On January 29, 1997, a congressional committee held a field hearing
at New Technology High School in Napa, California. The committee was chaired
by Napa's own Congressman, Frank Riggs. The hearing was entitled "Education
at a Crossroads: What Works? What's Wasted?" This web page was prepared
for use in an assignment for the Integrated U. S. History / American Literature
classes at New Tech High, taught by Deborah T. Aufdenspring and Sandra Mings-Lamar.
It is hoped that this web page might also be of use to the press, to the public, and possibly to the committee itself, as an example of the educational uses of technology. New Technology High School is, after all, an institution dedicated to finding out "What Works?" in education, as we enter a new century and a new millenium.
This page was originally put together just before the Committee hearing. After the hearing, Committee testimony and student work was added to it without restructuring the entire page. I apologize in advance for any errors or omissions. - dta
The House of Representatives Committee that will be holding their
field hearing at New Technology High School is the Committee
on Education and the Workforce. The theme of the hearing is "Education
at a Crossroads: What Works? What's Wasted?". The Committee's
membership is composed of 45 Representatives (25 Republicans and 20
Democrats) and is chaired by Representative Bill Goodling, Republican, of
Pennsylvania. Only a few of the Committee's members will be attending the
hearing in Napa. This is normal for field hearings. Other
meetings of the Committee, or its subcommittees, are scheduled on this
topic in other locations.
The Committee on Education and the Workforce was originally established in 1867 as the Committee on Education and Labor. The history of the Committee includes a number of name changes and reorganizations from 1867 to the present. Its current name was the result of a renamimg that took effect on January 7th of this year.
The following members of the Committee are expected to be in attendance at the hearing at New Tech. Basic information about each Representative is available by clicking on the links beneath their pictures. Additional information, if you are participating in the U. S. History / American Literature class assignment, is up to you to find by using the search tools you have bookmarked, or the additional tools presented in the "Assignment" section of this page (below).
[Elements of Testimony], [Congressional
Committees], [Transcripts, etc.]
Below are the written statements presented to the Committee by some
of the people invited to testify.
Dr. David E. Brown, Superintendent, Napa Valley Unified School District:
Honorable Members of the Committee,
On behalf of the staff and students of New Technology High School, I would like to welcome you to an exciting place to be. First, I would like to thank Representative Frank Riggs for his early and continued support. From concept development to the implementation of New Technology High School, his has been a voice supportive of business-education partnerships, of alternative ways to educate our young people, and of creative solutions to the new challenges presented by the mushrooming growth of technology. Staff and students are inventing new ways of schooling, and we all feel very privileged to be on the cutting edge. In some circles, it's fashionable to call what we're doing "experimental", but we don't see it that way. We regard what we are doing as vital to the survival of public education as an American institution. Technology in education is not a fad or an experiment. We have begun our move into the 21st century, but the future of public education depends upon our ability to integrate the classroom and the workplace, individualize and personalize instruction in small school settings, and the use of technology to continue to challenge our young people to prepare themselves for the demands of the 21st century.
Secondary education for the masses appeared on the scene just over a hundred years ago. It was designed for the times the Industrial Age ruled the day and factories needed workers who could meet the demands of industry. At the turn of the 20th century, 85% of our countryís workers were in agriculture, but the changes sparked by the Industrial Revolution were already making their effect felt. Today, fewer than 3% of our workforce is engaged in agriculture.
By 1950, 73% of employees in the United States worked in production or manufacturing. Today, less than 15% of the workforce is engaged in manufacturing jobs.
The United States Department of Labor estimates that by year 2000 - just three short years from now - at least 44% of all workers will be in data services, gathering, processing, retrieving, or analyzing information. In 1991, for the first time ever, companies spent more money on computing and communications equipment than the combined monies spent on industrial, mining, farming, and construction equipment. An estimated 2/3 of American employees work in the service sector, and "knowledge", according to Peter Drucker, is becoming our most important "product." We have seen a revolution in careers - the SCANS report emphasizes that most individuals will have more than three careers, not JOBS, but CAREERS in their lifetimes. In the 1960s, it was predicted that by the end of the 20th century, appliances not even invented yet, would be a part of our everyday lives - the microwave, the PC, VCR, compact discs and players, modems, fax machines - we now take these things for granted and feel deprived if they're not part of our daily lives. Change is one of the constants in the world today, and if we are going to successfully serve our students in the future, we in education must change, too.
