New Gradebook now available

What good is having students complete their Career Education activities without being able to easily track and review their progress?



The new Gradebook feature makes it easy for teachers to track students' work in ACTIVITIES (including reflections), SKILLS completion, and PORTFOLIO items (uploads).

Thanks to Boyertown SD for asking for it and then putting a team together to help us design the Gradebook. It has become a favorite tool in the teacher admin application.

Free Online Future Ready Courses Now Available in the SmartFutures.org SKILLS section!

While we've been working remotely too, it hasn't stopped us from partnering with another great non-profit to bring more valuable Future Ready resources into our SKILLS section.

edX.org is the trusted platform for global online learning with free courses from some of the the world's most respected colleges and learning providers. Smart Futures has worked with edX to identify courses specifically related to both the Pennsylvania Academic Standards for Career Education and Work and the Pennsylvania Career Ready SEL Standards.

The current courses are targeted to high school students and adults. We are working on identifying courses for younger students. Courses fit into 3 categories: Career Ready, Information Technology, and Test Prep (AP test prep). Examples of current courses include:

  • Teamwork and Collaboration from Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Becoming an Entrepreneur from Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Understanding Technology from Harvard University
  • AP Physics from Rice University

These courses can be used by teachers to provide high quality, dynamic Future Ready content within their classrooms. For example, a rural district with little access to IT resources in their area could offer an Introduction to Computers course using Harvard's famous CS50 Understanding Technology course for content and highly engaging instruction.

Students can audit classes for free. For a small fee, students or their parents can opt for the paid Verified track and receive a certificate from the university or provider that they can upload to their portfolio or LinkedIn profile. Note: Students will be asked to create a separate edX account the first time they begin a class.

Courses will be available in the SKILLS section next week.

Pittsburgh-based nonprofit donates its popular online service to Pennsylvania schools so students can generate mandated career readiness artifacts from home


Press Release. 3-19-2020

PITTSBURGH, PA. In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic forcing school closures, Smart Futures, a Pittsburgh-based nonprofit technology company, is inviting Pennsylvania school districts and charter schools not currently subscribed to their service to utilize their career planning and portfolio platform at no charge for the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year. The SmartFutures.org platform allows students to build mandated career readiness artifacts from their homes while schools are closed due to the pandemic.

The artifacts are a requirement of a new mandate called Future Ready PA that has made Pennsylvania the first state in the United States to require that each student develop a K-12 career plan and portfolio. 

SmartFutures.org offers online activities that are aligned to the Pennsylvania Academic Standards for Career Education and Work for each grade band (K-3, 4-5, 6-8, and 9-11).  These activities make it easy for students with access to a computer, tablet, or cell phone to create artifacts that comply with Future Ready PA career readiness indicators. Furthermore, these artifacts are portable between schools and districts.  The resulting plan and portfolio will carry with the student after graduation. Tools for simplifying the audit visit and PIMS file creation are also provided.

“We created SmartFutures.org to help schools be in compliance with this career readiness mandate,” says David Mosey, Smart Futures Executive Director. “Now the challenge posed by the Corona Virus has opened the door to getting more schools the help they need.  Beginning this process now will make it easier for districts and charters to move forward once the pandemic is over.”

To take advantage of this offer or to learn more, a district or charter school representative should email dmosey@smartfutures.org to express interest in moving forward.  Smart Futures will send out a startup kit and invitation to a Zoom Meeting for an overview SmartFutures.org and the onboarding process required to get students started quickly. 

For more information, contact:
David J Mosey
Executive Director, Smart Futures
email: 
dmosey@smartfutures.org 
Phone:  412-288-3900

SmartFutures.org Launches a SKILLS Micro Credentialing Center Focusing on Math and 11 Digital Literacy Skills from Northstar Learning


We are very happy to launch the new SmartFutures.org SKILLS center, a micro-credentialing and badging resource for students grades K-adult. The new SKILLS canter offers your students the opportunity to earn Future Ready skills badges in topics that are critical for career success.

We have launched the 2019-20 SKILLS center with some amazing resources:

Future Ready Math -- An easy to use, diagnostic badging system for the applied math needed for careers. Students can earn badge levels for 1-5, can upgrade their level as they progress through school, and can access remediation through Khan Academy.

Digital Literacy -- Smart Futures has partnered with NorthStar Digital Literacy to seamlessly integrate their career ready badges into classrooms throughout Pennsylvania. Available badges include:
  • Basic Computer Skills
  • Internet Basics
  • Using E-mail
  • Windows 10
  • Mac OS
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Social Media
  • Information Literacy
  • Career Search Skills
  • Your Digital Footprint
These badges are great additions to your online portfolio and show the world you have the skills needed to thrive in a modern workplace.

SmartFutures.org Helps 100 Districts and Charters Exceed Future Ready PA Performance Measures

An affordable subscription reduces stress for teachers and counselors
and provides Future Ready Badges for students
 
Fact: Pennsylvania is the first state in the U.S. to provide a solid framework for career education benchmarks and mandate its delivery for all students throughout K-12. While Future Ready PA Index is game-changing for championing relevant education in the classroom, many public and charter schools are looking for an effective, user-friendly system to help them comply with federal accountability requirements in 2019 and beyond.
Solution: Smart Futures has engaged with the Pennsylvania Department of Education to guide the development of SmartFutures.org, an online career planning and portfolio platform built specifically to help schools fully implement the Future Ready PA Index benchmarks into their classrooms. Unlike other off-the-shelf solutions, SmartFutures.org uses the Pennsylvania Academic Standards for Career Education and Work as its curriculum blueprint.

Smart Futures consults regularly with the Bureau of Curriculum, Assessment, and Instruction to make sure the platform is aligned to fully support the goals of the Future Ready PA Index and to satisfy the Department's compliance and reporting requirements. To keep the curriculum vibrant and relevant, Smart Futures partners with Carnegie Mellon University and other local colleges and universities whose students participate in the ongoing development of its online activities.

To its subscribers, SmartFutures.org is an affordable, drop-in Future Ready (339/ESSA/I.D.E.A.) solution that provides a k-12 curriculum aligned to all 23 elements across the four strands of the Career Education and Work Standards that leads to artifact creation, data collection, student badging, and PIMS monitoring and reporting.  The platform is currently being used by districts and charter schools across Pennsylvania through an annual subscription.
The Opportunity: It's not too late to generate substantial artifact evidence for the summer, 2019 reporting period.

SmartFutures.org has additional capacity to offer subscriptions to school districts and charter schools, particularly those in danger of not meeting this year's reporting benchmarks. Visit SmartFutures.org or contact David at dmosey@SmartFutures.org to schedule a virtual tour.


Be prepared for 2019 reporting --