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District Expands New Tech Model to High School

NTN_Columbus_Stilwell3High school students in the  West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS) will soon be able to attend a
New Tech school, where project-based learning is the primary method of instruction.

On May 9th, the WDMCS Board of Education approved a district committee’s recommendation to expand the New Tech instructional model to ninth grade at Valley Southwoods Freshman High School in 2017-18. The district will expand the model to 10th grade at Valley High School in 2018-19, then to 11th grade in 2019-2020, and to 12th grade in 2020-21.

The New Tech Advisory Committee recommended using a “school-within-a-school” model, which establishes a smaller team of teachers and students within the larger school. For example, a portion of Valley Southwoods students and teachers would be organized around the New Tech model while the rest would remain using the traditional educational model.

This structure allows families to choose the model that best matches their student’s learning style. It also provides students who currently attend a New Tech school to continue with the model. Crestview School of Inquiry and Clive Learning Academy are full New Tech schools in the district and there is one seventh-grade team at each junior high school. Next year, there will also be one eighth-grade New Tech team at each junior high.

The committee agreed that the school-within-a-school model should be reviewed in five years by a representative stakeholder group.

 

Learn More About New Tech

Watch the WDMCS New Tech Video

New Tech FAQs

Submit a Question about New Tech

Topics: Informaline, New Tech, School Board News

New Tech Schools Update School Board on Implementation

If someone asked Indian Hills’ seventh grader Jenna Herting if her team’s switch to the New Tech learning model this year has been a success, she might say yes.

“New Tech really encourages us to work with others and meet new people,” she said during a presentation before the School Board on Monday, Feb. 8. “And… we have the work ethic to continue our work.”

Teachers and students from Indian Hills Junior High, Crestview School of Inquiry, and Clive Learning Academy reflected on the first few months of their implementation of the New Tech learning model and shared projects and instructional processes. Stilwell teachers and students shared information during the Board’s Jan. 25 visit to the junior high.

Teachers and administrators said students have ownership of their learning, and they are able to articulate what they are learning and why.  Several administrators said discipline incidents have gone down and attendance has improved for the New Tech schools or teams. They also said it is still too early to tell if New Tech is the reason for the improvement. Administrators also said a few students have found the model is not the right fit for them and, at the junior high, have moved to teams that provide traditional instruction.

Teachers said they are collaborating more and connecting the Iowa Core standards to projects, which are the basis for student learning.

An advisory team of parents, business leaders, city officials, school board members, teachers, and administrators is meeting to develop a recommendation for implementation of the New Tech model at the high school level in future years.

For more information about WDMCS New Tech schools, visit www.wdmcs.org/academics/new-tech/.

Topics: New Tech, School Board News

Two Schools Have New Names

This year two schools in the West Des Moines Community School District have new names.

The new names reflect their new approach to instruction.

“This year, we have the opportunity to implement project-based learning using New Tech Network as our model and support system,” said Crestview Director John Villotti.

The New Tech Network educational model provides engaging and rigorous instruction through project-based learning in a collaborative culture and fully integrated technology that enable students to gain the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in life, college, and the careers of tomorrow.

“Each staff member had an opportunity to brainstorm new school names, and each had to have the ‘why,’ ” said Clive Learning Academy Director Drea Bocook. referring to the leadership approach of first thinking about why an organization exists, not simply what it does and how it does it.

Students and parent groups also provided input.

The new names were approved by the School Board on July 13, 2015 and each building opened its doors on the first day of school with a brand-new name.

To learn more about each school, visit www.wdmcs.org/district/our-schools. For more information on our New Tech schools, visit www.wdmcs.org/academics/new-tech.

 

Topics: New Tech

New Tech Learner Applications for Junior Highs Now Available!

NTN logoNew Tech is coming to our junior high schools next year and our current sixth graders are invited to join us!

Applications Now Available!

  • Online: The Learner Applications for both Indian Hills and Stilwell are available in a PDF format online. To complete, please download and print either the Indian Hills or Stilwell application, depending on which school your current sixth-grade student will attend next year.

New Tech – Indian Hills Learner Application

New Tech –  Stilwell  Learner Application

  • At Each Elementary School: Printed copies of the Learner Applications are also available at each elementary school in the district starting today.


