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Plymouth School Board Considers New Tech High School & Project Base Elementary

February 6, 2011
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02/07/11 The 2012-2013 school year at Washington Elementary School and Plymouth High School could look drastically different for some students.

Plymouth School Board members were given presentations on February 3 by Washington Principal Michele Riise on a proposed Washington Discovery Academy and from PHS Principal Jim Condon on a proposed New Tech High.

Riise said the project at Washington would incorporate learning and thinking skills such as critical thinking / problem solving, communication, creativity and innovation, collaboration, information and media literacy, and contextual learning along with life skills of leadership, ethics, accountability, adaptability, personal productivity, people skills, self direction and social responsibility.

Riise said rigorous projects will be carefully planned, managed, and assessed to help students learn key academic content and practice 21st Century skills. The progress of the students involved would be assessed by using the standards based rubrics, teacher feedback, cooperation and collaboration with peers, community partner’s feedback and common assessments.

There would be three sections per grade level with 25 or fewer students per classroom. Riise indicated that the first 25 percent of the student body will be comprised of current Washington students with other openings available for all students within the corporation, including the remaining Washington students.

The enrollment timeline being considered at this point includes the following: School- wide redistricting in August of 2012, enrollment deadline of January 9 through February 13, 2012, stratified lottery February 27, 2012, and a signed parent commitment by June 2, 2010.

Riise said technology will be used as a leaning tool.

Condon said, “The New Tech High will bring 21st Century skills to Marshall County Education.”

The curriculum at the high school level would be team taught with blocked periods with a focus of authentic project based learning. Condon said the curriculum would include world studies, American studies, entrepreneurship/person finance, agribusiness, biology/health, foreign language, biotechnology, algebraic investigations, political studies and chemanalysis.

He said there would be large classrooms for large classes using flexible spaces and flexible furniture.

The graduating class of 2016 would be the first involved with 100 students. He said they would be adding 100 students per subsequent co-horts, thereby totaling 400 students after four year.

Staffing of the new project would mean a minimum of four teachers per year beginning with the class of 2016 and adding a minimum of four teachers per year for four years. There would also be an administrator and consideration for counseling.

Condon said, “This could be a model for schools around the state and the nation to follow.”

The school board will likely vote on the project proposals at the regular board meeting on February 15, according to Superintendent Daniel Tyree.

Carol Anders Correspondent

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