How it All Began
The city of Napa is best known as California’s most famous wine-making region, but has become famous as the birthplace of an educational revolution. When several local businesspeople and community educational leaders first tossed around the idea of a school in which students would learn the skills necessary to succeed in the new economy, they were not looking to start an educational revolution. They were looking for a way to support better skills for the pool of local employees. Students were looking for a way to come out of school better prepared for jobs in a technologically advanced marketplace. The community as a whole was concerned with getting quality of public education in general. Out of these concerns came inspiration, and New Technology High School was born.
Since opening our doors, New Technology High School has prided itself on creating an learning environment that prepares students for the real-world. At the core of our design lays the foundation for how we transform our student’s education experience:
- Wall-to-wall project and problem-based learning
- Student-centered culture
- 1-to-1 technology access
- Student-centered outcomes
At the core of our work is project-based learning. Instead of what you might have experienced in your education, New Tech High students engage in content through authentic and relevant projects. Whether it being working with a local winery on soil composition, designing an interactive game exhibit for a museum, or creating documentaries about war veterans experiences, project-based learning creates an environment where the question, “why do we need to learn this?” goes away.
Students are engaged in their content through our school-wide learning outcomes. These skills such as oral and written communication, collaboration, agency, and critical thinking are vital to success in any industry. As well our students gain holistic learning experiences through school and community service, completing college credits, and an industry-based internship.
Students learn how to own their own learning and participate in what the school’s founders call “A Community of Trust.” Small teacher to student ratio and personal relationships with instructors create an environment in which students are empowered to be responsible for their own learning. There are no bells telling them when classes begin and end and no hall passes required to go to the bathroom. It’s more like college, or even a workplace, than a high school. In addition, the atmosphere of trust, respect, and responsibility makes students feel comfortable being themselves and creates a unique sense of school ownership and community at New Tech High.
This video from 1997 will give you a little more insight into how and why New Technology High School was created from the ground up: