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The Scoop


DeKalb Central to become New Tech high school

Statement issued Tuesday:

Fort Wayne, IN – It’s official! In 2012, Northeast Indiana will have six New Tech high schools, the second highest concentration of New Techs in the country after New York City.

DeKalb County Central United School District just announced that they have signed their agreement with the New Tech Network to become the sixth New Tech in the region.

New Tech schools focus on project-based learning (PBL), integrated technology, and the development of 21st century skills like oral and written communication, collaboration, leadership, etc. At the conclusion of four years in a New Tech high school, students will have also been exposed to internship opportunities, have received college credits through dual credit courses, and have completed a digital portfolio demonstrating a culmination of learning outcomes over time.

Parents, community members and business leaders are also involved in the New Tech model and serve in a variety of capacities such as an advisor/mentor for students or as a critical friend providing feedback on a completed project.

DeKalb Central will spend the 2011-12 school year developing the master plan for their New Tech high school including having district leaders from DeKalb Central attend the New Tech Network Planning Summit to initiate the master planning process. In the fall of 2012, DeKalb Central will open their New Tech high school using the “school within a school” model with a goal of 100 students enrolled for the first year.

“This is an opportunity to transform the learning paradigm in DeKalb Central and engage and empower our students in new and exciting ways,” said Dr. Sherry Grate, Superintendent of DeKalb County Central United School District. “We are grateful for the assistance of the Talent Initiative and excited to be a part of their work on a regional level to accelerate education and STEM-focused curriculum.”

The planning for the New Tech in DeKalb will be kick started with a $410,000 grant from the Talent Initiative, a program of the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership in collaboration with Community Partnerships Inc. The Talent Initiative operates on four core strategies, one of which is the development and proliferation of project-based learning in Northeast Indiana. To that end, it has not only provided $2 million of grants for PBL professional development for educators in Northeast Indiana, but it has also contributed seed money to develop six New Tech high schools.

The six New Tech schools in Northeast Indiana include:

  • DeKalb County Central United School District -2012
  • Whitley County’s Eagle Tech (Columbia City) -2011
  • Lakeland’s Leading EDGE (LaGrange) -2010
  • Adams Central Jet Tech (Monroe) -2010
  • Viking New Tech (Huntington) -2010
  • New Tech Academy (Fort Wayne) -2009
“To create a globally competitive economy in Northeast Indiana, we must develop students with strong 21st century skills, and the New Tech model allows us to do just that,” said Leonard Helfrich, Talent Initiative Director. “The New Techs in Northeast Indiana are also unique in their focus on STEM-related curriculum. With the number of STEM careers available in Northeast Indiana, we know we are developing a solid pool of demand-driven talent for our regional businesses.”

The Talent Initiative, established by a $20 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc., is a 10-county regional program focused on accelerating education and training initiatives in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The primary goals of the Talent Initiative are to increase the base of highly skilled workers to meet the needs of the defense/aerospace and advanced manufacturing industries, while increasing job quality and reversing the current decline in regional per capita income. The program receives financial oversight from Community Partnerships, Inc., a supporting organization of the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne and operational oversight from the Northeast Indiana Fund, a supporting organization of the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership.

For more information and to see videos on New Tech high schools in Northeast Indiana, go to

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