New Tech gives project-based learning

August 26th, 2013

News Coverage:

Published: August 26, 2013 3:00 a.m.

Education Notebook

New Tech gives project-based learning

Julie Crothers | The Journal Gazette

It was a busy back-to-school week at Towles New Tech middle school as teams of students scurried to finish their first projects before their presentations.

As Fort Wayne Community School students headed back to school last week, more than 100 of the district’s seventh- and eighth-grade students entered the first STEM classes at Towles New Tech middle school.

Beginning this year, Towles New Tech, 420 E. Paulding Road, will use a project-based learning model that emphasizes science, technology, engineering and mathematics, also known as STEM.

What that means for students is plenty of projects, one-to-one computing and team-building skills, said Tim Captain, the school’s director.

This year, the school has 73 students enrolled in the seventh grade and 49 students enrolled in eighth grade, Captain said.

Next year, he would like to see that number expand to 100 students per grade level.

Towles middle school students, many who come from a Montessori education background, will feed into the New Tech Academy at Wayne High School.

Towles New Tech is the first New Tech middle school in northeast Indiana, officials said.

On Thursday, students scurried around the room, busying themselves as they completed a project called “Digital Citizenship.”

With the help of their peers, students were tasked with drafting a contract about acceptable and unacceptable behavior for the new school year.

Aunzhanay Montgomery, 13, explained that their group had decided to focus on respecting their peers and being responsible.

“We had like five minutes to brainstorm about what was most important for the contract, and this is what we decided,” she said.

Captain said the group’s goals were right on target with the school’s culture of learning, which hinges on trust, respect and responsibility.

“And not just talking it, but living it,” he added.