Bay City Public Schools joins New Tech Network to support deeper learning

T.L. Handy Middle School to implement effective school model to improve student outcomes and develop critical skills

The Bay City Public Schools (BCPS) Board of Education approved a plan to redesign teaching and learning at T.L. Handy Middle School (HMS) in partnership with New Tech Network (NTN). The initiative will start with incoming 6th graders in the fall of 2022. New Tech Network is a leading design partner for comprehensive K–12 school change and works with more than 200 schools across the country to implement its project-based learning model.

“There is widespread agreement that Handy needs innovation,” said BCPS Superintendent Dr. Stephen Bigelow. “As we plan, it’s reassuring to know we’ll be implementing an effective model that has worked in similar communities.”

“We are excited to welcome Bay City Public Schools to the network,” said NTN President and CEO Lydia Dobyns. “Through a focus on outcomes that matter, a culture that empowers, and teaching that engages, we expect our partnership with Bay City Public Schools will help ensure all students at Handy Middle School are prepared for college and career when they graduate high school.”

NTN works with classroom teachers and school leaders to implement school change through professional development, coaching, and extensive resources to support project-based learning.

District officials began discussing possible innovation at HMS in May of 2021 when considering the impact of COVID-19 on students. 

“The pandemic made us look closely at school and student data across the district,” said BCPS Chief Academic Officer Patrick Malley. “We knew we had to do something different at Handy to get our improvement efforts on track.”

In September of 2021, the BCPS Board of Education approved the formation of a task force to look closely at the academic program at HMS to inform plans for innovation. HMS teachers, administrators, students, parents, and community members analyzed data, visited other schools, and gathered input from stakeholders before district leaders presented their plan.

“This new initiative will give our students the opportunity to create, innovate, and establish powerful relationships within the community,” said HMS teacher Danna Town during the December 13 Board of Education meeting. “It will focus their efforts towards tangible goals that lie right here in our neighborhoods.”

District and school leaders will begin planning with support from the New Tech Network in January. Changes that impact students and families will be communicated through meetings in the spring.

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