In August of 2013, ninth-graders in two economically under-resourced rural South Carolina schools became the first in the state to experience the innovative New Tech Network (NTN) project-based learning approach, thanks to a federal Investing in Innovation (i3) grant awarded in 2011 to KnowledgeWorks, the Riley Institute at Furman, and the two school districts.
The project, “Creating a Corridor of Innovation,” implemented the NTN model, which transforms schools through high-quality project-based learning and cultivates a culture of empowerment, discovery, and innovation. The project was evaluated by an external group that conducted a study approved by the U.S. Department of Education over four years. Results were quite promising overall, showing positive effects of the NTN design on EOC math and ELA scores, the likelihood of earning dual credit, and ACT composite and WorkKeys scores.
The project also supported NTN in the expansion of the design across South Carolina, in consultation with the Riley Institute. There are now nine NTN schools or schools-within-a-school in South Carolina: Bells Elementary, Carolina High School, Cougar New Tech Entrepreneurial Academy, Greenville Early College, Heath Careers Academy at Colleton County High School, New Tech at Mann High School, Palmetto New Tech at Colleton County Middle School, Polaris Tech Charter School, and Seahawk New Tech.