At NT@ZB, academic relevance is a key component to its project based learning model. In the PBL model, learning does not take place just for the sake of learning. Instead, learning takes place in the context of the school, community, and the world around us. Understanding how issues impact people and society are just as important to NT@ZB's model as the issues themselves. Writing skills are put to the test in letters, articles, and presentations. Math skills are showcased through models that students will see as they head out into the world around us. Science skills are illustrated through connected research and investigations to current events and modern-day concerns. This is what academic relevance means to the NT@ZB community.
As part of that relevance, NT@ZB courses regularly partner with individuals, groups, and organizations outside the District to bring real-world connection into the classroom. For NT@ZB, the learning objectives of the Illinois State Standards are not enough. Students must also contextualize the learning and move it out of the classroom and into the real world.