Frequently Asked QuestionsYes. Students at Niles New Tech and Niles High School play sports together on the same team. The two schools also share clubs and organizations. Over 75% of our learners participated in extra-curricular activities at Niles High School during the 2016-17 school year. We encourage students to take part in these opportunities to build a strong resume for college and career readiness.
Does Niles New Tech cover the same state standards as Niles High School and other high schools in the state of Michigan?Yes. All schools in the district and state are accountable to uphold the same Common Core standards adopted by the state of Michigan. At Niles New Tech, our staff spends considerable time developing relevant projects and problems that align with the Common Core standards. Our students are individually evaluated on their mastery of these standards as part of each project they complete or problem they solve.
If I go to Niles New Tech, will I still have to take tests and quizzes?Yes. While learning in New Tech schools occurs within the context of group collaboration, students are still held accountable for their own understanding of the content taught in each course. Assessment of individual understanding can take many forms, including traditional tests and quizzes.
Do New Tech students still get homework?Yes. Whether it be a portion of a project that needs to be completed for an upcoming milestone, a reading assignment, or practice problems, students at New Tech do oftentimes have to complete work outside of the classroom. We encourage students to stay after school when they can to get help and avoid taking work home. Many successful students take advantage of this opportunity.
If someone in my group doesn’t do his part of a project, will it hurt my grade?While collaboration is an essential part of our model, over 90% of a learner’s grade is based on individual work and mastery of content. Less than 10% is based on a group grade.Possibly, but it shouldn’t. In most projects, approximately 90% of the assessed work is individual assessment of mastery. To support groupwork, we start all projects and problems with group contracts. These are written agreements between group members that outline how the group will operate, who will be responsible for each task, and what will happen when someone doesn’t do their share of the work. While the goal is always to have every member of a group do his or her part, these contracts allow groups to “fire” reluctant learners. Students who get fired have to complete all work for their project on their own.
Do Niles New Tech learners graduate with Niles High School students?Yes. There is a single high school graduation ceremony with a cord designating New Tech learners. New Tech learners also have a ceremony as well called the "Senior Celebration" which acknowledges and celebrates the New Tech specific accomplishments.
Do Niles New Tech students receive a different diploma and transcript?No. As a distinct program, Niles New Tech learners receive Niles High School diploma.
What are integrated courses and how will they appear on my transcript?An integrated course is one course in which two subjects are taught and assessed together by two teachers as one fluid learning experience. Grades for integrated courses are reported separately on learner transcripts. For example, our American Studies course integrates U.S. History and English 9. For this course, a learner’s transcript shows two grades - one for each respective course.
Can New Tech students take courses (like band or choir) at Niles High School?Absolutely. Learners can take courses at Niles High School. We call a course taken outside the New Tech program a “passport” course.
Where does the name “New Tech” come from?The first New Tech high school was founded in 1996 in Napa, CA, when local business leaders, frustrated by the lack of skilled graduates ready for college or the workplace, came together with the idea of starting a school that would teach the skills necessary to thrive in the new economy. That school was Napa New Technology High School in Napa, California. Napa New Tech’s success is nationally recognized for innovation and excellence in high school education. By traditional measures, New Tech students surpass their state and local peers with high attendance, graduation rates and test scores. They also emerge ready for college and the careers of the future. Niles New Tech opened in 2011 by joining the New Tech Network - a consortium of schools working to replicate the success of this school in Napa. Today, there are 86 schools in the network with more schools joining each year.
How is Niles New Tech different from more traditional high schools?
Niles New Tech embraces three key elements that set us apart from traditional schools.
- Engaging and rigorous instruction based on Project– and Problem-Based Learning (PBL & PrBL). Our students learn by doing - completing projects and solving problems that are relevant to their lives.
- Collaborative culture promoting trust, respect, and responsibility. New Tech’s culture empowers students and teachers with exceptional ownership of the learning environment. Our students are given a level of responsibility similar to what they might experience in a professional workplace.
- Technology fully applied. Smart use of technology supports our innovative approaches to instruction and culture. All classrooms have a 1:1 computing ratio. Networked computers allow our students to become self-directed learners who no longer rely primarily on teachers or textbooks for knowledge.
If I don’t like Niles New Tech once school starts, can I transfer back to Niles High School?
Yes, but only after completing the first year. We respect that some people may find project and problem-based learning is not their preferred learning style, but we require that all students spend a full year working in it before deciding to leave. We require this for three primary reasons: 1.) The beginning of the first year can be stressful for some students. We don’t want anyone to make a rash decision they come to regret later. 2.) Our program is unique in the way courses are integrated and sequenced. While our courses cover the same content standards as Niles High School, they may not do so in the same order. Transferring out of our program mid-year could lead to missing important information. 3.) We believe that there is value in keeping a commitment. Allowing students to leave early would contradict with that belief.