Frequently Asked Questions

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Where does the name “New Tech” come from?
The first New Tech high school was founded in 1996 in Napa, California, when local business leaders, frustrated by the lack of skilled graduates ready for college or the workplace, came together with the idea of starting a school that would teach the skills necessary to thrive in the new economy. That school was Napa New Technology High School in Napa, California. Napa New Tech’s success is nationally recognized for innovation and excellence in high school education. By traditional measures, New Tech students surpass their state and local peers with high attendance, graduation rates, and test scores. They also emerge ready for college and the careers of the future.

How will the New Tech be different from more traditional models?

  • New Tech embraces three key elements that set us apart from traditional teams/schools.
  • Engaging and rigorous instruction based on Project- and Problem-Based Learning (PBL & PrBL). Our students learn by doing — completing projects and solving problems that are relevant to their lives.
  • Collaborative culture promoting trust, respect, and responsibility. New Tech’s culture empowers students and teachers with exceptional ownership of the learning environment. Our students are given a level of responsibility similar to what they might experience in a professional workplace.
  • Technology fully applied. Smart use of technology supports our innovative approaches to instruction and culture. All classrooms have a 1:1 computing ratio. Networked computers allow our students to become self-directed learners who no longer rely primarily on teachers or textbooks for knowledge.

Will the New Tech the same curriculum as the other teams and schools?
Yes. The schools in the district and state are accountable to uphold the same Iowa Core standards as adopted by the state of Iowa. Students on the New Tech teams and schools will be individually evaluated on the standards as part of each project they complete or problem they solve.

If I am on the New Tech team or at a New Tech elementary, will I still have to take tests and quizzes?
Yes. While most learning in New Tech schools occurs within the context of group collaboration, students are still held accountable for their own understanding of the content taught in each course. Assessment of individual understanding can take many forms, including traditional tests and quizzes.

 Do New Tech students still get homework?
Yes. Whether it be a portion of a project that needs to be completed for an upcoming milestone, a reading assignment, or practice problems, New Tech students do sometimes have to complete work outside of the classroom. 

If someone in my group doesn’t do his or her part of a project, will it hurt my grade?
Possibly, but it shouldn’t. Most projects and problems are assessed using a variety of measures including group evaluation. For this reason, we start all projects and problems with group contracts. These are written agreements between group members that outline how the group will operate, who will be responsible for each task, and what will happen when someone doesn’t do their share of the work. While the goal is always to have every member of a group do his or her part, these contracts allow groups to “fire” reluctant learners. Students who get fired have to complete all work for their project on their own. 

Junior High Teams

Will there be a New Tech team in eighth grade?
Yes. The plan is to implement the New Tech model at a new grade level each year through 12th grade.

 Can New Tech students take electives such as foreign language, band, orchestra, choir, and art?
Yes. The New Tech team students will have the opportunity to take the same elective courses as students on the other junior high teams.

If I don’t like being on the New Tech team once school starts, can I be assigned to another team?
Yes, but only after completing the first semester. We respect that some people may find project- and problem-based learning is not their preferred learning style, but we require that all students spend a full semester working in it before deciding to leave. We require this for three primary reasons:

  1. The beginning of the first semester or year can be stressful for some students. We don’t want anyone to make a rash decision they come to regret later.
  2. Our program is unique in the way courses are integrated and sequenced. While the New Tech team will cover the same content standards as the other junior high teams, it may not do so in the same order. Transferring out of our team mid-year could lead to missing important information.
  3. We believe that there is value in keeping a commitment. Allowing students to leave early would contradict with that belief.

 

Contact Us

Clive Learning Academy
Janelle Green, Director
515-633-5800

Crestview School of Inquiry
John Villotti, Principal
515-633-5700

Indian Hills Junior High
Shane Christensen, Principal
515-633-4700

Stilwell Junior High
Eric Boyle, Principal
515-633-6000

Valley Southwoods Freshman High School
Mitch Kuhnert, Principal
515-633-4500

Have a Question?

Click Here to submit a question about New Tech.