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Beacon House’s digital learning vision is: “Through its technology-enabled afterschool programs, Beacon House will empower learners to have the confidence to innovate and creatively solve problems in school, work, and life.”
For over 25 years, Beacon House has served children and youth in northeast Washington, DC, by providing academic support and enrichment opportunities as well as a safe and nurturing location. Beacon House has made great strides in increasing high school graduation rates in the community. Last year, Beacon House decided to provide students with 21st Century skills and infuse technology into their programming in an intentional way.
Beacon House is a place-based organization located in the Edgewood Commons affordable housing community. Because of this, Beacon House knew it was critical that the community become involved in providing meaningful input to help create a digital learning vision for their program. Beacon House included students, all staff, and board members in the process.
The National Cable and Television Association awarded Beacon House a grant to integrate technology into their program. This enabled them to hire a consultant to help guide their visioning process. Beacon House launched this process with a Visioning Summit. The agenda for the Visioning Summit ensured staff input and allowed families and students to share ideas about their needs and interests. The Visioning Summit yielded the initial vision statement and helped Beacon House identify key skills families wanted students to gain. Then, staff provided feedback and developed a theory of action. Next, Beacon House interviewed peer organizations with a focus on technology and used the findings to create a more refined version of the vision statement. Beacon House used surveys and group discussions to facilitate a second convening during which families and students provided feedback on the new vision and technology-driven program offerings. This helped Beacon House gauge the level of excitement and interest and solidify new programming. The input gathered from families, students, and staff was compiled, and Beacon House developed an implementation plan with a focus on piloting technology-focused program offerings aligned with the needs and interests of the community.