New Tech Network (NTN) this week announced 95 percent annual graduation rates for its high school class of 2009-2010 with a four-year cohort rate of 85 percent, surpassing national rates by almost 20 percent in the same period.
The graduation outcomes are part of encouraging data released by NTN, which develops innovative high schools across the United States. For a complete look at the data, please access the NTN website here.
NTN, whose work to date has focused exclusively on high schools, also announced its first foray into middle and elementary schools in the 2011-2012 academic year, including a K-12 expansion in both Texas and California and its participation in a statewide STEM-related (science, technology, engineering, and math) education strategy in Arkansas. News of these initiatives comes shortly after New Tech’s recent announcement that it will achieve nearly 50 percent growth in the forthcoming 2011-2012 academic year, as the Network expands to 86 public schools in 16 states nationwide, including 11 New York City public high schools as part of the NYC Department of Education’s “iZone” project.
“We’re changing the face of education,” said Lydia Dobyns, President of New Tech, fresh from hosting the New Tech Network Annual Conference in July, an event which attracted nearly 1,000 educators nationwide. “New Tech Network is expanding at a time when most of the headlines in this country are about budget cuts. Some people ask, ‘How can these communities afford to join the Network ?’ And the answer is, ‘When faced with the true cost of a drop out, how can they afford not to invest in a program that is proven to help prepare students for the future?’ We are delighted to see the success of our graduates, look forward to welcoming the new schools into our Network, and are poised to help urban, suburban and rural communities bring New Tech to their students and their teachers.”
New Tech works with schools, districts, and communities to integrate its transformative approach to learning in public high schools across the country. Teachers in New Tech high schools design rigorous, real-world projects tied to state and district standards that are deeply integrated with technology to create a learning environment that is relevant and engaging for students. More than embracing a particular pedagogical model, New Tech schools foster a cultural shift among students, educators, and administrators as they prepare students for post-secondary success. The three components critical to that success: a culture that empowers; teaching that engages; and technology that enables.
New Tech Network Makes the Grade
New Tech’s current 62 public schools reported 2009-2010 school-year class graduation rates of 95 percent, compared with 2009-2010 graduate rates of 68.8 percent for public high schools nationwide as reported by the Diplomas Count 2010 study. While 60 percent of New Tech schools are in their first or second year, preliminary four-year cohort graduation rates of 85 percent are also impressive, and remain far above the national average.
One case study that helps illustrate the success of the New Tech Network model is
New Tech Junior/Senior High School at Oregon Davis, Indiana. The school led the state in improved ISTEP (Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress) test scores, rising 14.6 percentage points this past academic year. Putting that figure in perspective, only four school corporations out of nearly 300 in the State of Indiana increased by double digits. Indiana leads the nation in the number of New Tech high schools with 16 currently in operation and three more being added this fall for a statewide total of 19.
Graduation rates and standardized test results are just two measures of the New Tech model’s success. New Tech students boasted overall attendance rates of 91 percent, compared with 75 percent nationally, according to Grad Nation. The New Tech methodology has proven markedly successful across diverse student populations in urban, rural, and suburban schools. New Tech students represent an impressive geographically and demographically diverse mix, with 60 percent ethnically diverse and 40 percent white students.
More than 2,200 seniors graduated from New Tech public high schools in the spring of 2010. More than 20,000 students are expected to be enrolled in New Tech schools in the fall. New Tech Network is a subsidiary of KnowledgeWorks.
Texas and California to Expand into K-12
Following five years of success of Manor New Tech High School, Andrew Kim, Superintendent of Schools of Manor Independent School District is announcing a K-12 expansion of New Tech, marking the first time the approach will be implemented in Texas elementary schools. As part of the partnership, the New Tech Network will recognize Manor as the first Certified Training site for Project-Based Learning.
Manor New Tech has shown outstanding student achievement results with its first two graduating classes. The first graduating class achieved 100 percent acceptance to post-secondary institutions; the 2010-11 graduating class achieved 97 percent graduation and acceptance to post-secondary institutions with more than 50 percent of its students first-generation college attendees.
