Future Search The Method

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General Education Cases

IRVINGTON Children Count: Together We Can Make A Difference

The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) conducted a project in four Essex County, NJ towns (Newark, Orange, East Orange, and Irvington) to assess the quality of early care and education, to strengthen school readiness. In order to mobilize and include the missing voice of the Irvington community, NIEER Project Director Judith Alexandre organized a team of local stakeholders to develop a two-day community planning forum. This innovative, interactive conference harnessed the perspectives of multiple stakeholder groups in the community to address the need and desire for improving the quality of early childhood education in Irvington.

The Future of ICT in Yemeni Higher Education: Building a National Policy and Masterplan

The purpose of this Future Search was to build a shared vision on utilizing information and communication technology (ICT) resources for the 10 state universities and community colleges in Yemen and develop a national ICT policy and master plan.
A review of ICT initiatives in Yemen led to stakeholders voicing concern that the approach to ICT development had been haphazard and risking waste of investments, duplication of efforts, and other levels of inefficiencies. A common need had risen to strengthen the nation-wide capacity to plan for phased growth in ICT, before rushing into specific solutions and projects.

Ottawa Carlton District Board of Education, Ottawa, Canada, 2002
This Future Search conference was attended by 83 people who came together to focus on the future of public education in the Ottawa-Carleton School District. Attendees included staff and trustees, students, funders, and service providers. The action plan shaped local public education for the students who will begin their formal education in the year 2015.
A Commitment to Educational Excellence - Lester B Pearson School Board, 2002
The Lester B. Pearson School Board, the largest English-language board in Quebec held a future search designed to develop a "long-term student-centered plan, focusing on providing students with the skills needed to be successful in a changing world."
The Santa Monica Malibu School District, Santa Monica, CA, 2002
The Santa Monica Malibu School District used a future Search Conference as the major event of their strategic planning process. The process also included assessments and interviews before the conference and the work of action teams following the conference to finalize the plan. A video tape is available.  Click here to read a local news item on the future search.

Additional Resources: Visit website

Cheltenham Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, 2002
The School district of Cheltenham township used a futures search to define and describe what the school district will look like in the year 2008.

Additional Resources: Visit website Strategic_plan.pdf

Garvey School District Head Start, CA, USA, 2000.
A future search was held to align the program for low-income preschool students and their families with national Head Start standards. A cross section of teachers, administrators, parents, higher education, school district, and social agency representatives participated. Outcomes: The plans were approved by State and National Head Start. Most of the action plans are now part of the ongoing work of the Garvey Head Start Agency.
Los Angeles County Office of Education Division of Student Support Services, CA, USA, 2000.
A future search was held to enhance physical and mental health services, attendance, welfare and school safety support provided by the division to the 82 school districts of LA County. Participants included division staff and administrators, school nurses, counselors, attendance and welfare personnel, attorneys, and representative of other divisions of LACOE. Plans were formulated to improve education of the whole child, collaborations between agencies, technology communication systems, and data driven planning. Outcomes: The plan will be presented to the LACOE board in September 2001.
Shape the Future: A Toronto District Quest to Support Student Success in Tomorrow's Schools, 2000-2001
The Toronto school board sponsored a two-and-a-half day, multi-stakeholder conference for to plan for a successful Toronto School District in the year 2017. The conference brought together a wide cross section of stakeholder groups, including students, staff, families, community and business. The group sought an answer a vision for what it would take to make students born at the time of the future search proud of the education they receive in Toronto in 2017. A followup meeting was held on May 29, 2002.

Additional Resources: Visit website

Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, CA, USA, 2000.
A future search was for the 15 year old school serving talented students from across Los Angeles County. Students, academic and arts teachers, administrators, parents, representatives from arts organizations, the university where the school is housed, and the L.A. County Office of Education participated. Plans were made to better integrate arts disciplines, integrate the academics with the arts, expand facilities, and to increase foundation funding. Outcomes: The plan became part of the "Focus on Learning Accreditation" process. Students are demonstrating very high achievement in academic and arts areas. Foundation funding has increased.
Los Angeles County Office of Education, Division of Alternative Education, Los Angeles, CA, USA, 1999.
Participants developed a strategic plan using future search principles to plan for the academic and social education of pre-delinquent students and pregnant minors in alternative education classrooms, grades 6-12. Brought together a cross section of teachers, administrators, students, parents, and representatives from social agencies to design a strategic plan. Outcome: 75% of plan was completed in 2 years.
Bonita Unified School District, CA, USA, 1999.
Participants developed a mission, vision, goals, success indicators, and action steps, using future search principles and planned for the next 5 years in the district. Board members, administrators, teachers, students, parents, classified, and community representatives participated. Outcome: Plan adopted by the school board.
San Gabriel Unified School District, CA, USA, 1999.
District held a future search planning conference to develop a plan for student physical and mental health in middle and high schools in partnership with the health department, police department, parks and recreation, city government, local hospitals, and social agencies. Students, teachers, administrators, board members, parents, and representatives of all the agencies attended. Outcome: The school district was awarded a Healthy Start Grant from the California Departments of Health and Education to implement a Healthy Start Program in the district.
Lawndale School District, CA, USA, 1999.
District held a future search planning conference to renew the district's strategic plan. It focused on "Student Success." A cross section of teachers from all school sites, administrators, students, parents, classified, district office administrators, and community representatives participated. Action plans in 5-6 areas were formulated. Outcomes: Many action plans have been embedded in the ongoing work of the school district.
Los Angeles County Office of Education, Safe Schools Center, Los Angeles, CA, USA, 1997.
A strategic planning process, using future search principles, brought together stakeholders from school districts, the police department, social agencies, parks and recreation, the justice system, higher education and LACOE to develop a comprehensive strategic plan for safety in the 82 school districts of L.A. County. Outcome: Plan that has been widely used as a model for individual district plans.

Sally Theilacker, Program Manager
Future Search Network www.futuresearch.net
4700 Wissahickon Avenue, Suite 126
Philadelphia, PA  19144
215.951.0328 or 800.951.6333

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