A Research-Based Reason to Hope

By Kristin Cuilla

As a former high school principal, this was always the time of year when a sense of “hope” permeated campus culture. School had been in session long enough for students, facilitators, and leadership to see real gains in student knowledge and thinking, everyone was refreshed from the Thanksgiving holiday break, and all of us were excited to finish the first semester of the academic year. But, in a turn of one of my favorite Warren Buffett quotes, I always found myself “being fearful” when everyone else was “hopeful.”

To be honest, what kept me up at night was how I could ensure that all of my students were prepared to graduate college and career ready, with all the requisite employability skills. There were too many nights spent calling to mind the faces of students “on the bubble,” and too few reliable benchmarks to give me confidence that all the smart things we were doing would get every child to the starting block I call high school graduation. In those moments, I sought comfort in evidence and research-based findings, and I imagine most of my colleagues default to documentation of proven efforts as well.

That’s one reason I’m so excited to share New Tech Network’s first Research Findings report. The studies in this collection reflect more than five years of research, and they mark the variety of data sources and research findings that were evaluated to document the impact of the NTN model. The key findings in the report include:

  • New Tech Network students outperformed similar non-NTN students on state end of course exams.
  • New Tech Network students outpaced the national average in high school graduation and college persistence.
  • New Tech Network schools and other deeper learning network schools demonstrated higher scores on measures of cognitive, interpersonal, and intrapersonal competencies.
  • New Tech Network high school students show considerably more growth in critical thinking skills.
  • New Tech Network school successfully increased opportunities for under-represented STEM students.

From a 90% attendance rate at Panther New Tech @ Austin High School (El Paso, Texas), where service pathways bring real-life application to classes, to Weidner School of Inquiry (Plymouth, Indiana) adopting a personalized approach to staff professional development, our 2017 Impact Report shows ample evidence of public district innovation. I invite you to scan key findings, samples, visualizations, and the infographic below to learn more about why New Tech Network is more encouraged than ever that our proven school model is making a difference in the lives of students from every type of background and community.

For more see:

Kristin Cuilla is Senior Director, Partnerships & Communication at New Tech Network. Find Kristin on Twitter at @kriscuilla

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