strongly encourage districts to communicate their intent to apply in the future to ROI. ROI will be providing engagement and development opportunities to regional school systems throughout the school year in preparation for rounds two and three of the Ready Schools Initiative.