New school, innovative curriculum meant to raise Clarksville - WDRB 41 Louisville News

New school, innovative curriculum meant to raise Clarksville students' test scores

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CLARKSVILLE, IND. (WDRB) -- Can a brand new school and innovative curriculum really raise test scores in Clarksville?  School leaders seem to think so and now they're putting your tax dollars behind it. 

Clarksville Community Schools just passed plans for New Tech, a new curriculum, and a new high school.  Clarksville Community School Corporation Superintendent Kim Knott explains, "It's a project-based learning technology-driven environment where students create the learning experience and teachers are facilitators of that using the World Wide Web."

In a New Tech school, there are no classroom walls.  Subjects such as chemistry and algebra are taught in group clusters, with students solving real-world situations.

Teacher Jane Bartsch says that's, "So they can see an actual purpose.  It brings relevance into the classroom."

The California-based curriculum came about as businesses said too many students were graduating unprepared.  It's said to bring better test scores, get more students into college, or prepare them for good jobs right out of high school.

Clarksville leaders say they can fund the estimated $2-5 million project without a tax increase.  Bill Wilson, President of the Clark Community School Board, says, "Once you get students in you get ADM, you get money coming in, and if you do the partnering with businesses that we want to do, I think we can do that. We don't want to raise taxes."

School leaders are looking at three potential sites for New Tech High. The old Colgate plant is one of them.  Clarksville Middle School and the old Value City property off Eastern Blvd. are also being considered.  The department store appears the frontrunner.

School officials will need to come to terms on a lease or purchase of the property currently owned by the town.

Richard Dickman of the Clarksville Redevelopment Commission says, "It's certainly a good fit for growth and development along Eastern Blvd."

The school is expected to launch with 100 freshman in August 2014.  Bartsch says, "For most teachers, it's stepping out of the comfort zone."

Until then, the district will spend time and money training their teachers how to instruct students in a whole new way.

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