New Tech Network Conference Convenes Education Trailblazers and Strengthens National Innovation Network

August 2, 2018

New Tech Annual Conference highlights teachers, leaders, and launches new book on the power of school networks


Napa, Calif., Aug 02, 2018-The New Tech Annual Conference (NTAC), held by New Tech Network, convened in St. Louis, Missouri from July 11 – 15. Over 1,400 educators from across the country and Australia came together for sessions on project-based learning, school redesign, and community-building.

The conference theme, “Power of Us” was a deep-dive into the idea that a connected network is essential to addressing the complex challenges that communities face today. The conference theme was enhanced with the release of, “Better Together: How to Leverage School Networks for Smarter Personalized and Project-Based Learning” a book co-authored by NTN President and CEO Lydia Dobyns and GettingSmart CEO Tom Vander Ark.

“Better Together” gives context to one of the modern era’s most important educational innovations and provides smart strategies for collaborating in school networks to achieve the promise of personalized learning for all students. It also explores the challenges that innovating schools as a “do it yourself” effort poses.

“New Tech Network’s foundational belief is that schools get better by being part of a community. We think school networks hold the best potential for solving the most complex challenge we face today: closing the opportunity gap for all students, no matter where they live,” said Dobyns.

New Tech Network, a national nonprofit organization, is a leading design partner for comprehensive K-12 school change using school-wide project-based learning. Each year, New Tech Network schools submit projects they think exemplifies high-quality project-based learning.

Teachers Amelia Little and Edgar Johnson from Burke High School in Charleston, South Carolina, were recognized for “Finding A Voice”, a project that enabled 10th-grade students to learn about specific disenfranchised groups by conducting research, and then designing, and authoring a graphic novel. To make the project authentic and engaging for their students, Little and Johnson collaborated with Charleston County Public Library and with other community organizations. The partnerships resulted in rich experiences for students, who worked with journalists, librarians, archivists, and others.

The Susan Schilling Legacy Award honored Patrick Gallucci, the Commandant of First State Military Academy in Southern Delaware. In January 2015, Gallucci took on the challenge of creating a new school, hiring staff and implementing a completely unique program. Gallucci’s grit and perseverance serving both his staff and his diverse population of students has resulted in a successful, culture-driven school. First State Military is the first military academy to become a New Tech Network partner.

“This was a year of ‘firsts’ for us. The teachers from Burke High School in South Carolina were first-year teachers with the New Tech school model and Commandant Gallucci leads the first military academy in our Network. Our goal is the same everywhere we work: creating schools that prepare students for the life paths they wish to pursue,” said Dobyns.




About New Tech Network

New Tech Network, a national nonprofit organization, is a leading design partner for comprehensive K-12 school change. We coach teachers and school leaders to inspire and engage all students through authentic and challenging work. The New Tech model combines pervasive project-based learning, an engaging school-wide culture and the real-world use of technology tools and resources. We support the whole school through three key structures: professional development events, coaching, and Echo, the NTN project-based platform.

New Tech Network students consistently outperform national high school graduation and college persistence rates. The network consists of more than 200 schools in 26 states and Australia.

Watch the NTAC student-teacher presentation Finding a Voice:


See how these small-town schools are re-imagining how students learn so that EVERY student graduates with the skills to succeed in college and the workplace.


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