South Bend's New Tech enrollment struggling


Their goal is to nurture a project-based learning environment where students use technology to work on new projects every few weeks.

"Kids are working in teams, kids are solving problems, critical thinking, and kids are applying their results," said Principal John Kennedy.

But New Tech is struggling to stay afloat.

After three years, the schools enrollment isn't what was expected. School leaders say they wanted 100-students in each grade.

But the school only has 155-students total enrolled this fall.

That's still 55% lower than their goal.

"We would certainly like to see more students attending New Tech High School," said South Bend School Board Vice President Jay Caponigro.

When the school was created, the Chamber of Commerce was actively involved in finding private donors to fund the school.

President and CEO Jeff Rea hoped the prestige of the school would attract more businesses to the area.

"We recognized that other communities were trying to prepare for the future workforce by using New Tech High School successfully," said Rea.

But Rea says that the South Bend New Tech is somewhat of a rarity.

According to Niles New Tech Director Jerry Holtgren they have an enrollment of 442-students this fall.

"They waited in line over night to sign up for the New Tech High School [in Niles]," said Rea. "That's how much they wanted to get their kids in. We just haven't had that success here in South Bend."

Principal John Kennedy says it's time to take action.

"We are going to look at a focus area in science," said Kennedy.

Kennedy says they want to refocus the curriculum to appeal to students in the sciences.

"That is something very real world and a leading edge in today's economy," said Kennedy. "This is a place where there are a lot of jobs."

Rea says a focus in science would be a good thing.

"I think jobs are moving towards a much more technical nature," said Rea. "In the old days people moved to where there are jobs and now jobs move to people."

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