The New Tech Network: Transforming Schools into Innovative Teaching and Learning Environments

Presenters: Dan Liebert, Tech Valley High School students, and Paul Buck
In this session, presenters will explain the model of teaching and learning employed in the 134 New Tech Network schools and how one—Tech Valley High School (TVHS)—engages students through real-world projects and the use of 1:1 technology. TVHS infuses the engineering design process in all its project-based learning coursework. Projects are designed, taught, and evaluated in collaboration with university and industry partners to expose students to applied science and engineering. TVHS students in attendance will be available to speak about their experiences.

Dan Liebert, Principal, Tech Valley High School, New York
Dan Liebert is the founding and current principal and chief academic officer at Tech Valley High School (TVHS), a regional public high school serving the Capital Region of New York State. TVHS is a STEM-focused high school that is a member of the New Tech Network (NTN) of schools. Tech Valley High School’s approach to STEM education is to connect the core content instruction in all classes to business and higher education resources, in order to give students access to meaningful interactions with adults in STEM fields and to real-world problems. Liebert has led the school in embracing the NTN model of project-based learning (PBL) instruction. He has served on local and statewide panels for STEM education, workforce development, and educational reform. He has also worked closely with the Tech Valley Business Alliance to build connections between schools and local business assets to increase student exposure to workforce opportunities in the emerging technologies in the Capital Region—such as nanotechnology, advanced manufacturing, bioscience, material science, and alternative energy. Prior to leading the creation and implementation of TVHS, Liebert taught high school social studies in private and public schools for 20 years and helped implement school reform models in Albany, New York. He was also a research associate at both the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE). Liebert has an MA from Georgetown University, an MEd from the University of Maryland, and a Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS) from the College of St. Rose.

Paul Buck, Director of New School Development, New Tech Network
As director of new school development at New Tech Network (NTN), Paul Buck’s primary focus is to cultivate and support new schools in the planning and implementation of the New Tech model. He helps schools develop and maintain a professional culture that promotes trust, respect, and responsibility; engage student learners through standards-based project- and problem-based learning; and utilize 1:1 computing technology as a tool for learning. Buck has helped over 25 communities implement a New Tech school, many with a STEM, STEAM (STEM + art), or STEMM (STEM + medicine) theme—examples of such schools are Tech Valley High School in Rensselaer, New York; Drew Charter School in Atlanta, Georgia; and Muskingum Valley New Tech Academy in Zanesville, Ohio (respectively). Several network schools utilize Project Lead the Way—for example, IDEAS in Indianapolis, Indiana—and offer, or are developing, advanced manufacturing pathways—for example, Columbus Signature Academy in Columbus, Indiana. Buck is currently working with Holyoke Public Schools and Project GRAD USA to co-design the first New Tech school in Massachusetts at Dean Technical High School. Prior to joining NTN, he worked for 19 years in public education at the secondary level, serving as a teacher, department chairman, and administrator in central Indiana. As an administrator, he has coordinated the district’s redesign efforts to personalize a traditional, comprehensive high school through the creation of small learning communities. Buck received both his BS in Social Studies Education and his MA in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Indianapolis. He also received his administrator’s license from Indiana University.