Carnegie Corporation Awards $2 Million Grant to New Tech Network to Expand Capacity To Implement Innovative High School Model

Napa, Calif., February 23, 2010 — The Carnegie Corporation of New York has awarded a $2 million grant to the New Tech Network, a subsidiary of KnowledgeWorks, to help the high school development organization expand its capacity to serve the increasing number of schools implementing the New Tech approach.

The grant is part of the foundation’s effort to support innovative approaches to learning by funding effective school and system designs. The program is interested in organizations with educational strategies that are helping students perform with high levels of creative, scientific and technical knowledge and skills needed to compete in a global economy.

New Tech, based in Napa, Calif., supports the start-up and implementation of innovative high schools marked by project-based learning in a technology-rich environment. There are now 40 New Tech High Schools in nine states, and plans call for the rapid expansion of New Tech schools over the next five years. KnowledgeWorks, which develops and implements effective approaches to high school education in the United States, integrated New Tech into its organization in October 2009.

New Tech’s President, high school expert Monica Martinez, said she is honored by the Carnegie award, noting the prestigious organization’s track-record of working to improve education.

“Carnegie has a history of supporting systemic change in secondary education. It is wonderful to see them apply this perspective to support innovation in education,” Martinez said. “We are deeply grateful to Carnegie for investing in the New Tech approach, because we believe the funding will enable us to develop the organizational capacity to support a larger network of schools that re-imagine teaching and learning. The gift will also help us achieve our vision of building a resilient network of teachers and learners who are ready to create a vibrant economic and social future for America.”

Chad Wick, CEO of KnowledgeWorks, said he is pleased that Carnegie, through its donation, affirms New Tech as one of the most important high school models in the United States.

“For nearly a century, Carnegie has supported forward-thinking approaches in the education and social arenas, and we are pleased that Carnegie has seen the value in New Tech’s learner-centered model which is creating dynamic and relevant learning environments and preparing students with skills that will drive the new economy,” Wick said.

Unlike students in traditional high schools where most teachers lecture and use textbooks as a teaching approach, teachers in New Tech high schools design rigorous, real-world projects tied to state and district standards, customizing them to their location and the interests of students. The result: a classroom environment where students are deeply engaged in learning and develop important skills such as critical thinking and collaboration.

The New Tech approach also incorporates key parts of KnowledgeWorks’ 2010 “Map of Future Forces” and 2020 Forecast, which assess and identify the key forces of change that will shape learning over the next decade. KnowledgeWorks was initially attracted to the New Tech approach because it reflected multiple trends in the 2010 Map and the 2020 Forecast.

Michele Cahill, Carnegie’s Vice-President, National Programs and Program Director, Urban Education, said that support for new designs for schools and systems is a core goal of the foundation’s work to create pathways to educational and economic opportunities. “By integrating technology and instruction, and using project-based learning, the New Tech model equips students with the know-how—including math and science skills—to enter and succeed in today’s economy.”

Former U.S. Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley, Carnegie’s Vice Chairman of the Board, said he believes the New Tech approach will continue to have a positive impact on an education system that is continuing to evolve.

“The fact that students in New Tech classrooms collaborate on projects in an environment that greatly mimics what goes on in business and other organizations is important,” Riley said. “These students have a greater appreciation of the value of teamwork and the role of critical analysis in the process of solving problems. These are skills that will serve them well in the future.”

About New Tech Network: New Tech Network is a school development organization that supports the start-up and implementation of innovative high schools. New Tech Network currently comprises more than 40 schools across the county, including schools in Indiana, North Carolina, New York, Oregon, Colorado, Texas, California and Louisiana. It is a subsidiary of KnowledgeWorks Foundation.

About KnowledgeWorks: KnowledgeWorks Foundation strives to be the leader in developing and implementing innovative and effective approaches to high school education in the United States. The organization primarily focuses on redesigning urban high schools, developing STEM and Early College high schools, and supporting student-centered approaches to delivering real learning and results in our schools.

About the Carnegie Corporation of New York: Carnegie Corporation of New York is a philanthropic foundation created by Andrew Carnegie in 1911 to do “real and permanent good in this world.” In education, the Corporation works to create pathways to opportunity for many more students by promoting systemic change and innovation in secondary and higher education.