Submit Your Application

  • Applications will be accepted in person starting at 7:30 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 23 through Thursday, March 12, 2015 at 3 p.m.
  • For Indian Hills Junior High, the first 110 learners to turn in an application will be immediately enrolled. The 111th learner and thereafter will be selected for enrollment through a stratified lottery.
  • For Stilwell Junior High, the first 130 learners to turn in an application will be immediately enrolled. The 131st learner and thereafter will be selected for enrollment through a stratified lottery.
  • Applications will be accepted in person at each junior high. Please submit your completed form in person to Stilwell Junior High, 1601 Vine Street, West Des Moines, or to Indian Hills Junior High, 9401 Indian Hills Drive, Clive, depending on which junior high your student will be attending next year.


Have Questions?

If you have a question about the application or process, please contact either Indian Hills Junior High at 633-4700 or Stilwell Junior High at 633-6000.

If you have a general question about New Tech at the West Des Moines Community Schools, please see the information below or submit your question here.


Information about New Tech

Next year, the West Des Moines Community Schools will be the first district in the state of Iowa to offer New Tech schools, where students learn through real-world projects and students are assigned a personal digital device.

Both Indian Hills and Stilwell junior high schools will offer a “school-within-a-school” model, with one team of seventh-grade students learning in a New Tech environment. Incoming seventh-graders have the opportunity to apply to the New Tech team at their junior high or choose to be assigned to a team using the traditional teaching model.

The New Tech model embraces three key elements.

  • Project-based learning that provides engaging and rigorous instruction.
  • Collaborative culture that promotes trust, respect, and responsibility.
  • Technology fully applied to allow for innovative approaches to instruction.

For information about New Tech at the West Des Moines Community Schools, visit www.wdmcs.org/academics/new-tech/

Topics: New Tech

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District First in Iowa to Offer New Tech Schools

NTN_Columbus_Stilwell1

Staff members from Stilwell Junior High talk with a teacher at Columbus Signature Academy – Central Middle School Campus in Columbus, Indiana.

The West Des Moines Community Schools will be the first district in the state to offer New Tech schools, where students learn through real-world projects and all children are assigned a personal digital device.

Next year, Clive and Crestview elementary schools will become New Tech schools. Both Indian Hills and Stilwell junior high schools will offer a “school-within-a-school” model, with one team of seventh-grade students learning in a New Tech environment. Incoming seventh-graders will have the opportunity to apply to the New Tech team at their junior high or choose to be assigned to a team using the traditional teaching model.

Informational meetings for parents and guardians will be held in the next few weeks:

  • Sixth-grade parent meetings will be held Thursday, Feb. 5, and Thursday, Feb. 19 at 7 p.m. at the Valley Performing Arts Center, 3650 Woodland Avenue, in West Des Moines. The same information will be presented on both dates.
  • A Clive Elementary parent meeting will be held Tuesday, March 10, at Clive, 1600 73rd Street, in Windsor Heights, at 6:30 p.m.; dinner at 5:30 p.m.
  • A Crestview Elementary parent meeting will be held Wednesday, March 11 at Crestview, 8355 Franklin Ave., in Clive at 5:30 p.m.; dinner at 5 p.m.
NTN_Columbus_Stilwell2

Stilwell teachers speak with a student from Columbus Signature Academy Central Middle School Campus in Indiana.

New Tech students will receive the same curriculum as their peers in the district. However, it will be delivered through project-based learning, in which students collaborate on projects that require critical thinking, creativity, and communication to answer challenging questions or solve complex problems.

Students are not only assessed on their understanding of academic content, but also on their ability to successfully apply that content when solving problems.

Project-based learning gives students the opportunity to develop the real-life skills required for success in today’s world. Students often collaborate with local organizations or groups on projects that affect the cities or neighborhoods where students live.

District administration researched the New Tech model for more than a year. Representatives from the city of West Des Moines and local businesses joined administrators, teachers, and parents on visits to other New Tech schools in the Midwest and California. The West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education approved a contract with the New Tech Network on Monday, Jan. 26.

 

New Tech Network Brochure  Folleto

New Tech at WDMCS PowerPoint

New Tech – Junior High Teams FAQ

Sixth Grade Parent/Guardian Meeting

 Clive Parent/Guardian Meeting

Crestview Parent/Guardian Meeting

 

Topics: New Tech

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