New Tech Network Powers A Common Learning Model & Unique Missions

New Tech Network is a group of about 200 schools (90% in school districts) that share four design principles:

  • Teaching that Engages ─ Through project-based learning, teachers become curriculum designers and students learn to be collaborative problem solvers.
  • Outcomes that Matter ─ New Tech Network learning outcomes also measure collaboration, written and oral communication and the development of student responsibility for their own learning and agency.
  • Culture that Empowers ─ By making learning relevant and creating a collaborative learning culture, students become connected to, engaged with, and challenged by their school, their teachers and their peers.
  • Technology that Enables ─ Through a technology-rich environment, teachers and students create, communicate, access information, and experience self-directed learning.

But these like-minded schools that share a learning model and platform aren’t all the same–they are urban and rural, STEM-focused and arts-focused, magnet schools and dropout recovery schools.

Tech Valley High in Albany is a New Tech demonstration site. The school is a partnership of Questar III and Capital Region BOCES and is located on the campus of the SUNY Polytechnic Institute Colleges of Nanoscale Science and Engineering. Watch this video discussion of the TVH graduate profile.

Mission: Tech Valley High is to provide a unique, innovative and student-centered educational opportunity, engage students in current emerging technologies and support the growth and economy of the region.

Nex+Gen Academy is school of choice in the Albuquerque Public School District and a demonstration site for the New Tech Network. It’s a place where “students take ownership of the school culture and their own learning to meet high expectations and solve complex real-world problems.” Watch a student-produced video summary.

Mission: An innovative learning community for a complex world.

Imagine a school where every student is encouraged to stand up and speak out for justice, peace and diversity. Facing History New Tech High School is the only school of its kind in the nation, using the Facing History and Ourselves curriculum along with the teamwork approach of the New Tech Network. Nestled in the Old Brooklyn neighborhood, FHNT is one of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s high-performing, innovative high schools. Students participate in community service projects, represent the school around the country and meet local and national leaders who teach students how to advocate for change. There are three other New Tech implementations within the district.

Mission: To foster a 21st-century community based on trust, respect and responsibility where we reflect on the past, learn in the present, and create a better future.

Winton Woods City Schools, on the outskirts of Cincinnati, serves a high-poverty population. With support from a state-level innovation grant, the district leadership decided to convert the entire district into New Tech schools as their primary strategy to address issues of equity. Starting with the Academy of Global Studies in 2011 as a school of choice, the New Tech model has become the instructional approach for every student in every school in the district.

Mission: To actively engage and challenge all learners to reach their maximum potential.

Academy of Science and Entrepreneurship is a school of the Monroe County Community School Corporation in Bloomington, Indiana.

Mission: ASE cultivates a collaborative learning community that empowers students to innovate and achieve in an ever-changing world.

The Community School is part of Spokane Public Schools in Washington State.

Mission: To deliver individually focused, rigorous, authentic learning in a community connected environment.

Lake Ridge School District in Gary, Indiana, is a district-wide New Tech partner.

Mission: Lake Ridge Schools is Changing Learning, Changing Lives, Inspiring Lifelong Possibilities.

Owensboro Innovation Academy in Owensboro, Kentucky, uses STEM-based careers as a way to engage high school students. A sister middle school will open in 2018 that will focus on a broad-based liberal arts curriculum using a museum school model as a primary path to engage students. A visit there, and you can see students using Echo to drive virtual and on-site collaboration.

Mission: To create an authentic, innovative learning experience allowing students to construct their own learning path, become a community partner, and view education as a lifelong adventure rather than a stepping stone.

Samueli Academy serves disadvantaged and foster youth in Santa Ana, California. In addition to educational spaces, the Samueli Academy campus will soon include a residential village to board 80 foster youth and their guardian families.

Mission: To provide a transformational learning environment to community, underserved and foster teens that offers consistency, stability, support, and a community in which to belong, thrive, and grow into successful, independent adults.

Satellite Center in St. Charles Parish, Louisiana, connects juniors and seniors to emerging career paths using PBL and work in the community.

Mission: To connect Team Members to their future by implementing a relevant and rigorous career-themed curriculum using current technologies and equipment while building relationships with post-secondary institutions and professional communities.

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West Des Moines Community Schools is a district worth watching. They’ve decided to create six New Tech model schools building a K-12 pathway starting with two elementary and two middle schools in 2015. The first New Tech model high school opens in 2017. Check out Clive Learning Academy, and listen to how elementary students describe how Project-Based Learning has changed their learning.

Stay in-the-know with all things EdTech and innovations in learning by signing up to receive the weekly Smart Update. This post includes mentions of a Getting Smart partner. For a full list of partners, affiliate organizations and all other disclosures, please see our Partner page.

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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