State Gets More New Tech Schools

DeKalb is the latest Indiana county to bring New Tech curriculum to its school system. The technology-heavy, project-based learning environment has been a unique addition to Indiana schools in the past five years or so. For more, see my stories in BizVoice magazine here and here.

It’s official! In 2012, Northeast Indiana will have six New Tech high schools, the second highest concentration of New Techs in the country after New York City. DeKalb County Central United School District just announced that they have signed their agreement with the New Tech Network to become the sixth New Tech in the region.

New Tech schools focus on project-based learning (PBL), integrated technology, and the development of 21st century skills like oral and written communication, collaboration, leadership, etc. At the conclusion of four years in a New Tech high school, students will have also been exposed to internship opportunities, have received college credits through dual credit courses, and have completed a digital portfolio demonstrating a culmination of learning outcomes over time. Parents, community members and business leaders are also involved in the New Tech model and serve in a variety of capacities such as an advisor/mentor for students or as a critical friend providing feedback on a completed project.

DeKalb Central will spend the 2011-12 school year developing the master plan for their New Tech high school including having district leaders from DeKalb Central attend the New Tech Network Planning Summit to initiate the master planning process. In the fall of 2012, DeKalb Central will open their New Tech high school using the "school within a school" model with a goal of 100 students enrolled for the first year.

"This is an opportunity to transform the learning paradigm in DeKalb Central and engage and empower our students in new and exciting ways," said Dr. Sherry Grate, Superintendent of DeKalb County Central United School District. "We are grateful for the assistance of the Talent Initiative and excited to be a part of their work on a regional level to accelerate education and STEM-focused curriculum."