New Tech Network Elementary Model

November 15, 2016


Our work with elementary schools is a natural extension of our work with middle and high schools throughout the country. New Tech elementary schools employ the key design elements that make NTN schools successful: outcomes that matter, teaching that engages, culture that empowers, and technology that enables. These design elements are adapted for elementary schools in ways that ensure they are developmentally appropriate for younger students.

Outcomes that Matter

  • Student learning is focused on a broad range of learning outcomes.
    • The NTN Learning Outcomes (knowledge & thinking, collaboration, oral and written communication, and agency) guide curriculum design instruction and feedback.
    • Students regularly reflect on their progress on the NTN Learning Outcomes, including areas of strength and areas for growth.

Teaching that Engages

  • Multidisciplinary PBL is the primary mode of instruction at all grade levels.  
      • Projects are standards-based and focus on a broad range of learning outcomes. Projects are often grounded in social studies and/or science standards.
      • Projects have a meaningful purpose for students and are tied to the community when possible.
      • Scaffolding within projects is developmentally appropriate and supports individual student needs. Students spend time in both heterogeneous and homogenous groups.  
  • Literacy is cross-curricular and integrated into the context of the project.
      • Literacy instruction supports content instruction and vice versa.
      • Reading and writing instruction are incorporated into the context of the project.  
      • Foundational literacy skills are taught alongside the project and integrated within the project when applicable.
  •  Math is inquiry-based.
    • Learning is focused on reasoning and sense-making through open-ended math problems.
    • Students have regular opportunities to collaborate and engage in discussions about mathematical concepts.
    • Numeracy is reinforced in projects (number awareness, looking for patterns, making sense of data, interpreting graphs / diagrams); skills and concepts are connected to projects when applicable.
    • Skill development is reinforced through guided and independent practice.
  • Assessments guide student learning and instructional decisions.
    • Schools have a balanced assessment system that focuses on assessment of both basic skills and a broader range of student outcomes.
    • Projects include a range of assessments, including curriculum-embedded performance tasks and peer and self-assessments.
    • Assessment practices, such as student-led conference, portfolios, and exhibitions support student agency.

Culture that Empowers

  • The school staff engages in continuous learning and improvement.
      • Staff actively collaborate around the vision and mission of the school and use inclusive decision-making practices with key stakeholders.
      • Grade level teams work in collaboration with support staff in project design and analysis of student work to inform instructional decisions.
      • Schoolwide structures for adult learning include daily shared planning time for teams and regular staff meeting time.
  • Students engage in a collaborative learning culture centered on trust, respect, and responsibility.
    • Students actively collaborate on projects and build positive relationships with peers and staff members. Students have opportunities to work within diverse groups.
    • Students have voice and choice in their learning.
    • The school proactively supports social-emotional growth within the context of the learning.

Technology that Enables

  • Technology is a tool, not a focus.
    • Students use technology to enhance and support their learning, including using tech tools to create, communicate, collaborate, and investigate.
    • Upper grade levels have a 1-1 device/student ratio and actively use NTN’s online learning platform, Echo.
    • Lower grade levels have regular access to devices to support their learning.  Often devices are used to support learners in centers and small group instruction.  
    • Schools actively work to monitor screen time and ensure technology use is developmentally appropriate.  


New Tech Network Change Agent: An interview with Elementary Principal Aaron Brengard

Find out why New Tech Network (NTN) is proven to be a powerful lever for school change. We work closely with school leaders and educators to align learning systems and provide powerful professional development to improve student outcomes. Our Network consists of 175 schools, in 29 states and Australia. Core services include extensive planning, design, and implementation support to guide schools toward lasting change and ongoing improvement.

New Tech Network Elementary Resources

Mathematics Best Practices for an Elementary Classroom
Literacy Best Practices for an Elementary Classroom
New Tech Network Elementary Rubrics

New Tech Network Elementary School Spotlights

School Spotlight: Napa Junction Elementary School
School Spotlight: Katherine Smith Elementary School




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