New Tech Network Expands Through Ohio Race to the Top Innovative Grants Bringing a total of Eight New Tech High Schools to Ohio

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Unlike students in traditional high schools where most teachers lecture and use textbooks as a teaching approach, teachers in New Tech high schools design rigorous, real-world projects tied to state and district standards, customizing them for location, relevancy and the interests of students.

Lydia Dobyns

The awards will allow these forward-looking districts to invest in innovative and effective school designs that improve college and career readiness.

Five Ohio school districts were awarded Race to the Top (RttT) funds allowing them to implement a New Tech Network high school in their district, the Ohio Department of Education announced today.

Winton Woods City Schools, Van Wert City Schools, Shelby City Schools, Zanesville City/ Muskingum Valley ESC Schools and Cleveland Heights-University Heights City Schools each received grants in an awards presentation by the Governor of Ohio, John Kasich on Wednesday. The addition of these five new NTN schools will bring the total to eight in Ohio and will add to more than 85 NTN schools around the country.

Ohio's Race to the Top (RttT) is part of a federal program designed to create a world-class education system in Ohio. As part of its mission, RttT focuses on increasing college enrollment, improving graduation rates and narrowing the state performance gap between under-served and majority students.

Ohio was awarded 45 grants that will lead to the development of innovative programs in schools throughout the state. 23 Ohio school districts applied for the 5 New Tech Network awards available through the Race to the Top grants. Last summer, Ohio joined eight states and the District of Columbia as winners of the federal Race to the Top competition that rewarded states that are leading the way in comprehensive, coherent, statewide education reform across key areas. They include turning around the lowest-performing schools and preparing students to succeed in college and in the work place.

Lydia Dobyns, president of New Tech Network said, “We look forward to the new schools made possible by the Race to the Top awards. The awards will allow these forward-looking districts to invest in innovative and effective school designs that improve college and career readiness. Teachers and students in each of these schools will benefit tremendously from multi years worth of training and coaching along with the deep infusion of state of the art technology.”

Muskingum Valley Educational Service Center is leading the New Tech initiative on behalf of Zanesville City, Morgan Local and Ridgewood Local Schools. Michele Timmons, Director of the Care Team Collaborative for Muskingum Valley ESC, is looking forward to a New Tech high school in Zanesville district in 2012. She remarked, “One of the greatest needs in southeastern Ohio is access to technology. Jobs in the medical field are in demand and having the skills New Tech students graduate with will be essential to both the economy and the community. In fact, Genesis Healthcare Systems has partnered with Muskingum Valley ESC school districts to help bring New Tech to the community.”

Muskingum Valley ESC Superintendent Richard Murray said, “The best way to predict the future is to create one; our goal for this program is to create a bright future for our boys and girls in the Muskingum Valley in the areas of science, technology, engineering, math and medicine.”

Winton Woods City Schools will open Academy of Global Studies at Winton Woods this fall while the remaining four school districts will begin planning for a 2012 opening.

New Tech Network President Lydia Dobyns attended the teacher training for Winton Woods in June.

“We want to acknowledge the commitment demonstrated by the Winton Woods leadership team, including Superintendent Camille Nasbe and the school board. The faculty and principal have completed professional development and training and are ready to teach students starting in September,” said Dobyns.

Winton Woods began working on a vision to establish a school that reflected the community’s diversity. This plan included incorporating global studies, infused technology and a shift away from traditional teaching.

New Tech Network’s teaching philosophy of re-imagining education fits with Winton Woods’ vision. Unlike students in traditional high schools where most teachers lecture and use textbooks as a teaching approach, teachers in New Tech high schools design rigorous, real-world projects tied to state and district standards, customizing them for location, relevancy and the interests of students. The result: a classroom environment where students are deeply engaged in learning and develop important skills such as critical thinking and collaboration.

Camille Nasbe, Superintendent of Winton Woods City Schools said, “This grant will enable us to move forward with a technology infused Academy of Global Studies. This is the culmination in a long journey to establish a school that embraces skills for today’s economy and our global society.”

New Tech Network, founded in Napa, Calif., supports the start-up and implementation of innovative high schools marked by project-based learning in a technology-rich environment. There are now more than 85 New Tech High Schools in 16 states, and plans call for the rapid expansion of New Tech schools over the next five years. KnowledgeWorks, whose work includes incubating innovative high school approaches in the United States, integrated New Tech into its organization in October 2009.

New Tech Network is a school development organization that supports the start-up and implementation of innovative high schools. The New Tech High School Network currently comprises over 85 schools across the country in 16 states. Locations include schools in Arkansas, California, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, North Carolina, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, South Dakota, Texas and Washington. NTN is a subsidiary of KnowledgeWorks.

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