by Ashley Sloboda
Towles New Tech Middle School is only in its fourth year but has already been recognized for excellence.
The New Tech Network has named the school, 420 E. Paulding Road, as a 2016-17 national demonstration site, Fort Wayne Community Schools announced Wednesday.
The national nonprofit works with districts and schools to create innovative learning environments. Nearly 200 schools in 29 states and Australia are in the New Tech Network, which selects exemplary schools for its demonstration sites.
Towles New Tech is one of 11 demonstration sites listed on the New Tech Network website. Schools in Plymouth and Evansville also were honored.
Derek Leininger, Towles New Tech director, said the school is proud of the distinction.
“We feel like this designation is a reflection of the hard work and care for students that our staff members display every day,” he said in a statement.
Since opening in 2013, Towles New Tech has increased its enrollment from 121 to 159 students.
Towles, which also includes an elementary school, occupies the former home of Geyer Middle School, which the district closed in 2006. Geyer, which was under strict federal regulation under No Child Left Behind because it had a high number of low-income students, had struggled on the state’s standardized test. It could have faced state-ordered restructuring.
Superintendent Wendy Robinson said the New Tech program at Towles exemplifies the district’s mission of ensuring that all students are educated to high standards. “We are proud of the staff, students and families at Towles for committing to and succeeding in this program,” she said in a statement.
Students advance to New Tech Academy at Wayne High School, a previous demonstration site that opened in 2009. As a demonstration site, Towles New Tech will host tours and training events.