Waterloo Elementary School, like all of the District’s elementary schools, implements the District’s consistent curriculum design. What’s unique at Waterloo is the school’s transformation to a “hands-on” Project Based Learning (PBL) environment that began in August 2014.
Since that time, working in partnership with the New Tech Network (NTN), the school has gradually evolved into a whole-school PBL learning environment. Teachers and staff have transformed into facilitators, and work continuously to improve their craft in the interest of best meeting students’ needs. Students are thriving and learning the District’s consistent curriculum design with the PBL focus. They are doing this by becoming hands-on problem solvers, better readers, and ultimately better learners. Students are also learning with an approach where everyday instruction reinforces the school’s culture built on trust, respect, and responsibility. In partnership with the NTN, Waterloo Discovery Academy’s PBL model will continue to evolve in keeping with the District’s core values for continuous improvement. Each year, students will continue to be exposed to learn in new ways, including:
- Collaborate on meaningful projects,
- Develop critical thinking skills,
- Learning to think creatively, and become better communicators,
- Engage in solving challenging questions, and complex problems.
By making learning relevant to students, young learners will see a purpose for mastering required reading skills and content concepts. Students will develop the real-life skills required for success as they advance through grades K-5. Along the way, they will discover options for different pathways available at the middle school level and will be well-equipped to make choices as they plot their course through graduation.
New Tech Network
Founded in Napa, California, in 1996, the New Tech Network (NTN) is a national school development organization that starts and supports innovative Project Based Learning (PBL) schools. NTN works in partnership with schools, districts, and communities to develop innovative schools to promote deeper learning. The New Tech design provides an instructional approach centered on PBL – a culture that empowers students and teachers and helps schools integrate technology into the classroom. A hands-on, multi-year approach gives schools structure and supports to ensure long-term success for students in the 21st Century.
NTN currently has 135 schools in urban, rural, and suburban school Districts in 23 states through the United States and Australia, including elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools. Indiana leads the nation with 32 New Tech schools. In Northeast Indiana, there are six New Tech high schools, and two whole-school New Tech Elementary Schools.