New Tech at middle schools, Austin, BowieThis fall, the EPISD will expand its New Tech program to two middle schools and to Austin and Bowie high schools.Irvin and Franklin high schools were the first in El Paso to offer the New Tech model to freshmen last fall. Irvin has 99 students enrolled, while Franklin has 127.Those programs will expand to 10th grade in August, but the EPISD also is launching New Tech at Austin and Bowie, with spots for about 125 freshmen each.New Tech emphasizes technology and project-based learning – or applying knowledge to solve real-world problems. For example, New Tech students at Irvin learned about disasters last fall by imagining their own natural and man-made disasters and their impact on El Paso, rather than simply memorizing events and their effects.New Tech students at Irvin also take classes that combine traditionally separate subjects, like a health/biology class and an English/geography class.At Austin, the New Tech model will be incorporated into the Sandra Day O’Connor Criminal Justice and Public Service Magnet. Integrating project-based learning will let students “dig deeper” into the impact of public leaders throughout history, Blaine said.Bowie’s Oso New Tech program will meld the curriculum with project-based learning, culture and the arts, building on the school’s rich history of murals, mariachi and more, EPISD spokesman Gustavo Reveles said. It will be separate from Bowie’s business magnet.Also this fall, the EPISD is adding the New Tech program to Brown Middle School, which feeds into Franklin, and to Canyon Hills Middle School, which feeds into Irvin.The schools will start with about 125 sixth-graders each this fall, then add seventh and eighth grade in the coming years, Blaine said.Brown’s New Tech Leadership Academy will emphasize students’ roles as leaders in their schools and communities, Blaine said. Canyon Hill’s Cobra Tech Academy will focus on communication.Next year, the EPISD will add New Tech at Guillen Middle School, which feeds into Bowie, and a middle school that feeds into Austin, Blaine said.Renovations are being done at the four new New Tech schools this summer, including knocking down walls to make larger classrooms for combination courses, which have two teachers and double the standard number of students.Applications are currently being accepted for the four future New Tech schools. Visit their websites for additional information.
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