Getting SmartWe think school networks are one of the most important innovations that bring positive change to schools in the modern era of K-12 education. Schools that are part of a network have shown boosted achievement and graduation rates, and networks allow for quality options to scale in communities that need them most.Being part of a network allows a school to use a set of existing design principles, curriculum materials, tools and professional learning opportunities–all of which make it much easier to start a great school or transform an existing one. Networks = bringing quality to scale.But what actual effects does a network have on students and educators? New Tech Network, a school design partner for comprehensive change, works with almost 200 districts, serving 72,000 students to create innovative learning environments. Combining their proven school model, a platform built for PBL and powerful professional development, with a vision for student success, NTN partners with schools to evoke change built to last and ensure ongoing improvement.The model NTN uses is based on their four design pillars:Culture that Empowers. School-wide culture of empowerment for students and adults.Teaching that Engages. Project and problem-based approach to instruction.Technology that Enables. Use of technology for collaboration, access to information, and self-directed learning.Outcomes that Matter. Student outcomes for college, career and civic readiness.Last week, NTN released their 2017 impact report which highlights their work and its impact on schools, and for the first time shares key findings highlighted below.Students outperformed similar non-NTN students on state EOC and college entrance exams.Students outpaced the national average in high school graduation and college persistence.Schools demonstrated higher scores on measures of cognitive, interpersonal and intrapersonal competencies.High-school students show 52% more growth in critical thinking skills.Schools increased opportunities for underrepresented STEM students.Lydia Dobyns, President and CEO of NTN, in an opening letter for the report, said:“Too frequently, public discourse about education is dominated by accusations centered around what is ‘wrong’ and who is to ‘blame’ for public schools failing to meet students’ needs. I’d like to think that the partnerships New Tech Network has built, and those just beginning, serve as proof positive that public district innovation can happen and is happening in every type of community across a majority of states.”The numbers, and the profiles of schools featured in the report speak for themselves and shine a light on the true impact of networks.We’re excited to continue to follow and support NTN’s work and impact across the nation. Stay tuned, in the Spring of 2018 we’ll be releasing a book on the Network Effect, coauthored by Tom Vander Ark and Lydia Dobyns.
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