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“The Plymouth School of Inquiry”

April 20, 2011

04/21/11 Nearly 100 citizens attended a “Sneak Peak” luncheon to introduce the concept of the New Tech High School inside Plymouth High School sponsored by the Marshall County Economic Development Corporation.   In the crowd were city and county officials, business and industry owners, retired and current teachers, along with administrators and regular citizens who are interested in education in the Plymouth School systems.

There is a steering committee that has been put together and has already begun meeting together to form strategic plans for the Plymouth School of Inquiry.  Members include Greg Gerard of JGL, Joe Hunting of 1st Source Bank, Jennifer Laurent of Marshall County Economic Development, Mark Neidig of ITAMCO, John Oliver from US Granules, Gordon Shank and Sarah Smith parent representatives, Sam Schlosser from Plymouth Foundry, Mayor Mark Senter, Bruce Johnson Plymouth School Technologies Director, Phil Koops PHS Science teacher, Mr. Ken Olson who will be the Director of New Tech High School at Plymouth, Larry Pinkerton and Todd Samuelson School Board members, Roger Smith Assistant Superintendent of Plymouth Schools, and Dan Tyree Superintendent of Plymouth Schools.

The informative luncheon was to help explain the re-imagining of teaching and learning by providing creative and innovative curriculum that promotes deeper learning.  They will use the winning combination of project based learning plus integrated technology with collaborative school culture to equal success.  There will be powerful results with students graduating PHS with college credits through Plymouth University and even the possibility of a Bachelor’s Degree. This would be a partnership with colleges and universities in Indiana including Ancilla, Ivy Tech, Purdue and IUSB.

Administrators explained that education is much different now than it was when kids sat in rows and the teachers stood at the front of the room and lectured.  It was basically memorization and now its problem solving with teachers being guides and students working in teams on authentic problems businesses and industries in Plymouth are experiencing.  Courses would be integrated and would help develop soft skills with students.

Students are not only competing with other students in this state or the United States after graduation but globally with students in China, Japan and more.  Global competition with the job outlook show that the top 10 jobs in 2014 didn’t even exist in 2004.  By the age of 38 the majority of employees will have had an average of 10 to14 different jobs.

Greg Briles from Oregon Davis spoke about their experiences in operating a complete New Tech High School.  He said, “Not only do students work together, they learn to communicate, find new ideas using critical thinking along with fine tuning their oral and written skills.”  He talked about combination classes of animal science and biology for 9th graders and chemistry and food science for 10th graders.

Superintendent Tyree closed by talking about investing in the legacy of education at PHS.  Kids in the classrooms will know that this school was heavily invested in by business and community partners.  There is a need to raise about $500,000 and they already have a kick off donation so they already have a start on it but corporations, foundations, businesses and individuals can sponsor from laboratory for $50,000 on the high end to $100 and $250 on the low end to pave the way to education with bricks. Allowing everyone in the community to have a legacy in the part of the school they want it to be in.