Project-Based Learning | News

South Carolina District To Open Project-Based Learning High School

A new high school will be opening in Greenville County Schools in August 2014 with a focus on project-based learning. New Tech @ Mann will be an offshoot of J.L. Mann High Academy, a STEM high school in the South Carolina district.

The school is the latest in a national network of schools run by New Tech Network, a nonprofit organization running about 130 schools in 23 states and Australia. That includes two additional schools in South Carolina: Cougar New Tech Entrepreneurial Academy in Walterboro and Scott's Branch High School in Summerton. The latter schools won a $2.9 million, five-year "Investing in Innovation" matching grant from the United States Department of Education to bring New Tech to South Carolina. Both opened in August 2013.

Project based learning brings students together to work on projects that pose challenging questions or solve complex problems and that call on students to practice critical thinking, creativity and communication. The New Tech schools follow a 1-to-1 model and use hybrid or blended learning. Students and educators connect via Echo, a proprietary online learning management system.

The new school in the Greenville district will accept 150 ninth graders and a new freshman class will be added each year until the Academy has students in grades 9-12.

The four-year curriculum will offer advanced placement credit and dual course college credit. Students are also expected to participate in an internship or senior project before they graduate. New Tech schools claim a 97 percent graduation rate.

According to the district, teachers at the new school will receive a total of 600 hours of professional development over the first five years.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.