At New Technology High School, we are working with full knowledge of the conditions our students will face as they try to compete in the global economy. Accountability is a fact of life - responsibility, power, and authority are being pushed down to the lowest levels in organizations. Businesses are re-forming into self-directed teams, empowered employees, and flexible work groups. Successful employees have to be accountable for results, both as individuals and as members of work groups. Teamwork and collaboration lead to higher levels of thinking and ultimately better, more creative solutions to problems. At New Technology High School we are preparing our students with the skills necessary to compete in this new paradigm.
The vision of New Technology High School is that through cooperation with businesses, parents, and community agencies, we will prepare each student to enter a high technology career and/or a college program. Computer and telecommunications technologies are used in work-like situations. Learning occurs with the assistance of business and community members, at work sites, and by the use of electronic networks.
Curriculum is designed to adapt to changes in employment trends and requirements. Both students and staff engage in continuous training to upgrade their technology skills. Curriculum and student performance standards determine staffing patterns and course schedules, and students must demonstrate mastery of specific performance-based competencies.
Each student is assigned a staff advisor who monitors the student's academic progress, attendance, community internships, and post-secondary planning.
There are two career pathways at New Technology High School. The first pathway provides students with the necessary skills to obtain high-paying, high-skilled employment immediately after high school graduation; the second is the path to post-secondary education, including colleges, universities, and trade/technical schools. Students who have home computers can link with their files, their records, make reports to teachers (via E-mail), and find out what assignments theyíre missing. Parents, on the other hand, can link to the school and access attendance records, grades, homework assignments, student progress, and general school information. All of the foregoing are accessible through Domino, a new Lotus Notes technology which allows access to school records via a Web Browser.
To accomplish the job market career pathway, the school simulates a business environment and wherever possible students are treated as employees. Like a business, our students need and learn software, computer, communication, presentation, and team work skills. The acquisition of these skills provides the foundation for all curriculum development at New Technology High School. To graduate, our students must pass industry standard performance tests for spreadsheet, word processing, database, and presentation software. There are also performance tests on Internet use, keyboarding and the development of a performance portfolio. All students receive practical work experience through the internship graduation requirement.
Class work is integrated, project based, and requires students to work as teams to accomplish and present their finished products. The operation of our school as a business environment has created a cultural shift for the staff at New Technology High School. We have migrated from an authoritarian based model to a more collaborative design. Our teachers are facilitators of knowledge and our students perform the role of worker. We have found when students are empowered to act responsibly, productively, and collaboratively, they excel and achieve at high levels. We have conducted student focus groups and find our students are more engaged, take pride in their school and work, and understand the value of a collaborative, project based educational experience. Discipline problems simply do not exist and student attendance is excellent. I have had parents who normally fight to get their student to school, comment that they can't get them to come home from school now. When our work day ends, usually after 6:00pm, we need to ask anywhere from 15 to 20 students to leave so we can lock-up. What a marvelous change! Our business partners tell us that, with the skills they are learning, our graduates will have access to high paying technical jobs.
All of the skills and training which make our students employable also assist them if they choose the post-secondary education pathway. We believe by creating links during high school to post-secondary education, it allows our students to more easily access this pathway. The link is accomplished by requiring students to take a college class in each of the four semesters they are enrolled at New Technology High School. When our students graduate, they will have completed almost one full semester of college. If students choose to attend Napa Valley College, they will enter with the privileges of a continuing student.
To prepare our students, the curriculum of New Technology High School is based on performance - and those performance levels are set at industry standards. Traditional paper and pencil tests are used infrequently, students demonstrate competency and proficiency in real-world skills. Through collaboration with one another, they are challenged to provide creative solutions to problems they would face in the workplace, using traditional language arts and social studies curricula as the vehicle for those solutions.
