NEW TECH NETWORK SCHOOL DESIGN STUDIO
How a district used the New Tech Network model and rubrics to develop college and career ready students.
MERIDIAN PUBLIC SCHOOLS
After nine years as Superintendent for the Meridian school district in Michigan and witnessing a major recession affect the state’s manufacturing industry, Craig Carmoney reflected on how Early College High School students have benefitted from the New Tech Network (NTN) model in preparation for the workforce of the future. For Meridian Early College High School, the district’s goal shifted from whether students were accepted to universities to include how they persisted in college once they arrived. Early data showed 72% of students were going to college, but only about one-third were staying past their first year.
“How could we better support our students and have them graduate with learning outcomes that ensured they were prepared for life after college?” said Carmoney. Thanks to Meridian’s focus on building career-ready skills and dual-college enrollment, around 80% of Early College High School students now complete their first year of college before graduating high school, or achieve equivalent certifications through Career & Technical Education (CTE) programs.
“We did all these things by using the NTN rubrics and focusing on the NTN learning outcomes,” said Carmoney. Carmoney cites these outcomes, which include agency and communication, as reflective of the skills employers in the area seek. “If a candidate comes with those skills, employers believe they can teach them anything else they need to know for the role,” says Carmoney. “If you don’t have skills like critical thinking or collaboration, it’s almost impossible to get past that.”
One of Carmoney’s favorite success stories so far involves two students graduating next year. Both students come from a disadvantaged background and will graduate from high school in four years with an Associate’s Degree. Carmoney believes that the students’ agency and ability to be an advocate for themselves were the biggest factors in this success. “Having ownership over one’s learning and advocating for yourself are key traits that students gain through the experience of attending a New Tech Network school.”
“We’ve evolved so much as a school district from being part of the Network,” says Carmoney. “Now, we’re going much deeper, looking at equity, opportunity gaps, social and emotional learning. Being in this Network has helped me to become a much more diversified leader. When I want to innovate, I come to the leaders in this Network. That’s what I really enjoy about New Tech Network – it will push you and fulfill you at the same time.”