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Project-Based Learning

Students work in a hands-on project

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 world.

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.

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