New Technology High School is one example of education moving in an extremely positive direction. What you see here today did not happen by accident. This school happened in large part because local business had a need for high tech, high skilled employees. The Napa Valley Unified School District was bold enough to look into the future, search out the possibilities, and act on some sound business advice from local business people like Ted Fujimoto and Buzz Butler. The result is a one-of-a-kind school which the community, state, and whole nation can be proud of. There is much to be learned from our experience. New Technology High Schoolís business relationships, infrastructure, and curricular design can serve as a model nation-wide. The synergistic affect of involving business in every aspect of this school cannot be overlooked. Their counsel to start small, stay focused, and become very good at clearly defined student outcomes is sound advice. We maximize our resources by not duplicating services available at other sites. To provide students with the best possible education, we have deep and detailed relationships with Napa Valley College, Napa County ROP, Adult Education, and local businesses. Business relationships, from implementation to daily operation, have allowed New Technology High School to operate beyond what we could financially afford through Napa Valley Unified School District alone. Our first donor, the Rotary Club of Napa, a group of local business people, committed $50,000 to get our project off the ground. Landmark Consulting Group and their President and CEO, Ted Fujimoto, saw the need four years ago for a high tech school and they have been extremely generous with their time ever since. Napa Net, a local Internet company, provides free Internet access to all of our countyís schools. Alkar Personnel Services, a local temp-to-permanent employment agency, is assisting New Technology High School by helping us operate and supervise our student's internship experience. SiliconGraphics donated their services and helped in the design of this building. Hewlett-Packard, Lotus Development Corporation, the Gasser Foundation, and thirty-eight other business partners made the vision come true through financial and technical support. The banner behind you is true, this is the school that business built.
We have learned from our business partners to treat students and parents like clients. They, along with our business partners, are key members in our educational community. In education we can learn much from our students. Ask students what's working and what's not; they know, and are usually quite open to telling anyone who will listen.
In summary, at New Technology High School we have created a new model for the next century. We are proud to be on the cutting edge and accept the challenge as explorers and pioneers to prepare students with the skills necessary to survive in the global economy. We firmly believe that technology and the skills needed to use it are the future.
We have laid the infrastructure, but in the information age, obsolescence comes rapidly. Equipment and training lasts on average three to five years. As leaders, we must continue to be proactive and to look aggressively to new technologies such as video conferencing and distance learning to continue to serve the needs of students and teachers nationwide. These technologies are critical to fuel our next steps in education reform.
There are many ways that Congress can encourage and support the work of pioneer educators across the country. First, we recommend that you take advantage of what we have learned in establishing this cutting-edge program. As a working laboratory for educators across the country, we can share our experiences to help others from local coalitions to replicate our program.
Second, create a National Web site with distance learning opportunities, high tech schools, infrastructure information, funding sources, technical training opportunities, future technologies relating to education, links to successful educational technology initiatives and schools, etc.
Third, support the development of distance learning services at the state and regional levels. As schools become smaller and more client-centered, diversified and advanced curriculum offerings will be more difficult to provide. Distance learning removes the need for students to attend class physically with other students, and it could make almost all courses available to every student. Such centers will need federal support to become a reality.
Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for your attention and your interest in our school.
LESSON PLAN on CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEES
January 27, 1997 - January 31, 1997
Monday - 1/27
Introduction to Congressional Committee Work
Discussion of issues and brainstorming
Division into research groups
----- How Committees Work
----- Committee members
----- Communication of Issues
Tuesday - 1/28
Protocol and Format
Business Letter Format
Continuing research in groups on 3 areas
The group in each of the 3 areas that does the most professional research work and writing will have their work added to the Congressional Committee Web Page to be distributed.
Wednesday - 1/29
Representatives from each class to observe committee hearings
-----Roles of participants
-----What are the issues
-----Points that speakers make
-----Letter Writing on issues
-----Peer editing & rewriting
Thursday - 1/30
Observers report to class on Committee Hearing.
Revision of letters to the Committee
E-mail letters to the committee
INTRODUCTION TO THE LESSON
One of the advantages of attending New Technology High School is that opportunities, that other schools are less likely to have, drop into the curriculum at various times. This week, NTHS is the site of a Congressional hearing on Education and the Workforce, which presents staff and students a chance to look at the workings of such a committee close up. We will do this in four parts:
1) Research into the purpose and workings of House Committees and Subcommittees
2) Research into the biographies and political positions of the committee members
3) Discussion and analysis of the issues the committee will consider
4) Agreeing on a class position concerning some of the above issues and communicating the position to the committee through e-mail
Introduction to Committee Work
Congress has several types of Committees. Standing committees conduct public hearings in an attempt to get input from the public, and build public awareness of issues. The underlying idea is that such hearings are useful in the creation of legislation.
