• 54°

A.L. school board hears plans for new program to connect schools and community resources

The Albert Lea Area school board was introduced to the program FutureForward at its meeting Monday night, a program that will provide ways for students and educators to better connect with community partners and businesses. 

FutureForward, created by the Southeast Service Cooperative, is a free web-based portal that invites students, educators, individual professionals and businesses to create personalized pages with the goal of providing students with increased access to career-connected learning experiences and businesses with an opportunity to attract future employees from across the region. 

“It’s a platform that brings businesses, the students, as well as the teachers, together on a synchronous platform where everybody is responsible for their own information,” said John Double, the district’s distance learning academy principal. “It’s all real-time information.”

Businesses are invited to create their own page, featuring an overview of what they do, which could include photos and videos, a map of their location, resources for students, as well as pages for their individual employees. 

Employees can then create their own pages from which they can select the group of schools they are interested in working with, lessons they could teach and volunteer opportunities they could provide help with. 

“There’s a very long, long list of ways that professionals can connect with our classrooms,” Double said. “From being guest speakers, to internships, externships, all sorts of ways. They can select from those, which would then be listed on the page.”

The platform works in both directions, with educators as well as businesses and individuals able to reach out to each other in search of partnerships and educational opportunities. 

Businesses and schools spanning from the Alden-Conger area to the Wisconsin border, and up to Faribault and over, can sign up for the service. While the full roll out for the program is expected to start fall 2021, there are numerous educators, students and businesses already using the platform. 

“It’s easy to use and I just think it’s a great access for the school and the businesses that work with them,” said school board member Dennis Dieser. “There’s an array of what you can do. I think as we get more and more students working out in the community, they’ll have the opportunity to see what’s out there. They can pick and choose what they really like. Even in the middle school, it’s a great opportunity for them to see what’s out there… I think it will be well worth it.”

In other action, the board:

  • Voted 7-0 to approve the Policy 604 Instructional Curriculum revisions.

* Voted 7-0 to approve a resolution in support for Albert Lea to provide online learning in the 2021-22 school year.

  • Voted 7-0 to approve the 2020-21 revised budget. 

About Tyler Julson

Tyler Julson covers sports for the Albert Lea Tribune.

email author More by Tyler