Each New Tech Network demonstration school must develop a clear set of student learning outcomes consistent with skills required to succeed in college, career or civic life. These include content mastery tied to state standards as well as work ethic/collaboration, critical thinking and oral and written communication. All courses demonstrated rigorous and relevant Project-Based Learning (PBL) to amplify deeper learning while engaging students in the classroom. The deep integration and use of technology is present in all classrooms. Finally, a school culture that establishes students at the center, built on trust, respect, and responsibility must be evident throughout the school.
A site for observing strong PBL Implementation:
“We would like to set a standard for our district as well as a site available for other schools looking at joining the Network to visit. It has always been a goal of this school to, one day, function as a lab and incubator for PBL.”
Strategies for building the capacity of new teachers to understand the pedagogical practices involved with PBL and NTN
“Six weeks into the school year, the new teachers and a veteran teacher did a one-day retreat off campus to address NTKs around PBL that had emerged as they began teaching in a project-based environment. They were joined in the afternoon by two additional veteran teachers to address content-specific questions. An additional retreat day is planned for the spring to look at critical friends protocols and offer ongoing support for new teacher instructional needs.”
Strategies for helping parents understand how to leverage their use of Echo
Parents are invited to attend two Echo training sessions (Echo 101 and Echo 201) so that they can be directly involved in their student’s education and hold their students accountable for their class work.
Approach and focus on building agency and student leadership skills
Our students also have had many opportunities to be leaders in our school throughout the school year outside of normal school hours. These activities include the Towles CANstruction team, Student Ambassador and Advisory Council, and TED-Ed Club Student Facilitators (2015-16). These leadership positions give many of our students an opportunity for social growth among their peers and enables them to develop the leadership skills required for success in college and the workforce. In our Student Ambassador and Advisory Council, we train the students to be leaders through a leadership curriculum we have created that teaches students how to act around adults and interact with adults in a business setting.
Washington Discovery Academy
Focusing on Literacy embedded in deep PBL
Washington Discovery Academy is dedicated to the integration of effective literacy strategies within high-quality PBL practices. Using the principles of improvement science, the WDA staff are regularly testing out new ideas for how to best support the learning needs of their students.
We feel we continue to be an innovative environment practicing many PBL, leadership, and school improvement best practices and we value sharing our learning with others. More than just being innovative, we feel we are pushing the envelope for what PBL and New Tech implementation looks like in an elementary setting.
Innovation Academy @Lincoln
High-quality engaging projects
Innovation Academy projects are designed by facilitators using the NTN Project Quality Checklist. Projects are routinely designed collaboratively by our facilitators and often taken through critical friends protocols to ensure quality. Structures [that support our PBL/PrBL]:
- Brain dump-quick, project ideation for projects in the beginning stages
- Critical Friends-a protocol involving a team of people to help develop projects into rigorous learning for students.
- Looking at Student Work-facilitator brings low, medium, and high samples of student work for team to examine.
- Problem of practice-a problem is submitted for team to help give ideas or solve.
- Digital walk-through-look at an Echo briefcase
- Live walk-throughs -facilitators spend time observing best practices in other’s classrooms
Central Coast New Tech High School
Strong Student Culture
Students are connected, engaged, and challenged in a variety of ways. Students experience high levels of connection at Central Coast New Tech through our strong school culture, actively connecting their rigorous academics to their local communities, and engaging with each other and adults through exceptional PBL and PrBL best practices set in place by the staff. Each week we celebrate students that model our CCNTH Pledge in our Super Star celebration. This is an integral part of student connection and engagement.
Lakeland Leading Edge High School
Strategies from the Assessment Improvement Community Inform Practices
Our major focus for the school year is developing a deeper understanding of content knowledge within our students to increase student achievement on newer more rigorous standardized assessments. We are members of the Assessment Improvement Community and currently focusing on improving our use of and integration of performance assessments (IAKTs). We have used the PDSA model to design some changes to our assessment practices and to test those changes in individual classrooms before implementing those changes on a more wide-scale basis throughout the spring. We have seen improved student performance through our early trials and these have led us to encourage more frequent use of performance tasks that focus on 1 or 2 targeted areas of the Knowledge and Thinking rubrics, completing more modeling for students and conferencing more with students to provide more detailed feedback.