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The New Tech Network (NTN) Model is guided by four Focus Areas. NTN developed the focus areas to align the work of whole school transformation and to help school communities understand the overarching goals that impact the work through all phases of our school development process.

  • College & Career Ready Outcomes: Prepare each student for postsecondary success with the knowledge, skills, and mindsets to be ready for college and career.
  • Supportive & Inclusive Culture: Foster a school-wide culture of belonging, care, community, and growth for adults and students. 
  • Meaningful & Equitable Instruction: Center the instructional approach on authentic, complex thinking, and problem-solving through high-quality, relevant project-based learning (PBL).
  • Purposeful Assessment: Cultivate shared, school-wide understandings of equitable, purposeful assessment and grading practices that inform teacher instruction, emphasize individual student growth, and demonstrate progress towards college and career readiness.

The NTN Model has been implemented in over 200 schools and has reached more than 80,000 students. NTN students consistently outperform non-NTN students on standardized assessments and make significant gains in critical thinking skills. NTN offers one-on-one coaching and consultation, professional development, resource toolkits, and more to schools interested in implementing the model.

  • Academic Knowledge & Skills
  • Cognitive Thinking Skills
  • Relationship Skills
  • Learning Strategies & Habits
  • Project-Based Learning
  • Inquiry-Based Learning
  • 1:1 Coaching & Consulting
  • Professional Development
  • School Visits
  • Cohort Learning Communities

What Makes This Model Innovative?

Relevance
Projects are centered around authentic tasks ensuring that students see a larger purpose for mastering skills and concepts.
Rigorous Learning
PBL requires contextual, creative, and shared learning. Students solve complex tasks that require critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration to answer challenging questions.
Active Self-Direction
By making learning relevant and creating a culture of trust, respect, and responsibility, students are empowered to take ownership over their learning experience and school environment.

Goals

In alignment with Pillar 1 of the NTN model, five “Outcomes that Matter” are prioritized across NTN schools. NTN Outcomes

Knowledge and Thinking

The key knowledge and thinking skills needed to move all students toward college readiness in each core discipline (math, ELA, science, social studies).

Collaboration

The ability to be a productive member of diverse teams through strong interpersonal communication, a commitment to shared success, leadership, and initiative.

Written Communication

The ability to effectively communicate knowledge and thinking through writing.

Oral Communication

The ability to communicate knowledge and thinking orally and engage in clear, thoughtful dialogue through group conversations and presentations.

Agency

The ownership over one’s own learning, using a growth mindset to improve in any area through effort, feedback, and practice.

Experience

Project-Based Learning

NTN schools use PBL and problem-based learning (PrBL) methods to ensure that learning is complex and authentic and to, in turn, help students develop the targeted outcomes. Project-Based Learning Projects center around authentic tasks that are provided before instruction to create a need to learn the relevant standards. Projects are driven by student inquiry, which fosters student engagement and ownership, allowing students to engage in deeper learning. PBL that supports a more equitable learning environment includes using learner-centered practices, adopting a culturally sustaining approach, supporting students’ literacy development, and integrating assessment practices focused on growth into the learning outcomes. 

Projects typically last 3-5 weeks and begin with a Project Roll Out. This is when a new project is introduced with the goal of helping students understand what the problem is, what it means, and what they need to do to solve it. First, students review an Entry Document (or Entry Event), which makes the project authentic and relevant. Next, students make a “Know & Need to Know” list to ensure their comprehension. Then, students write the Driving Question by encapsulating the Entry Document into one question that contains a role, a task, and a reason. This Driving Question drives the rest of the project. Students become empowered to ask more questions because they learn that questions lead to answers. 

While projects are driven by student inquiry, students still have access to support if they need it. Teachers provide scaffolded support based on the premise that students should receive direct support when they need it. Students are provided tools to help them identify their learning needs and can request additional support to help address those needsoften through direct instruction.

PBL requires contextual, creative, and shared learning. Students work together to solve problems and accomplish tasks, not only mastering content in standards but also practicing the skills embodied in the NTN Learning Outcomes.

Supporting Structures

The model requires alignment of principles and practices across the entire school community. For this reason, it requires significant shifts across many school structures, from curriculum and instruction & assessment to adult roles to technology.

In the NTN Model, courses are integrated and co-taught; in addition assessment of transferable skills like collaboration is critical.

Courses at NTN schools are integrated and co-taught to make learning more authentic and relevant. NTN teachers work with their colleagues to develop an integrated curriculum that blends two or more subjects into one course (e.g. ELA 10 and World History combine into World Studies). These integrated subjects are taught collaboratively, with two or more teachers facilitating together in the same classroom. At the elementary level, projects are interdisciplinary and incorporate literacy and/or numeracy. Co-teaching allows for active modeling of collaboration, greater differentiation options for students, and ongoing observational and thought-partner feedback for staff.

