s
s
Sections
Sections
Subscribe

[caption id="attachment_13063" align="alignleft" width="180" caption="Monica Martinez"][/caption]

NAPA - The newly merged New Technology Foundation in Napa and Ohio-based KnowledgeWorks intend to replicate the Napa New Tech instructional model in schools across the U.S.

New Tech Network, a newly formed subsidiary of the KnowledgeWorks foundation, intends to carry on and expand the scope of the New Technology Foundation.

The innovative instructional model at Napa New Tech High, which includes a computer for each student and stresses collaboration, critical thinking and technological proficiency, already has been duplicated in 41 New Tech public schools across the country.

"Napa is the prime example of how effective such a program can be," said Monica Martinez, Ph.D., who has been COO of New Technology Foundation for the past year and is the new president of New Tech Network.

New Tech Network will be located in Napa, although its focus has broadened and its goal stepped up to double the number of new schools either formed as or converted to New Tech highs each year. Prior to the merger, New Tech was being implemented in about a dozen schools a year. With the merger with KnowledgeWorks, New Tech hopes to double that number. 

Formed as a fundraising arm of Napa New Tech High and boosted by a $4.9 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the New Technology Foundation moved several years ago to a fee-for-service model, which New Tech Network will continue.

The four-year program, previously costing $400,000, involves one year of planning, training, leader and staff selection and choosing instructional methods, and three years of implementation.

"After that, the schools are able to continue on their own, although they'll remain part of the network," said Dr. Martinez.

"The best part of the model is that we can go into any school environment - urban, suburban, rural or charter - and provide the same service."

Curriculum is based on each state's content standards but is always built around collaborative projects that utilize technology. Traditional academics are also stressed but in a way that engages students and unleashes their imagination. Teachers become coaches.

Schools that decide to adopt the New Tech method are encouraged to offer access to all, regardless of income level or grade point average.

The fee can be paid by the district, federal funds or private donations. Often a large corporation or local foundation will come forward to pay for it, she said.

"Obama's earmarking some of the stimulus funds for technology, facilities and professional development means that states can help some schools adopt the method. As he said, technology in a school is less important than how it allows students to learn," she said.

Success rates at New Tech highs are measured in student retention, number of students passing the exit exam and number entering two- and four-year colleges.

In a survey taken of Napa New Tech graduates in 2005, 89 percent of respondents attended college, and a surprising 40 percent were working in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.

"Nationally, about 7 percent to 10 percent of students go into stem-cell work," said Dr. Martinez.

She hopes in the future the program will be able to utilize the talents of its fellow KnowledgeWorks subsidiary EdWorks. That program led the creation of more than 70 small high schools from large high schools. KnowledgeWorks has set its sights on implementing programs in 500 schools by 2015.

"Those schools are offered a choice of instructional method. Some of them will choose the New Tech model," she said.

As New Tech Network schools proliferate across the country, Napa Tech High will be increasingly in the spotlight. Already Dr. Martinez has shown the school to foundations, corporations, politicians and educators.

"Napa Tech High is our beacon.  The replication of its model is our most important accomplishment."  she said.

The network Web site is www.newtechnetwork.org.