“Our test scores are up, our attendance rates have improved dramatically, we’re experiencing zero student suspensions and drop outs, and we have achieved these results with negligible achievement gap disparities. Students and teachers at these schools are re-conceiving education and we are thrilled to continue to work with New Tech as the program expands into K-12 classrooms across the district,” Andrew Kim, Superintendent of Schools of Manor Independent School District, said about New Tech High School.
This year, Napa Unified School District will implement similar measures. Echo, the cloud-based learning management system, will connect 3,000 teachers and students in the Napa district to more than 20,000 in the national New Tech Network. Echo will provide a unique opportunity for cross collaboration among teachers at every level. In addition, all elements of the New Tech model will be implemented at the middle school level, preparing students for the New Tech high school experience. New Tech will help to build internal district coaches to provide teacher support that will lead to systemic change throughout the district.
Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe Announces Major Statewide Strategy
As part of a statewide STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) pilot program for high school students called STEM Works, the state of Arkansas has also committed to becoming part of the New Tech Network in the 2011-2012 academic year. Cross County High School in Cherry Valley and Lincoln High School in Washington County are the first schools in the state to adopt the New Tech model and will begin this coming school year. The goal of STEM Works is to have 10 high schools implementing extensive project-based learning programs by the start of the August 2012 school year. Details of the state-wide initiative were announced at a press conference with Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe that was held Tuesday, August 16.
“Arkansas is excited to partner with the New Tech Network to launch modern schools and classrooms across the state,” said Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe. “The New Tech model has been proven to work—as borne out by 2010 year-end statistics—and we share a commitment to better engaging our students and helping them become better equipped to compete in the global marketplace.”
An Innovative Approach to Teaching and Learning
Among the innovative projects completed during the 2010-2011 academic year that illustrate the deep and rigorous implementation of project-based collaborative learning across the New Tech Network:
- Bloomington New Tech, Indiana completed a global project entitled “Healthy Child, Healthy Planet” that focused on decreasing the child death rate around the world. The winning team collaborated by Skype with three New Tech schools across the network to design straws that filter water and are working with local foundations to help improve water filtration systems in Congo.
- In Anson New Tech, North Carolina, teams developed their own bio-diesel fuel and presented findings to the local transportation agency.
- Manor New Tech, Texas features a class on the development of education “apps” that meet the challenges and needs of the modern classroom. Home to several Apple Distinguished Educators, including school Principal Steve Zipkes, Manor New Tech has actually helped Apple identify issues with app distribution and compensation for minors.
“I had to present more times than I can count during my four years in high school,” said Alex Shafer, member of the Zebra New Tech Indiana graduating class of 2011. “Not just read a book report or repeat some facts from slides but really present. We presented to real estate agents, legislators, scientists, historians, parents, and our peers. We shared our learning, our ideas, and had to defend our opinions. Yes, opinions! At our school we were allowed and encouraged to have them. You didn’t just have to agree with the teacher and tell them what they already thought or knew about a subject, you were actually supposed to research, think, and formulate your own thoughts. . . I am so proud to be in the first graduating class of Zebra New Tech.”
For a full list of New Tech schools, visit our website at: http://www.newtechnetwork.org/newtech_schools
To read or see stories from specific schools, including fresh interviews with students, teachers or administrators, visit the Graduation 2011 edition of News in the Network: http://bit.ly/lnZCpJ
To see New Tech’s highly successful approach in action, please visit http://www.newtechnetwork.org/inside_newtech
About the New Tech Network
New Tech Network is a non-profit school development organization that partners with districts and organizations to implement innovative high schools. New Tech Network is a proven model in its 15th year with 62 schools in rural, urban, and suburban locations throughout the country. It is a subsidiary of KnowledgeWorks.
KnowledgeWorks is bringing the future of learning to America’s high schools and creating widespread, lasting change in the communities and states we serve. Our portfolio of high school approaches includes New Tech Network high schools, EDWorks high school redesign, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and Early College High Schools. Our Strive subsidiary offers a cradle-to-career strategy for bringing all of a community’s resources to bear on solving its most pressing education issues