Plymouth Community School Corporation is elated to announce that three of their Project-based learning (PBL) schools have once again been deemed exemplary schools and all three will continue to serve as National Demonstration Sites for the New Tech Network (NTN) for the 2016-2017 school year. The Plymouth Community School Corporation is the only school system within Michiana to have achieved this impressive recognition.
The three schools are as follows:
- Washington Discovery Academy – (K-4)
- Innovation Academy @ Riverside – (5-6)
- Weidner School of Inquiry @ Plymouth High School – (9-12)
This is the third year in a row both the Innovation Academy @ Riverside and the Weidner School of Inquiry @ Plymouth High School have received this honor, and the second year in a row that Washington Discovery Academy received this distinctive honor.
All three schools have proven to operate as an exemplary example of the New Tech mission – to help students gain the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in life, college, and the careers of tomorrow.
“These schools have achieved a very high honor. We consider them exemplary schools within the New Tech Network. We applaud the significant work necessary for schools to meet the demonstration site criteria. We consider them exemplary schools within the New Tech Network of nearly 200 schools. Through the school’s hard work, students are better prepared for life and college. They have also developed a deep love of learning,” said NTN President and CEO, Lydia Dobyns.
To receive this prestigious distinction again, all three schools had to continue to develop and demonstrate a clear set of student learning outcomes consistent with skills required to succeed in college, career, or civic life. These accomplishments include content mastery tied to state standards as well as work ethic, collaboration, critical thinking, and oral and written communication. All courses must demonstrate rigorous and relevant Project-based learning to amplify deeper learning while engaging students in the classroom. The deep integration and use of technology must be present in all classrooms. Finally, a school culture that establishes students at the center, built on trust, respect and responsibility must be evident throughout the school.
Superintendent Dan Tyree made the following comments on the continued NTN Demonstration Site status of the three Plymouth schools:
“We truly couldn’t be more pleased that our three schools will continue to be recognized as New Tech Network National Demonstration Site schools. We are continuously challenged with new innovative ways to re-imagine teaching and learning and we continue to see amazing examples of engaged students from kindergarten all the way to the other end of the spectrum – high school.”
Riverside Intermediate School Principal Jeni Hirschy said, “Our teachers have continued to attend national conferences and ongoing professional development to help towards maintaining our continued Demonstration Site status. We embrace the visits from other schools and are committed to continued improvement to implement the model.”
Demonstration Site schools play a key role in the development and scale of the New Tech Network as well. All three schools will continue to host tours for national, state, and local schools and districts to experience a New Tech school firsthand.
Weidner School of Inquiry @ PHS Co-director Jennifer Felke said, “We are proud that visitors will continue to take part in student-led tours to learn about the fundamentals of our school, highlighting Project-based learning examples, integrated use of technology, and the culture shift that is integral to every New Tech.”
Last year, all three Plymouth schools saw hundreds of visitors wishing to experience a New Tech school. In addition to tours, demonstration sites play an important role for critical New Tech training events.
Amy Gerard, PCSC Director of PBL, said, “These events often provide an authentic immersion experience within our New Tech schools for teachers and administrators as new districts and communities prepare to open and teach in their own schools.” “We’ve hosted events like leadership summits, teacher shadowing, and leadership residency; allowing for a first-hand experience within our New Tech schools.”
To be considered Demonstration Site, all class work must demonstrate rigorous and relevant Project-based learning to amplify deeper learning while engaging students in the classroom. The deep integration and use of technology must be present in all classrooms. Finally, a school culture that establishes students at the center, built on trust, respect and responsibility must be evident throughout the school.
Washington Discovery Academy Principal Jeff Spencer said, “We are extremely excited to be the first two-time selected demonstration site elementary school in the entire country! We want to truly prepare our students for this world that is ever changing. We want our learners to have the skills necessary to open every door for college and career success.”
New Tech Network Students:
● Graduate from high school at a rate 9% greater than the national average.
● New Tech students grow 61% more in higher order thinking skills between freshman and senior years than comparison group.
● Attend college at 70%
● Persist in college in 4-year colleges at a rate of 92% and in 2-year colleges at a rate 72% over the past five years.
There are nearly 200 schools in 28 states and Australia in the New Tech Network. For a full list of New Tech schools, visit the following website: http://newtechnetwork.org/schools/.
Plymouth Community School Corporation will soon begin online open enrollment for all of our K-12 PBL schools. Registration officially opens at 4 p.m. on Sunday, February 12, 2017 and then will close at 3 p.m. on Friday, March 17, 2017.