Officials’ hope for the New Tech program at Calumet High School is it will produce 21st century graduates, ready and able to work together to solve problems.
Local business leaders have responded to the program’s prospects and officials’ outreach by providing mentoring, cash and the possibility of internships for students.
Early on, Sharon Johnson-Shirley, superintendent of Lake Ridge Schools; Calumet High School Principal Tim Pivarnik; and New Tech director Cynthia Mose Trevino met with parents and business leaders to spread the word about New Tech’s project-based learning. The district has incorporated the educational approach at its freshman and sophomore levels.
David Bochnowksi, Peoples Bank chairman and CEO, said many of the sets of skills that are needed for business are being taught through New Tech.
“These young people have modern-day tools and are learning how to use those tools to develop solutions that none of us have ever thought of,” he said.
Excitement was evident in Yvette Johnson, First Midwest Bank branch manager for the Gary/Calumet Township/Glen Park office, who said New Tech is remaking education.
She said “the traditional teaching method where students listen to teacher lectures and use textbooks” is a thing of the past as the New Tech classroom focuses on one-to-one computing and collaborating to find solutions.
Bill Masterson Jr., publisher of The Times, said what impresses him about Calumet High is its willingness to step up and do whatever is necessary to try to provide better learning opportunities for students.
New Tech Network President Lydia Dobyns said one of the program’s founding principles is to form partnerships with local businesses to better prepare students for successful post-secondary paths in life, whether that be college at first or a career.