This past year, New Tech Network introduced the Power of Us Awards as a way to stimulate more cross-school interaction and collaborative learning and work across the Network. Our hope was to curate, refine, and share compelling examples of cross-school collaboration to increase the level of connection between members of the Network. The collaboration could be work between schools or between individuals from differing schools.The 2019 award recipients have been working all spring semester to complete their accepted topic or project and are excited to share their work! You can find detailed descriptions of the topics or projects at the bottom of this post.If you’re attending NTAC 2019, we’re planning on highlighting the recipients in a few ways:Each recipient team will display a poster onsite with detailed information about their topic or project. Additionally, some of the teams will be holding sessions onsite to discuss and answer questions about their experience. The teams will also be hosting a panel session, Let’s Get Together – Creating Inter-School Collaborations from the Ground Up. In this session, the Power of Us Award recipients will discuss the highs and lows of inter-school and inter-district collaboration. Attendees will leave with valuable tips from those who have recently embarked on a semester-long project with another school in another district, as well as some possible connections for their own future collaborations. This session will focus on talking through what to expect when you start collaborating with those outside of your school, and will give attendees the opportunity to connect with others around topics that they care about.We will reopen the interest form for the next round of recipients in Fall 2019. Check your emails and our social accounts for updates in the Fall! Read below for detailed descriptions of the recipients’ topics: Getting Real: Using Authentic Tasks in the World Language ClassroomTyler Schlup and Kinnereth WinegarnerOur team will present tips, a “Yes Test” for authenticity in interactions in the target language, as well as a complete an example project to demonstrate authentic tasks, even in places where there are no native speakers for the Target Language. We will also highlight other authentic tasks that can be used to build a project for various levels so that teachers can walk away with something to help them plan their next project. Sioux Falls New Tech & The Community SchoolSioux Falls New Tech High School has been intrigued by The Community School’s advisory model since we collaborated with them in Phase 3 at NTAC 2018. We are considering revamping our own advisory model in order to build stronger teacher-student relationships and keep seniors more connected as they travel outside of the building to take postsecondary, career, and technical education classes. We observed the scheduling logistics and day-to-day of The Community School’s grade-level advisories, as both schools have similar demographics and challenges. We are hoping this project develops into best practices recommendations for advisories throughout the Network. As such, we are also open to studying other advisory models from other schools. Air on the Side of CautionSusan Sobehrad, Peter Locher, and Benjamin PlantsStudents explored the impacts of air quality issues in a project designed to help students realize the inequities in demographics such as education, housing, and income may also correlate to negative environmental concerns. Students created infographics and podcasts to share what they learned, and designed indoor hydroponics systems in an effort to address indoor air quality problems. By sharing project work and creating opportunities for learners from different parts of the country to connect with one another, learners could see that humans are more alike than different, and face the same challenges. Of Ice and MenJason Cox, Susan Sobehrad, Donna GrayThree schools are collaborating to explore the impact of climate change on local communities in three parts of the county – Texas, Southern Indiana, and Michigan. We are looking for similarities and differences, and sharing ideas about how to ameliorate those impacts. Students polled their communities, and hosted virtual symposiums to gather information, and then shared their information with one another across the country. Final community events and a cross-district scrapbook made it possible for the students to share their findings and suggestions with the broader community. Supporting Special Education StudentsDanielle Hemmid and Anna OreskoWe believe that New Tech schools are supremely equipped to provide special education students with an enhanced learning experience due to their roots in collaboration and inquiry-based process. We are working to identify productive strategies, supports, and activities that best support and engage learners with disabilities, with the greatest focus placed on students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. We intend to develop and share a log of actionable next steps.
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