POWER ON TEXAS: "Leap of Faith" Produces a Model School in the Manor ISD





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Published on Nov 24, 2010

http://POWERONTEXAS.COM Manor New Tech High , one of the first schools funded by the T-STEM(Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) Initiative, has more than lived up to expectations.

The innovative institution has earned recognition from the U.S. Department of Education as a model for reaching underserved students. In its very first year of operation, 100 percent of Manor New Tech's seniors graduated and were college bound. Principal Steven Zipkes said this success was built on a new pedagogical approach that he called a "leap of faith."

In 2004, Manor ISD was in a downward spiral with two high schools and one middle school rated low performing. It was time for a bold solution.
We had to quickly address all the concerns at once. We needed to create a different model for people to see.
The job of essentially reinventing high school in Manor was turned over to veteran principal, Steven Zipkes.
I had this opportunity to really create what I wanted, a utopia school.
The distinguishing feature of this utopian school was its exclusive focus on project-based learning.
Project-based learning is a pedagogical shift in delivery of instruction.
No longer is the teacher in front of the classroom pushing information out to the students.
No district in Texas had ever launched a school solely dedicated to this approach.
In fact, some of the teachers hired to staff Manor New Tech High had never even taught before.
Proving that all jump out of the plane together, and we're going to see how this works.
A new pedagogical approach demanded thorough preparation so the district created the Think Forward Institute. It's a four-day long institute in which actual practitioners in the classroom have developed modules to show really six essential elements to project-based learning.
Once teachers completed training and began teaching using projects, the results were dramatic.
Most noticeably the way it transformed the role of the student.
The most transformative thing that I've seen with the technology, with project-based learning, all of it, is just simply the way that it empowers the students.
The responsibility that they take for learning is so firmly on their shoulders.
Engaged in and excited about the opportunity to learn by creating projects that were meaningful to them, students were motivated to excel.
Students who have never passed the state assessment or were always you might say in the wrong place at the wrong time, ISS or suspended, they're coming to school.
They're engaged. They're passing the state assessment, they're passing their classes.
My grades have greatly improved since I've come to New Tech.
It pushes you. It makes you want to work harder.
We took students from here and got them to here.
To find out more about how Manor ISD joined the digital learning revolution, go to http://POWERONTEXAS.COM

The Texas Education Agency

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Copyright © 2010. Texas Education Agency. All Rights Reserved.


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