News and Tribune

February 24, 2014

SIGN ME UP: Clarksville's New Tech applications going online this week

Information sessions set for March 4 and 5

By JEROD CLAPP
jerod.clapp@newsandtribune.com

CLARKSVILLE — Clarksville Community Schools will post applications for Renaissance Academy — its New Tech school — on Friday and begin accepting them next month.

With construction scheduled to wrap up in August, a news release from the district says it’s trying to fill up the 100 openings for the freshman class beginning March 15.

Brian Allred, director of Renaissance Academy and principal of Clarksville High School, said the application will look pretty standard to parents, not varying much from current applications to attend any other public school.

But he said the process could prove competitive for parents and students. The first 75 applicants will automatically join the class. After that, 25 more students will enter a lottery process that will consider grade, gender, ethnicity and socioeconomics.

“We’re going to take them first-come, first-serve regardless, we won’t have any kind of constraints,” Allred said. “These students need to understand they’re making a one-year commitment initially. After that first year, they may want to go back to the traditional model. But they also have to be ready and willing to work with others; that goes with the project-based collaborative environment.”

The district will hold an open enrollment registration from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 15, at the Bill Conley Education Center at 200 Ettel Lane. After that, students and parents can apply until June 27.

But before the March 15 enrollment event, Allred said the district will hold two information sessions for parents and students.

The sessions are scheduled from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on March 4 and 5 at Kye’s I in Jeffersonville.

He said after the first one on Jan. 15, he expects to hear some similar questions since the community is still trying to learn about the New Tech model.

“As this word is coming out more and more, I think people will hear more about it,” Allred said. “We’ve also got [frequently asked questions] on our website, so it’ll give people things to think about. I think folks are going to want to know.”

He said parents have asked what sorts of diplomas students will be able to earn, but the same opportunities are available to them as if they went to a traditional high school. He said the Core-40 diploma and academic honors diplomas will be available.

But he said the typical New Tech graduate leaves high school with about 25 dual credits, which he said can offset some of the cost of classes in college.

The district’s board of trustees has repeatedly brought up the point of not detracting from its traditional high school while promoting the new academy. Allred said he also thinks that’s important.

“I think we have to be careful not to discount the traditional model,” Allred said. “I think there are some people who will really be drawn to that. It’s all about school choice. Are we going to offer our kids and people in our community the kinds of education choices that will help the community flourish? I think that’s where we are in Clarksville and we’ll be able to do it.”