In the heart of Silicon Valley, many schools seek recognition as tech-savvy or cutting edge. While schools may promise innovation and a genuine connection to real-world learning outcomes, it is often a challenge to support these claims.
In San Jose, California, the teachers and school leaders at Lobo School of Innovation (LSI), a public district school nestled on the campus of Quimby Middle School, are living up to their school’s name and using the power of the New Tech Network community to improve both adult and student learning. Their dedication to the model and fast progress earned them a California Distinguished School award.
“I think we’ve made this growth because we spent so much time developing our why and how we wanted to roll out a school within a school and also make enhancements for all of our middle school, and that’s what makes us successful,” Site Director Ryan Hansen-Vera said.
LSI is three years into a partnership with New Tech Network (NTN) and is one of several NTN schools in the Evergreen School District. Quimby Middle School Principal, Ryan Hansen-Vera works with LSI Site Director Ginger George to keep the integrity and fidelity of the NTN model intact, while customizing for the needs of their school. Hansen-Vera and George both said they feel lucky to be a part of a network because it allows them to learn ideas from other NTN campuses whether or not the campus looks like LSI.
“The power of the network is really important to our teachers, and they have received so many great project ideas and resources. It [acquiring NTN community resources] used to be a get, get, get. Now, they’ve found opportunities to give back to the community who gave to us,” George said.
George said that when the LSI math teachers needed to adapt an NTN resource to fit their needs, they channeled their students’ agency skills to rethink the tool, then shared it with the rest of the network.
“I’m so impressed with the work that the teachers did. They could have just said, ‘there’s no tool for us, so we’re just not going to use it’. But I admire their dedication to developing it and their agency, on wanting to create something for the network and share it back with other network teachers,” George said.