Now is the time to Build Forward Together.

Through Build Forward Together school districts and community partners will work collaboratively to create equitable learning and development ecosystems that unleash the potential of all learners, recognize the power of all committed adults, and optimize all learning settings and approaches.

To accomplish Build Forward Together’s goal, The Readiness Projects team and Build Forward Together Partners are working alongside communities to find, test, and curate ideas, tools, and examples that inspire local leaders to think and talk, see and hear, act and react, and coordinate differently. In the below video, you can hear Build Forward Together ideas in action in Tulsa’s journey to become a city of learning. 


BFT Goals & Strategies

Build Forward Together capitalizes on school leader’s commitment to build schools back better. But what is better? The number of issues and innovations schools have tackled over the past year makes it impossible to go back to normal. Conversations with school and community leaders have surfaced three additional goals that not only complement schools’ build back better efforts, but shape our collective efforts to build equitable learning and development ecosystems.  They are: strengthen and leverage community partners, use summers to innovate towards long-term change, and invest in adolescents.

Every community has leaders who are making one of these goals a priority.  Build Forward Together supports them working together by encouraging them to embrace common strategies, no matter what their starting point. 

Build Back Smarter — Acknowledge learners’ losses while affirming learning ability. Optimize learning environments while prioritizing reconnection.  

Build Back Broader — Supportcomplementary learning delivery systems and modalities. Invest in program-level staff and city-level coordinating structures.   

Build Back Bolder —Focus on how, why, and with whom learning happens. Respect and diversify learners’ experiences and contexts and adults’ expertise and power.  

Build Understanding of Inequity — Equity is the goal, but inequity is the reality. Acknowledging skepticism, take time to get baseline data right in order to truly cover all bases.  

Build on Adolescents’ Determination —Embrace adolescent risk taking and leverage the brain science. Create and support alternative success pathways for all adolescents to be competent, connected, confident contributors. 

Build Forward Together is being shaped via connections and conversations with partners at both the national and local level.  To explore the challenges that communities are tackling, we hosted a 5 part “Making the Invisible Visible” series in November and December 2020.  Throughout that process we were joined by Local Champions that were nominated by a number of our national partners in this work.  The Local Champions are advising on the creation and curation of resources that speak to real-time concerns.   Our signature partner in this initiative is AASA, the School Superintendent’s Association, who has developed a Build Forward Together site for school administrators. 

The progression of Build Forward Together ideas is best seen through a series of blog posts on our Changing the Odds for Youth Community Dialogue on Medium.

The momentum coming out of the disruption presents a tangible opportunity to challenge and support school districts and community partners to create equitable learning and development ecosystems that unleash the potential of all learners, recognize the power of all committed adults, and optimize all learning settings and approaches.

Build Forward Together challenges local school, government, and community leaders to leverage the urgency, innovation, and resources sparked by the dual pandemics to do four things:

  • Use summer as a low-stakes testing ground to document, test, and scale different ways to leverage school, family, and community assets in support of accelerated learning and development that can help us build forward together post-COVID.
  • Prioritize children most challenged by the pandemic who are also the least likely to have resources for summer programs.
  • Place focused attention on teens, especially those whose success trajectories are threatened.
  • Ask how you will know how many students had great summers and why, so you can bring that data into the school year and have a baseline for improvement in 2022.

Learn more about the Summer 2021 Challenge here.

Get Connected to Build Forward Together

To get your community involved, please reach out to and the Readiness Projects team can connect you to resources, partners and others in your community who are ready to Build Forward Together.

Our Vision

All young people reach their fullest potential - in education, work, and life.

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