Florida Regional Consortium Program Continues for Third Year
Portland, Ore., and Tallahassee, Fla. – The Florida Regional Consortium Program (FRCP) today announced that for the third consecutive year, North East Florida Educational Consortium (NEFEC), Panhandle Area Educational Consortium (PAEC) and Heartland Educational Consortium (HEC) member districts and non-consortia qualifying schools will receive digital literacy and digital content solutions at no cost. This announcement is illustrative of the FRCP’s continued commitment to the Florida Department of Education’s initiative to increase the availability of digital content for state students.
The FRCP, developed through a partnership with ed tech company Learning.com and the DOE and funded by the Florida legislature, has pledged $1.1 million in support of the program.
“Digital literacy skills have become a ‘must’ in the workplaces of today and tomorrow. Ensuring that students have access to technology skills has to be a priority for us all, as it directly impacts our future economy,” said Keith Oelrich, CEO, Learning.com. “We are incredibly proud to continue this partnership and look forward to equipping even more students with the tools they need to build a foundation for success in college or their future career.”
Through the program, FRCP districts can access Learning.com’s popular digital literacy solutions, EasyTech and Inquiry, in addition to Curriculum Foundry, which helps districts build and share custom digital curriculum with a comprehensive set of curriculum building tools that includes a repository of OER and other free digital resources. The districts can also tap into content sequences that contain curriculum resources comprised of 70 content area units designed by Florida educators and that are in alignment to the Florida State Standards.
Also included in the library of OER content are coding sequences, which build upon coding classes that high school students can take as a separate language course for graduation credit. The program also incorporates professional development support, with webinars and face-to-face training at regionally selected sites hosted by Learning.com.
“We are excited to extend our relationship with Learning.com in order to continue offering our member districts the valuable tools found in the Curriculum Foundry,” said Jim Surrency, executive director of NEFEC. “Our mission is to make it easy for our members to provide students and educators with powerful resources that allow them to meet and exceed all of their educational objectives and Curriculum Foundry enables us to do that and more.”
Legislation that was passed in 2011 and spearheaded by Florida State Senator Bill Montford (D-Tallahassee), State Representative Erik Fresen (R-Miami), Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives Steve Crisafulli (R-Merritt Island) and State Representative Dennis Baxley (R-Ocala), required that all adopted K-12 student instructional materials be available in a digital format and half of textbook budgets were to be spent on digital instructional materials by the 2015-2016 school year. In 2014, the Florida DOE announced that it would be moving forward with an online statewide assessment known as the Florida Standards Assessment (FSA). The goal of the FRCP is to support the DOE’s guidelines by providing solutions to rural districts in Florida that increase the availability of digital content in the classroom and equip students to succeed on online assessments. During the 2015-2016 school year, 30 school districts participated with a combined enrollment of 115,000 students with growth expected to exceed that in the 2016-2017 school year.