District First in Iowa to Offer New Tech Schools
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.
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.