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Project-based Learning:

Project-based learning (PBL) is at the heart of our instructional approach. In PBL, learning is contextual, creative, and shared.  Students collaborate on meaningful projects that require critical thinking, creativity, and communication in order for them to answer challenging questions or solve complex problems. By making learning relevant to them in this way, students see a purpose for mastering state-required skills and content concepts.

Check out the following tools and resources to learn more about Project based learning:

  • Curious about the difference between “doing projects” and project based learning?

  • Check out project spotlights from schools in the New Tech Network

  • In this video, you’ll see how the building blocks of project-based learning provide a deep look into what makes a successful PBL implementation in the classroom.

  • Project-based learning overview-Winton Woods City Schools is joining the educational transformation that is happening across the country through a partnership with New Tech Network, a leading design partner for comprehensive school growth.


Students aren’t just assessed on their understanding of academic content, but on their ability to successfully apply that content when solving authentic problems.  Through this process, project based learning gives students the opportunity to develop the real life skills required for success in today’s world.

  • Our Assessment in PBL tool helps teachers assess their students’ learning throughout an entire project. Use this tool to identify the kinds of learning that students should be typically engaged in during each phase of a project and to identify strategies for effectively assessing their learning in each phase.

  • A key pillar in the New Tech Network model is the use of outcomes that matter to guide our schools’ support of students and their long-term success. The NTN Student Learning Outcomes are a set of research-based outcomes aimed at preparing students for postsecondary college and career success. For each outcome, a rubric or set of rubrics has been developed to help ensure that students are being provided with regular feedback on their growth and needs in each of these areas. These outcome rubrics are an essential component of the project and problem-based learning curriculum and instruction model used by the schools that we support. Our project-based learning management system, Echo, is also designed to allow teachers the ability to provide feedback and support to students across each of these outcomes.

Knowledge and Content Rubrics

Oral Communication Rubrics

Written Communication Rubrics

Agency Rubrics

Collaboration Rubrics

  • Group contracts are one successful tool in the project-based learning kit that guides collaborative work. Collaboration is one of the New Tech Network Learning Outcomes.


  • Research and measurement play a central role in supporting New Tech Network schools. The NTN research team conducts its own research and partners with external experts to document the impact of a New Tech education.

  • See the latest NTN Impact Report here:

  • Reports and Publications documenting NTN impact


Resources used with permission from the Hewlett Foundation:

Decoding Deeper Learning in the Classroom (Hewlett Foundation): This guidebook helps reporters, parents, and others understand what twenty-first-century learning looks like and whether it’s working. It explains how deeper learning classrooms are designed, what the students are learning, and which questions can be asked to dig deeper with the students and educators.

Deeper Learning Video Series (Teaching Channel): These videos showcase how the New Tech Network is preparing students for success and helping teachers become more reflective about their teaching practices.

Critical Friends: Looking at Student Work

Collaborative Teaching for Interdisciplinary Learning

Study of Deeper Learning: Opportunities and Outcomes (American Institute for Research, August 2016): In a series of reports, AIR researchers compare strategies and cultures, students’ deeper learning opportunities, and student outcomes for students who attending high schools that focus on deeper learning (“network schools”) compared to those who attended comparison (“non-network”) schools.

Advancing Deeper Learning Under ESSA: Seven Priorities (Jobs for the Future): This brief recommends seven ways for supporters of deeper learning to take advantage of the changing educational policy landscape, as authority shifts from the federal government to states and local districts.

Deeper Learning: Improving Student Outcomes for College, Career, and Civic Life (American Institutes for Research, August 2015): To prepare for the demands of postsecondary education and the workforce, students need to master content and build skills that allow them to collaborate with others, and then apply that knowledge to new situations. Students will be able to access a wider range of opportunities in college, career, and civic life if they possess the necessary skills to work with others and critically analyze and address new challenges.

Soft Skills are “Hard as a Rock” (Huffington Post): Argues the merits of soft skills (“employability skills”), such as work ethic, collaboration, and critical thinking in comparison to hard skills, asserting both are necessary for college and career readiness.

Can “Deeper Learning” Close the Achievement Gap? (PBS): In this video series, PBS shares research it conducted hoping to discover if deeper learning methods have the capacity to alleviate the achievement gap.


2017 Media Resources used with permission from The Riley Institute at Furman University:

June 2017

Building on New Tech's Success. (The Press and Standard)

Cougar New Tech holds Senior Dinner. (The Press and Standard)

April 2017

Scott’s Branch makes U.S. News and World Report Best Schools list for 3rd year in a row. (Manninglive)

February 2017

Education leaders ‘blown away’ by Scott’s Branch students. (Manninglive)

The Colleton County School District hosted a Lunch and Learn Tuesday, February 14, at Colleton County High School during which future plans were unveiled for Cougar New Tech Entrepreneurial Academy (CNT), the Health Science Academy at CCHS and additional project-based learning within the district. (The Press and Standard)

Colleton County High School’s Cougar New Tech was cited as a “corridor of innovation” when 28 top education policy leaders, practitioners and researchers from across the country visited as part of a study tour on Friday Feb. 3. (The Press and Standard)

All eyes were recently on representatives from Colleton County’s New Tech Academy as the group was part of a statewide study on how students in poor parts of the state are working to better themselves. (The Colletonian)

South Carolina Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman visited Colleton County last week, meeting with students at two local schools. (The Colletonian)

January 2017

Dr. Melissa Crosby, principal of Colleton County High School and Joshua Cable, director of Cougar New Tech Entrepreneurial Academy, traveled to Los Angeles, Calif., over the weekend to present “Designing and Advocating for Personalized Learning Strategies” at the Teacher-Powered Schools 2017 National Conference held at the UCLA Meyer and Renee Luskin Conference Center. (The Press and Standard)