Committee on Education and the Workforce
Purpose: To find out what is working and what is not working in education today
1) What curricula work?
2) What kinds of parental and community involvement work?
3) What role should the Federal Government play in education?
4) What are specific examples of what works and what does not work at New Technology HS?
5) How is technology being used at NTHS?
6) What is the role of private business at NTHS?
Committee Members (likely to be present):
Representative Peter Hoekstra - Republican, District 2, Michigan
Representative Howard P. McKeon, Republican, District 25, California
Representative George Miller, Democrat, District 7, California
Representative Frank D. Riggs, Republican, District 1, California
Agenda for Hearing at NTHS
Event 1: The Education subcommittee will hear "testimony" from representatives of the State of California, local educators, students, parents, business supporters.
Scheduled to testify formally:
Ms. Marian Bergeson - Sec'ty. of Child Dvpt. And Education, State of CA
Ms. Ruth McKenna - Deputy Supt. For Instructional Services, State of CA
Mr. Jere Jacobs, Asst. VP, Pacific Telesis
Dr. Lois Barber, President, Lou Barber and Associates
Mr. Mark Morrison, Interim Administrator, NTHS
Dr. David Brown, Superintendent, Napa Valley Unified School District
Ms. Ruth Workman, Community Advisory Committee and Parent
Dr. Nancy Todd, Lake County Office of Education
Event 2: Lunch and Speakers on Technology Planning, Survival Economics, Business Partnering
Speakers: Hewlett Packard, IBM/Lotus, Landmark Consulting, Silicon Graphics
Attendees: Various school districts, Napa Chamber of Commerce, business partners, media/press,
other invited and interested parties.
Research into the purpose and workings of House Committees and Subcommittees
What kinds of committees are there?
What is the purpose of this committee?
What legislation is the committee considering that is important to students here?
Research into the biographies and political positions of the committee members
What area does the representative come from - specifically?
Republican or Democrat?
What particular interests does the representative have in education?
-----Look in the VoteSmart Web pages.
-----Follow the links to how the Representative voted on education issues.
Educational and professional background?
Other areas of interest to voters.
Discussion and analysis of the issues the committee will consider
Consider the brainstormed issues from class discussion
Select three or four issues about which students can provide information to the committee
Design a poll about the issues and get answers (Example: What do you think are the two things that are most useful to your education at NTHS? Why?)
Compile the answers into statements that reflect the views of most NTHS students.
Agreeing on a class position concerning some of the above issues and communicating the position to the committee through e-mail will be a whole class exercise. The writing of the letters will be done in groups. The two or three best letters will be chosen to send.
Similarly, several groups will work on each of the three tasks above. The group that does the most professional job will have their work included on the web page with their names. Letters to the Committee will also be on the web page.
This project is worth 100 points. You will be graded in the following areas. Teachers will look at both class activity and finished product to determine your grade.
Willingness to participate in discussions and activities.
Ability to make meaningful contributions to project.
Attention & on-task behavior.
Cooperation with other group members.
Willingness to share group responsibilities.
Willingness to contribute to written work.
End product - letter or report.
Understanding of Internet searches and Electric Library searches.
Ability to synthesize information into a report.
Willingness to participate in reporting research results to whole class.
SEARCH ENGINES AND RESOURCES
You may use our regular search engines, which you should have bookmarked. However, for this assignment we recommend the following:
Thomas - A site sponsored by Congress for finding Congressional information.
GovBot - A search engine for finding government web sites.
Goldmine Search - The search engine that covers all web material on the California Department of Education web site.
Alta Vista - An old standby, you probably have it bookmarked. Congressional information managers say it is best at finding committee and lobbying information. Queries need to be specific.
The Electric Library is a particularly good source for the kind of information you will need. Log on from your computer.
In addition, the encyclopedias on CD-ROM have good entries on Congressional Committees, etc.
