Jan 26, 2012 9:46 PM by Ariel Wesler

High-tech high school breaks ground in Nipomo

School officials and community leaders broke ground today on a new school in Nipomo that emphasizes technology.

Central Coast New Tech High School will welcome its very first freshman class this fall. The school, located next to Nipomo High, has been in the works for more than two years. Teachers will use high-tech teaching methods with project based learning, similar to Cal Poly's "learn by doing" philosophy.

"It's going to be epic with a capital "E"," said 13 year-old Joe Monanaro of Arroyo Grande.

He will be part of new tech's first freshman class this fall. He was previously home-schooled.

"Not a whole bunch of people, so it's not gonna be as distracting as public school, but it won't be as strange as home school," Montanaro said.

Central Coast New Tech High School is aimed at helping kids interested in fields like science and engineering--something PG&E says makes it a worthwhile investment. It donated $250,000, the largest its ever given at one time to the Lucia Mar School District.

"We have a huge part of our investment that is in technology, so we're excited to lay the foundation for kids that are interested in this," said PG&E President Chris Johns.

School officials the high-tech high school will ring in a new era of 21st century learning.

By the time Montanaro graduates, he will have completed internships and given more than 200 multimedia presentations.

"I'm really looking forward to all the hands-on projects. Who wouldn't look forward to getting a laptop? Seriously," he said.

Using hands on activities, district officials say the teaching methods will help kids, like Montanaro, who really want to dig deeper.

"They're given a real world problem. They're working in teams to solve it," said Lucia Mar Superintendent Jim Hogeboom.

Teamwork that could point students in the right direction when it comes to finding a career.

"They won't come out of high school not knowing what to do. They'll have a lot of opportunities to figure out what they want to do," said Pam Montanaro, Joe's mom.

The incoming freshman class will have about 150 students and the school will eventually top out at about 500. There is a waiting list to come here but you do not have to be in the Lucia Mar Unified School District to apply.

The school is scheduled to open in August. It will be part of the New Tech Network, which has 87 schools in 16 states.


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