Assessment strategies at NTN schools reflect both content mastery and school-wide learning outcomes. The instructional model for NTN schools is designed to help students develop the knowledge and skills represented in all the NTN Learning Outcomes. To fully support that development, authentic assessments of each outcome are embedded throughout the curriculum to enable the evaluation of both collaborative and individual achievement. These capstones or benchmarks often exist in the form of portfolio presentations or defenses, student-led academic conferences, or senior projects.

The school culture must be inclusive and built on trust and meaningful relationships to empower all.

In alignment with the New Tech Network Focus Areas, NTN schools empower students and staff to develop positive, meaningful relationships. These relationships allow for student voice to be heard more than at most schools. NTN students have voice and choice in decisions from day-to-day learning activities to school policies and practices. 

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. Students have ownership over the learning experience and their school environment. Professional and Student Culture

NTN is intentional about creating a culture of trust so that students feel safe and are able to take the risks required in project-based learning. Students regularly and actively collaborate on projects and build positive relationships with peers and staff members. To further maximize collaboration and connection, advisory classes are also common at NTN schools to provide more direct care for school culture development, individual socio-emotional support, and relationship building.

Adult collaboration is critical to enabling the co-teaching, inquiry-driven instruction, and teacher professional learning needed for the New Tech Model.

In project-based learning, teachers are not the gatekeepers of knowledge; they are facilitators guiding students through their inquiry. In addition, the co-teaching structure allows for teachers to collaborate and be more creative in their approaches and project planning. Teaching Approach

NTN schools create opportunities for adult collaboration and learning by creating structures like grade-level teams and common planning time. Staff have dedicated common learning time to meet, plan, collaborate, and discuss curriculum and teaching strategies through Critical Friends or other protocols. 

Staff participate in NTN training events both prior to implementation and on an ongoing basis.

Inviting community members in as experts is critical to make learning authentic and meaningful.

NTN teachers build connections to experts and organizations in their community. PBL and PrBL require students to regularly seek out interactions with adults and community experts to bring greater meaning and authenticity to learning. Not only does student engagement increase, but having an external evaluator of student work also helps place the teacher into the role of guide or coach, allowing students to see them as partners.

NTN requires a technology-rich environment for student-centered, self-directed learning.

Through a technology-rich environment, teachers and students create, communicate, and access information as well as experience student-centered, self-directed learning. 

Digital tools, cultivated and aligned content, and a community of shared learning are integrated to create a powerful platform to support student and adult learning.

  • 1:1 Environment –NTN schools have a 1:1 student to networked computer ratio in all secondary classrooms (optional for K-2 and recommended for 3-6).
  • Echo – NTN schools use Echo™ for project planning and staff learning structures. Echo supports project-based learning and features an innovative gradebook that aligns with the deeper learning skills students are developing.
  • NTN Help and Learning Center – The NTN Help and Learning Center was created to support school leaders and teachers who have partnered with NTN to transform teaching and learning in their schools.

In the NTN Model, courses are integrated and co-taught; in addition assessment of transferable skills like collaboration is critical.

Courses at NTN schools are integrated and co-taught to make learning more authentic and relevant. NTN teachers work with their colleagues to develop an integrated curriculum that blends two or more subjects into one course (e.g. ELA 10 and World History combine into World Studies). These integrated subjects are taught collaboratively, with two or more teachers facilitating together in the same classroom. At the elementary level, projects are interdisciplinary and incorporate literacy and/or numeracy. Co-teaching allows for active modeling of collaboration, greater differentiation options for students, and ongoing observational and thought-partner feedback for staff.

Assessment strategies at NTN schools reflect both content mastery and school-wide learning outcomes. The instructional model for NTN schools is designed to help students develop the knowledge and skills represented in all the NTN Learning Outcomes. To fully support that development, authentic assessments of each outcome are embedded throughout the curriculum to enable the evaluation of both collaborative and individual achievement. These capstones or benchmarks often exist in the form of portfolio presentations or defenses, student-led academic conferences, or senior projects.

The school culture must be inclusive and built on trust and meaningful relationships to empower all.

In alignment with the New Tech Network Focus Areas, NTN schools empower students and staff to develop positive, meaningful relationships. These relationships allow for student voice to be heard more than at most schools. NTN students have voice and choice in decisions from day-to-day learning activities to school policies and practices. 

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. Students have ownership over the learning experience and their school environment. Professional and Student Culture

NTN is intentional about creating a culture of trust so that students feel safe and are able to take the risks required in project-based learning. Students regularly and actively collaborate on projects and build positive relationships with peers and staff members. To further maximize collaboration and connection, advisory classes are also common at NTN schools to provide more direct care for school culture development, individual socio-emotional support, and relationship building.

