New Tech Network Announces Education Innovation Awards

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Nearly 2,000 Educators Gather to Improve Teaching

CEO Lydia Dobyns and Keynote Tom Vander Ark

"Particularly heartening are the large number of districts here at NTAC who are dedicating themselves to spreading the New Tech school design to all students,” said Vander Ark.

New Tech Network (NTN) presented three education innovation awards at its annual conference (NTAC), held in Orlando, Florida, July 11-14. The awards recognized groundbreaking teacher and student work, entrepreneurial leadership and closing the opportunity gap for underserved students.

More than 1,850 educators representing elementary, middle and high schools nationwide were present for the conference which featured the theme: "Making it Personal ─ Connecting the School and the Student.”

The goal of NTAC is to “provide a venue where educators from around the country learn together, brainstorm and plan new ways to design authentic learning experiences for all students,” said Lydia Dobyns, President and CEO of New Tech Network.

Keynote Speaker at this year's conference was Tom Vander Ark, CEO of Getting Smart, a learning design firm. Vander Ark is the author of numerous books including: Getting Smart, Smart Cities, and Smart Parents. He is also a partner in Learn Capital, an education venture capital firm investing in edtech startups. Previously, he served as the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Vander Ark served as a public school superintendent in Washington State and has extensive private sector experience including serving as a senior executive for a national public retail chain.

"Particularly heartening are the large number of districts here at NTAC who are dedicating themselves to spreading the New Tech school design to all students,” said Vander Ark.

The awards given at the Conference were:

Best in Network Award to Courtney VandeBunte of i3 Academy at Flagler Palm Coast Academy in Palm Coast, Florida, for her submission "Prosthetics for Paws."

VandeBunte, a Science and Art Design teacher, received the award for a student-designed and produced prosthetic leg for a dog.

Susan Schilling Legacy Award to Liz Bryan, founding director of the New Tech Academy at Wayne High School in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Created in 2009 to honor Susan Schilling, former New Technology Foundation CEO, and her contributions to the Network and the broader education field, the Susan Schilling Legacy Award recognizes entrepreneurs in education who demonstrate leadership and contribute to the innovation and sustainability of the Network of nearly 200 schools in the United States and Australia.

Chad P. Wick Award for Social Justice to Cross County High School in Cherry Valley, Arkansas. This award is given to a school that demonstrates success in closing the opportunity gap for underserved students.

Wick, Vice Chair of ACT, and Founder, Director, and President Emeritus, KnowledgeWorks Foundation, has worked tirelessly to see that all students are able to experience educational opportunities that prepare them to succeed in the post-secondary paths of their own choosing.

The New Tech model, first introduced in Napa, California, in 1996 has proven successful across diverse student populations in urban, rural, and suburban public high schools. New Tech is emerging as one of the fastest-growing approaches to transforming high school education in the U.S.

The New Tech Network consists of over 180 schools in the United States and Australia. NTN is a leading design partner for comprehensive school change and while it does not operate schools, all New Tech schools share four design elements:

  • Teaching that Engages ─ Through project-based learning, students become problem-solvers.
  • Outcomes that Matter ─ New Tech Network learning outcomes also measure collaboration, written and oral communication and the development of student responsibility for their own learning, or agency.
  • Culture that Empowers ─ By making learning relevant and creating a collaborative learning culture, students become connected to, engaged with, and challenged by their school, their teachers and their peers.
  • Technology that Enables ─ Through a technology-rich environment, teachers and students create, communicate, access information, and experience self-directed learning.

Who We Are:
New Tech Network, a national non-profit organization, is a leading design partner for comprehensive school change. We work closely with districts and schools to create innovative learning environments. Through a proven school model, a project-based learning platform, and powerful professional development, we coach schools toward lasting change and ongoing improvement.

There are over 180 schools in 29 states and Australia in the New Tech Network. Visit a school today!

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Krista Clark

Krista Clark
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