New Deal Lions Roar into Action
July 19, 2011
Rural communities in West Texas are generally well known for some very similar characteristics - cotton farms, Friday night football, friendly people, and close-knit families. Located six miles north of Lubbock, New Deal provides a snapshot of a rural South Plains town. Look a bit closer, however, and you will see some very distinct differences, especially in how New Deal provides education to its young people.
All schools in the New Deal Independent School District are fully accredited by the Texas Education Agency. Their curriculum includes a rigorous and well-rounded education, including advanced placement, concurrent college enrollment through dual credit classes, career and technology education courses, and programs in tech prep, special education, gifted and talented, and English as a Second Language. With over 650 computers in daily use from pre-kindergarten through grade 12 and with a ratio of almost one computer for every student, all NDISD campuses are connected via a wide area network, allowing Internet access to all 52 classrooms within the district. And TAKS results campus-wide in the majority of tested areas are above state average, with NDISD receiving multiple Gold Performance Acknowledgements from the Texas Education Agency.
New Deal ISD administrators were quick to see the importance of their high school becoming a T-STEM Academy when that idea was launched in 2006. Former superintendent Jimmy Noland and present superintendent Steven McCray were instrumental in encouraging Dr. Jerry Adams, high school principal and former classroom science teacher, to align New Deal High School curriculum with THSP's rigorous standards for STEM course content to develop college ready, career ready, and life ready graduates.
For over four years, Dr. Adams and his team of dedicated teachers were, as Dr. Adams reports, "mission driven" toward several significant goals: develop a STEM school culture; begin offering project-based, content area instruction; acknowledge student achievement; and implement effective curriculum and instruction assessment.
The results have been laudable. New Deal High School's accomplishments include state and national recognition for academic excellence:
- Multiple Recognized and an Exemplary accountability rating by TEA
- 29 Gold Performance Acknowledgments from TEA over the past four years as a T-STEM Academy
- Best Practices in Instruction from TEA's Best Practices Clearinghouse
- Recognized by TEA for Exceptional Use of High School Allotment Funds
- Voted among Best High Schools in America by U.S. News and World Report
- Voted among Best High Schools in Texas by Texas Monthly
- Named as a Higher Performing School by the National Center for Educational Achievement, a department of ACT, Inc.
As New Deal High School has grown into a fully functioning T-STEM Academy, several norms of practice have emerged from the T-STEM Blueprint. Most notably, the faculty's and Dr. Adams' mission-driven leadership surrounds a solid integration of best-practices among STEM curricula in a collective effort to promote college readiness, career readiness, and life readiness among New Deal students. All teachers have implemented project-based learning (PBL) as a mainstay in their classes to actively engage students in relevant and contextual problem-solving mindsets. Through PBL, students are asked to identify underlying problems and devise solutions to these problems using the scientific method and engineering design process while modeling 21st century skills such as collaboration and teamwork.
All classrooms are equipped with smart boards and projectors to better engage students in the learning process. In addition, New Deal High School provides three computer labs for students to use as they research and develop project ideas. Each department also has access to four separate classroom sets of wireless laptop computers that are used to conduct projects in each class.
New Deal High School provides support for engineering curriculum through the national Project Lead the Way (PLTW) program and is in the process of becoming a nationally certified PLTW school. Through its partnership with the Texas Tech T-STEM Center, New Deal High School also boasts other engineering-related curriculum through robotics and rocketry Friday afternoon flex classes.
New Deal students have the opportunity to graduate with over 30 college hours as a result of the dual credit course offerings provided through South Plains College and the NDHS computer lab. "Our goal is to provide our students with every opportunity for success and for them to fully experience what it means to be college ready, career ready, and life ready when they graduate from New Deal High School," says principal Dr. Jerry Adams.
Not only are the students at New Deal High School successful in the classroom, most of them fully participate in multiple extracurricular activities such as band, agriculture, UIL academics, UIL One-Act Play competition, athletics, and FCCLA events. Each of these programs has had tremendous success both on the local, state, and national levels.
It certainly is a great day to be a New Deal Lion!
New Deal High School
College Ready...Career Ready...
Texas High School Project STEM Academy Tour Video
The STEM Academy at New Deal High School offers a bold new approach to education.
Educate Texas T-STEM Initiative
The Texas Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (T-STEM) initiative offers a fundamental approach to empower teachers, inspire students, and advance the studies in these four fields.