To make it easy to use the Congressional links already cited in the descriptions above, you can go back up the page by clicking on the relevant internal page link here: [The Committee], [The Hearing]. You can also use the "Find" button at the top of your browser to find specific words on this page.
Definitions of Issues:
Federal Government - Government of a union of states in which sovereignty is divided between a central authority and component state authorities. The central government most often handles the concerns of the people as a whole, while the local governments retain other powers.
In recent years there has been a call for federal curriculum standards at the high school level. This is in opposition to a long tradition of local input standards with input from states.
Curriculum - All the courses of study offered by an educational institution.
The issue of improving California's educational curriculum has become well known due to TV advertising and other forms of media.
Business Partners - A partner in business. One who provides money and/or material for a service or for payment.
The role of business partnerships in schools is controversial in terms of what input the businesses should have in curriculum and what give and take occurs between schools and their partners.
Technology - The scientific method and material used to achieve a commercial or industrial objective.
In schools, it is usually agreed that students need to learn current technology. How to provide access to which technologies is more often debated.
The issues mentioned above are some of the most controversial issues at the Technology High School. Our group conducted a survey on these issues. The results are below. We asked a class room of forty-two students at the Tech High five questions. Here are the questions:
1. Do you think the Federal Government should have a say in what you learn at school?
2. What do you think of the curriculum at the Technology High School?
3. Do you like the current role of our private business partners?
4. Are you satisfied with what your learning at the Tech High?
5. Do you think technology helps the learning process?
When we got the results of our survey we tried to break up the information into a yes and no answer polling system. Some of the information is approximate.
When we asked the students our first question, we got basically the same answer from each student. The students believe that the Federal Government should not have any say in what students learn at school. The students at the Tech High believe that the local School Board and the community should be in charge of what children learn at school. However a lot of students think that the Government should set general guidelines for what and how students learn at school. Thirty-five percent of the class said yes to question one. Sixty-five percent said no.
The students had a lot to say when we asked them the second question. Thirty-five (83%) of the forty-two students loved what they were learning at the Tech High. The other seven (17%) did not like it or they thought that it could be improved. In fact all of the students thought the curriculum could be improved, but they still thought they were learning "cool stuff". Some of the "stuff" students are learning are Adobe Photo Shop, Macromedia Director, Extreme 3D, South- Western Keyboarding, and a variety of Microsoft programs.
We had a hard time getting answers for question three because the students at the Tech High did not know the role of their business partners. The majority of the students did not know who the business partners were. For those who did know the role of the business partners, they asked for more face to face involvement at school and/or business sites.
Although the students did not know much about the business partners, they were not afraid to tell us what they thought should be offered. Most students felt the partners should open opportunities for internships because it would give them work experience and teach them more about computer related jobs.
The students at the Tech High also thought the business partners should have no say in what they learn at school. They believe the businesses should be like guardians. There is one thing we all agree on. We think all schools should have private business partners. It makes the businesses look good and the school has a cushion to fall on when the government makes cuts in educational funding.
When asked to relate how they felt with the use of technology in education, students were split both ways. Many thought technology improves communication between peers and faculty, improved the appearance and quality of assignments, and allowed for greater comprehension of projects and ease of overall learning. The down side of the technology included the quirks that sometimes result from a malfunctioning server, slowing down the working process.
Although there are downsides to using technology at school, the students at the Tech High seem to like using technology. Seventy Three (73%) of the students said yes, they do think that technology aids the learning process. Seventeen percent (17%) disagreed, and ten percent (10 %) said technology sometimes helps.
Survey 2. Commodore St Germain, Diane Cruz, Andrea Ruybal, Shauna Wilburn
On January 29, 1997 the Congressional Committee on Education and the
Workforce met at New Technology High School to discuss the education of
the past, present, and the future. They discussed what was going well and
what was not. The committee wanted to know from the students at New Technology
High School how they felt about the school and about groups involved in
the students' education. We put together a few questions and asked students
to respond. The following are our survey questions and replies.
How do you feel about the technology at our school ?
"I think that the technology here at our school is great. We have access to a lot of programs that we can use. We have programs that are up to date, not old."
"Right now it is better than 90% of the technology in businesses. I am concerned about keeping up the quality of technology."
"The technology at our school is important to the whole structure of our school. It's what makes our school different and unique."