Adult collaboration is critical to enabling the co-teaching, inquiry-driven instruction, and teacher professional learning needed for the New Tech Model.

In project-based learning, teachers are not the gatekeepers of knowledge; they are facilitators guiding students through their inquiry. In addition, the co-teaching structure allows for teachers to collaborate and be more creative in their approaches and project planning. Teaching Approach

NTN schools create opportunities for adult collaboration and learning by creating structures like grade-level teams and common planning time. Staff have dedicated common learning time to meet, plan, collaborate, and discuss curriculum and teaching strategies through Critical Friends or other protocols. 

Staff participate in NTN training events both prior to implementation and on an ongoing basis.

Inviting community members in as experts is critical to make learning authentic and meaningful.

NTN teachers build connections to experts and organizations in their community. PBL and PrBL require students to regularly seek out interactions with adults and community experts to bring greater meaning and authenticity to learning. Not only does student engagement increase, but having an external evaluator of student work also helps place the teacher into the role of guide or coach, allowing students to see them as partners.

NTN requires a technology-rich environment for student-centered, self-directed learning.

Through a technology-rich environment, teachers and students create, communicate, and access information as well as experience student-centered, self-directed learning. 

Digital tools, cultivated and aligned content, and a community of shared learning are integrated to create a powerful platform to support student and adult learning.

  • 1:1 Environment –NTN schools have a 1:1 student to networked computer ratio in all secondary classrooms (optional for K-2 and recommended for 3-6).
  • Echo – NTN schools use Echo™ for project planning and staff learning structures. Echo supports project-based learning and features an innovative gradebook that aligns with the deeper learning skills students are developing.
  • NTN Help and Learning Center – The NTN Help and Learning Center was created to support school leaders and teachers who have partnered with NTN to transform teaching and learning in their schools.

Supports Offered

New Tech Network offers various resources and supports to help you deepen your understanding of the model and then implement it. These offerings are scaffolded across three phases: Explore, Plan, and Launch.

All schools implementing the NTN Model must agree to meet the NTN Model Commitments to ensure successful school implementation. NTN Model Commitments

NTN Partnership
Cost Associated

NTN works in partnership with the school team, leadership team, and teachers to plan and support the implementation of the model. NTN has successfully partnered with over 200 schools and districts using their unique approach, which is highly structured but personalized to each community’s needs. Schools first explore to learn more about the model and determine if it’s a good fit, then they plan for implementation of the model, and finally, they launch the model in their own community. 

Reach

222
Schools
81500
Students
5000
Teachers
28
States, DC, & Australia

Impact

Numerous studies provide evidence of positive outcomes for students and teachers who participate in the NTN Model. To learn about their findings, data, and research methods in full, check out the following reports: Peer Reviewed Impact Report, 2019 NTN Impact Report, 2020 NTN Impact Report, 2021

NTN students outperform their non-NTN peers in academics and postsecondary readiness.

  • NTN students consistently and significantly outperformed non-NTN students on state exams, external assessments, and the ACT/SAT (New Tech Network, 2019).
  • NTN students are college- and career-ready. NTN high school students had a graduation rate of 95%, compared to the national average of 85%. NTN students persist in college at a rate of 82%, compared to 74% nationally (New Tech Network, 2021). 

NTN project-based learning creates an environment that positively impacts student learning, relationships, and technology use. 

  • NTN students reported an experience of stronger “instructional methods” than non-NTN students on the Youth Truth Survey (New Tech Network, 2019).
  • NTN students report engaging in project-based learning and having technology integrated throughout the curriculum more than non-NTN peers (New Tech Network, 2020).
  • NTN middle school students demonstrated significantly higher engagement (academic, social, and emotional), student agency, academic expectations, and school satisfaction than similar non-NTN students (New Tech Network, 2020).

NTN students gained the academic, interpersonal, and intrapersonal skills necessary for success in postsecondary life and beyond.

  • NTN elementary students grew 42% in critical thinking skills (New Tech Network, 2019).
  • NTN students reported higher levels of interpersonal and intrapersonal competencies (Collaboration, Academic Engagement, Motivation to Learn, and Self-Efficacy) (New Tech Network, 2019).

The NTN Model supports educator shifts to enable authentic student learning environments.

  • The NTN approach supports and sustains adult shifts over time and provides consistent, high-quality virtual and in-person adult learning experiences. New Tech Network, 2020
  • Teacher professional learning experiences enabled authentic student learning environments. Ancess, J. & Kafka, T., 2020
  • NTN educator professional growth challenges the established “rhythm” of schooling and requires reflection on beliefs, values, identity, and mindsets. Barnett, E., Kafka, T., & Kim, J., 2020

NTN’s school model has been vetted and approved by the Texas Education Agency as supporting school improvement.

Contact

Steffany Batik, Ed.D.
Director, District & School Development