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Towles Montessori to feed into New Tech

Fort Wayne Community Schools is shifting the magnet program for some students at Towles Intermediate School from Montessori to a project-based learning program.

Beginning next year, seventh- and eighth-grade students will move into a New Tech magnet program instead of the Montessori program that has been offered at Towles since 2006. New Tech offers a project-based learning approach that integrates technology with one-to-one computing.

District spokeswoman Krista Stockman said the move is part of the district's evaluation of its programs and feeder systems to focus on providing families with the most attractive options possible. This is part of a larger plan for the district to remain competitive with other educational options like vouchers and charter schools.

Towles will now feed into the New Tech Academy at Wayne High School. Stockman said teachers, current or new, will be trained in the New Tech program this summer, which has many similarities to the Montessori philosophy of teaching.

"There are a lot of kids from Towles who go to New Tech now. It's a good transition for them and fits with how they learned for the years they were in the Montessori program," Stockman said. "We felt that this was a good fit."