"I think that the technology we have available to us here is top of the line, state of the art -- best."
"I feel that the technology at our school is the best. It's even better than some businesses."
"I think the technology is good. It makes school seem easier, and it also prepares us to deal with technology."
"I think it's good that we have the latest technology but we're going to have to constantly update it."
Students generally feel that the technology at our school is what makes it stand out from all other schools, and the technology that we have available is even better than most businesses. Some even feel that it helps them through school, making it seem easier. The biggest problem that we are faced with, though, is updating the equipment and raising money to do so.
Do you feel that students should have a say in the curriculum?
"I think that the students should not have a say about the curriculum because the teachers know what we have to learn."
"On electives, maybe students should have some input."
"I think that the students should have a large say in the curriculum because we will be the ones taking the classes and we are the ones who will pass or fail."
"Yes, definitely [students should have a say]."
"Yes, I feel that we should have say in our curriculum because we are the ones that are going to have to put that knowledge into the world."
"I think we should be able to at least have our, (student), opinions taken into consideration."
Students are pretty evenly divided between those who want a say in the curriculum, and those who don't. The ones who do, would like a say in what we are learning because we will be the ones who have to apply it in the real world. A good idea mentioned is that students should have some say in the electives that will be available. Those who do not want a say, believe it should be left up to the teachers to decide. After all, teachers know what we will need to know in order to make it in the "real world".
Do you like our curriculum?
"Yes, except math shouldn't be taught to high school students at a college level."
"I think the curriculum in our school is beneficial and important in our careers that we may be pursuing. The things we are learning here we can take with us forever and use the skills in just about anything we do in the future."
"I think that the subjects tie together well, but we need improvement on how things are done. I would suggest a more hands on approach."
"The most beneficial class in New Tech High is Computer Applications.
I think that all our classes are important."
"Our curriculum is much more complex, demanding, and also unique."
"Yes, because we are being taught in a different style, it is more group based."
"Yes, because it's not the regular high school curriculum. It's a lot different; we will have more technological experience."
"Yes, except for requiring students to create portfolios. What if I only do a whole bunch of O.K. papers, nothing really spectacular? I wouldn't want that following me around."
The majority of the students that were asked this question said that they liked New Technology High's curriculum. The only part of it that they opposed was the portfolios that are due at the end of the year. The reason they opposed the portfolios is because they felt that they might not have the quality of work to put in it that is required. Otherwise, students feel that the curriculum at New Technology High is unique, sometimes demanding and more interactive with other students.
What input do you feel the federal government should have in our education?
"The federal government should establish basic requirements nationwide."
"I think the government should just send us the money and the local community decide the details."
"I feel the Government should give us national guidelines for what each student should learn so we are all able to get the same amount of education."
"The Government should not try to solve every local education problem, but should set overall guidelines."
"I think students, teachers, and parents should have an equal amount of input into educational standards."
The majority of the students that were asked this question said that the government should have a say in our curriculum and students should be able to as well.
How do feel about our business partners?
"I am excited about what they can do for us, but money shouldn't buy input into the curriculum."
"Our business partners are very important and should have a say in what our curriculum will consist of. I think this is important because these businesses are taking the time out for us as students and they are showing interest in our education and our futures. They are part of the community that is molding and influencing us."
"I think that they're perfect, giving us money and staying out of the way. They could help us by creating internships."
"I feel that our business partners should try to interact more with the students."
"What business partners?????"
The majority of the students who were asked this question felt that our business partners have supported us well. Without the time that they have taken out of their schedule our school wouldnít be the way that it is today. Two of the students felt that our business partners should try and interact more with the students.
Do you feel that business partners support us enough?
"I think that the business partners do help a lot but not enough. They should help our school be able to go to field trips and other places."
"Yes, they do all right but they could give us more money for our school trips.
I wouldn't know."
"We need to hang out with them; they should chill with us."
It is felt here that our partners support is well, but students wish that they would grant us a little more money so that we are able to do some educational field trips. It is also felt that they should spend more time with us.
As you have seen, the students at New Technology High School have found advantages and disadvantages of going to this school. This survey expresses the diverse opinions of a part of the teaching and student body. We were pleased to have the Committee on Education and the Work force at New Technology High School and pleased to have the chance to submit this information.
