Nancy Dischinat, Executive Director, Lehigh Valley Workforce Investment Board, offers her perspective on Building 21 Allentown.
High schools in the US are experiencing disengagement, flat test scores, and high rates of drop-outs. The graduation rate in 2012 for Allentown School District (ASD) high schools was 66%. Only half of the graduates achieved college level math and reading. In response to these trends, the ASD will open its 3rd high school at 265 Lehigh Street, in partnership with Building 21, a non-profit school designer/operator that employs an innovative model of experiential/ personalized learning. Building 21 Allentown will open September 2015 with 150 9th graders, and will grow to 600 9-12 students by 2018. Residents of the district are eligible to apply. Selection is determined through a non-criteria based lottery. Relationships are the foundation of Building 21. Every student will be known and participate in a daily advisory program. Teaching and learning at Building 21 is Passion driven, applied and technology driven. Students will have a say in what and how they learn. They are encouraged to explore and discover their unique passions and learn by solving real-world problems through a project-based instructional model in real-world settings with deep local businesses and community partnerships. Every student receives a laptop computer, and a robust “Learning GPS” system tracks progress across multiple subjects and learning locations in real-time. Building 21 Allentown will have the potential to transform how our high school students learn, how they connect with the community around them, and what path they end up on after graduation. ASD, Building 21 and community leaders are raising the $3.6 million required to launch the school. For more information on Building 21 Allentown contact firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on the Lehigh Valley Workforce Investment Board please contact email@example.com.