Project-based learning brings together
intellectual inquiry, rigorous real-world standards and student
engagement in relevant and meaningful work. Many schools offer
project-based learning experiences for their students, but Tech
Valley High School is unique because students are thoroughly
immersed in it.
One very exciting aspect is Tech Valley High School's partnerships with leaders from area businesses, technology companies, higher education and organized labor and government. They were involved in shaping the school, continue to be participants and collaborators in the educational program and are helping develop the project-based learning experiences, in cooperation with educators.
Why project-based learning?
The best starting point for learning is with
real, genuine issues of importance to students and communities.
Active, concrete experience, driven by the "need to know," is the
most powerful form of learning. Adolescents learn best when they
encounter intriguing topics and people in real-world situations, and
when they are faced with genuine challenges, choices and
responsibility for their own learning. Thus at the heart of Tech
Valley High School's course of study are real, rich and complex
problems and issues that involve learning 21st century skills—all
wrapped into project-based learning experiences.
How does project-based learning offer academic challenge?
Students are more likely to retain what that
have learned as they have opportunities to work on complex problems
beyond repetition and review. Project-based learning (PBL) offers
students multiple opportunities to apply their learning in new
situations where the answer is not obvious -- where students are
confronted with challenges that have no clear answers, where they
must solve unforeseen problems and meet unpredicted obstacles. PBL
requires teachers to cover fewer topics in greater depth with the
goal of developing a deep understanding of subject matter that
scientists, technology companies and business leaders in Tech Valley
say is needed in our high school graduates. Learning at Tech Valley
High School requires students to master the subject matter necessary
for traditional Regents exams but also requires them to develop the
skills to meet the rigorous requirements of working in a
technology-rich, intellectually complex and personally challenging
Students learn through project-based learning,
which co-mingles various learning disciplines, for example math and
science, history and English, Mandarin Chinese and art. Through
project-based learning, students not only learn what is
required to pass state Regents exams, but also what is required to
do well in the workforces and classrooms of tomorrow.
The real-world projects connect learning to each
student's course of study and require students learn to work
together to complete project -- just as they will someday in the
workplace or in college.
Although Tech Valley High School's academic programs and the day-to-day activities of students differ in many ways from other schools, students at Tech Valley High School will earn a Regents Diploma or an Advanced Regents Diploma, and the curriculum meets all New York State learning standards.
Students can also earn college credits for their work at Tech Valley High.