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2012: i3 Project Launch

KnowledgeWorks, New Tech Network and Riley Institute
Begin Conversion of Schools Along South Carolina's I-95 Corridor
to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)

March 13, 2012

"This is the hottest thing going in education today in the United States and you are all part of it,” former South Carolina Governor and U.S. Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley said to community members gathered in Clarendon and Walterboro counties on Tuesday. The recent events marked the start of the implementation of the revolutionary New Tech Schools approach at Scott's Branch High School in Summerton and Colleton County High School in Walterboro. 

The new schools will be STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) focused. Students will learn by working in teams on projects that incorporate multiple subjects. They will develop the 21st-century skills that are needed to succeed in today’s technologically advanced workplaces such as collaboration, problem-solving and critical thinking.

Both schools are located along the I-95 corridor in a region that helped reshape education through Briggs vs. Elliott, one of the cases consolidated by the Supreme Court into Brown vs. Board of Education. Partners in the project include the two school districts, the Riley Institute at Furman, KnowledgeWorks Foundation, New Tech Network, and the Evaluation Center at the University of West Georgia. It will be funded by a  $2.9 million "Investing in Innovation" grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Education.

Attendees, including district and school personnel, school board members, students, parents, community members, and elected officials, listened to and asked questions of students and a New Tech-certified teacher from Anson New Technology High School in North Carolina. Presentations were made by Secretary Riley, New Tech Network president Lydia Dobyns, Riley Institute executive director Don Gordon and KnowledgeWorks president and CEO Brian Ross. Each event closed with enthusiastic school superintendents Rose Wilder (Clarendon 1) and Leila Williams (Colleton County), who are leading the effort on the ground in the two communities.

Partnerships with South Carolina business, civic and education leaders have helped pave the way for the creation of 21st-century learning opportunities. Local funders stepped up to meet the challenge of a federal required match, including Bank of Clarendon, Coastal Electric, Coastal Services of South Carolina, the Colleton County Economic Alliance, Colleton Medical Center, Farmers Telephone Cooperative, First Citizens, Palmetto Rural Telephone Cooperative, Progress Energy, South Carolina Bank and Trust, and Wilder Unisex Hair Salon.  Additional partners in this requirement include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and ACT.

”We believe  New Tech schools can help the I-95 Corridor become a ‘corridor of innovation’ and will have a dramatic impact on the state, helping to prepare today's young learners to tackle tomorrow's challenges,” said Riley.

Press Coverage

The Sumter Item, The Post and Courier, Clarendon Citizen, MidlandsConnect, The Post and Courier, PRWeb 

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