LETTERS TO THE COMMITTEE:
Letter 1. Jessica Brooks, Jillian Branicki, Giancarlo Umali
Representative Frank Riggs
Committee on Economic and Educational Opportunities
U.S. House of Representative
2181 Rayburn house Office Building
Washington, DC 20515-6100
Dear Representative Frank Riggs:
New Technology High School (NTHS) is a public school that has recently opened and features a project based curriculum on the latest high tech computer equipment. Here at NTHS we each have computers on our desks and have access to several different programs. We learn from and research ideas on the Internet, Miscrosoft Encarta, Electric Library, and many other programs. Having programs like this at our school, sparks more interest to learn and makes it more interesting for most of us at NTHS. Not having to limit ourselves to just book resources, expands our minds and opens up doors to many new opportunities.
Most of the students at this school can say that having computers to do their researching has made learning much easier. You must first learn to use the Internet, search engines, and other such programs before you can start benefiting from the computer. Once you have learned to use these programs, you are much further ahead in your education than many other students in this world. If you are not able to find what you are looking for in one program, you have many others available all within reach. The keyboard and mouse can get you almost anywhere you need to go when researching an idea or subject, especially on the Internet.
Project based learning is more beneficial because it requires putting what you have learned into a project rather than cramming information into your short term memory for a test, later forgetting the material. You not only learn more from this system, but become more eager to learn because of the reduction of stress put into cramming.
When asking students what was the most beneficial asset to their education provided at this school, many answered the learning environment. Having such a small number of students and staff, increases the incentive to learn and helps students focus more on their work. When in an environment so small, you are kept a close eye on, and often feel compelled to work.
The teachers at this school take their jobs seriously and have the resources available to them that can help their students learn. They will not accept failure and always push us to reach our full potential. Teachers seem more concerned with our getting something from doing an assignment than just passing tests. Each teacher is also a student advisor, meaning they help us with school related problems as well as personal problems. When something is wrong or are grades start to slip, a teacher is there to take note of the problem and offer their help. Here at NTHS, we are more like a family than a school.
A school containing all of these characteristics has no other option but to succeed. With the environment, teachers, and tools, a higher percentage of students is more likely to achieve higher and learn more than at a traditional high school. Technology has offered us a once in a lifetime experience that may soon be the everyday activity of the future. We are hoping that many other students will get the chance to learn in an environment such as this. We believe that the future of country could greatly benefit from educating our youth in schools such as our own.
Letter 2. William Cupples, Denise Barylski, Joseph J. Coughlin
Representative Frank Riggs
Committee on Economic and Educational Opportunities
U.S. House of Representative
2181 Rayburn house Office Building
Dear Representative Riggs:
First we would like to state how excited we were to have your committee choose our school as the starting point of your Congressional Tour. We'd like to talk to you about the benefits of technology in education, specifically the use of research tools and school wide communication. The most widely used reference tool at the New Tech High is the Internet. We use it to access libraries from our computers as well as private sites filled with information.
The Internet allows us to obtain outside opinions and facts when doing research papers and projects. The best example of how we used the Internet on an important project was using it to research your committee and how it worked. Many of us had no real knowledge about your committee, but by using the Internet we all received a good, in depth explanation which we couldn't have obtained from any text book Most schools donít have these benefits, which we have already started to take for granted. We have gotten very used to being able to access loads of information in a short time.
Another piece of technology that we have come to use every day is E-mail.
E-mail allows us to communicate with each other and also let's us talk to the teachers without having a formal meeting. If we have questions after class we can send them to the instructor and get a response relatively quickly. Teachers can also E-mail assignments to students so that we always have a copy that can't be lost. This helps keep all students on task and makes sure that everything is clearly outlined. Bulletins can be put on e-mail and mailed to the entire student body all at once so that you can get immediate feedback.
Without these tools, school was a lot harder and more complicated, but with this technology everything has become more simplified. We are one of the only schools in the country with these opportunities, and we shouldn't be the only school with these tools. Others should have the same benefits that we do, and should also be able to prepare for their futures. We think all schools should have the same computer integration that we do and should be run just like our school. Again we would like to thank you for your attendance and your time.
William Cupples Denise Barylski Joseph J. Coughlin
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