KnowledgeWorks, New Tech Network and Riley Institute Set to Begin Conversion of Schools Along South Carolina's I-95 Corridor to Science, Technology, Math and Engineering

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Clarendon School District One and Colleton County School Districts to reap benefits of $2.9 million Investing in Innovation grants to implement state’s first New Tech Network STEM high schools in region linked to historic desegregation case

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Richard W. Riley, KnowledgeWorks

Former South Carolina Governor and former U.S. Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley, community education leaders, officials from the Riley Institute at Furman, New Tech Network and KnowledgeWorks will hold two community events on March 13 to mark the implementation of the New Tech approach at Scott's Branch High School in Summerton and Colleton County High School in Walterboro.

Attendees include district and school personnel, parents and community members, elected officials, Secretary Riley, New Tech Network President Lydia Dobyns, Riley Institute Executive Director Don Gordon and KnowledgeWorks President and CEO Brian Ross.

In addition, students representing grades 9-12 will be on hand from Anson New Technology High School in North Carolina. The students and a certified teacher in the approach will be available for interviews and questions throughout the tour.

The first event will be held at 10 a.m. at the Cultural Arts Center, Clarendon School District One, 12 South Church Street, Summerton, SC 29148. The second event will be held at 2 p.m. at Colleton County High School, 150 Cougar Nation Drive, Walterboro, SC 2948. Both schools are located along the I-95 corridor in a region that helped reshape education through Briggs vs. Elliott, one of the cases consolidated by the Supreme Court into Brown vs. Board of Education.

The events come on the heels of a $2.9 million "Investing in Innovation" grant awarded to KnowledgeWorks in December by the U.S. Department of Education. The grant will be used to transform the schools with the help of the Riley Institute and the Evaluation Center at the University of West Georgia.

When the grant was announced, education officials called the promise of New Tech in South Carolina a "game changer" for the community because kids will get the opportunity to develop 21st-century skills such as collaboration, problem-solving and critical thinking that are needed to succeed in the future.

Partnerships with South Carolina business leaders, civic leaders and education leaders have helped pave the way for the creation of 21st-century learning opportunities in the form of two New Tech STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) high schools.

The schools will join the New Tech Network during the 2013-2014 school year. New Tech Network is a non-profit organization that helps student’s nation-wide gain the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in life, college, and the careers of tomorrow.

New Tech schools are characterized by a positive school culture that empowers students and teachers, an engaging project-based curriculum, and the integrated use of technology to facilitate relevant, teaching and learning. Plans call for these two schools to become NTN training centers for future development of additional New Tech schools across the state of South Carolina.

Governor Riley said the hope is that New Tech schools can help the I-95 Corridor become a "corridor of innovation" and have a dramatic impact on the state, helping to prepare today's young learners to tackle tomorrow's challenges.

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