Thursday, September 16, 2010

Want your child educated innovatively? Want to educate innovatively? Come to NYC Public Schools

Today I am especially proud to work for the New York City Department of Education (NYC DOE) as we move full speed ahead toward models that will allow students to be educated in innovative ways that will prepare them for success in the world. While many of my friends and followers in the Twitosphere, blogosphere, and social media-sphere lament the traditional settings in which they work, I’m fortunate to be a part of the NYC DOE’s celebration of the iZone launch.

The iZone was created to challenge longstanding assumptions around “business as usual” in K-12 education. While most industries have experienced tremendous change over the past 50 years, our education system has remained remarkably static, adhering to the following set of 19th century assumptions that fail to fully engage and challenge students who have grown up in a digital world:
  • School Time: The school calendar revolves around the harvest calendar and consists of 180 days per school year with approximately six hours of instruction per day.
  • Teacher Roles: As part of one job, teachers are responsible for managing classrooms, delivering instruction, assessing performance, and presenting feedback to students; teacher compensation is tied to time on the job rather than performance on the job.
  • Instructional Delivery: Students are grouped in similar cohorts of 25-30 students who move together through a set of classes taught by a single adult.
The iZone was designed to free schools from the compliance-oriented culture that has inhibited real innovation in our nation’s schools. Schools within the iZone are provided the resources and support to pioneer new models that transform what schools look like, personalizing instruction to the needs of each individual student, and dramatically improving student achievement. Over the next four years, the iZone will help hundreds of schools design, develop, evaluate, and scale transformative new models that restructure and re-imagine K-12 education.

For the 2010-11 school year, the iZone will focus on three categories of innovation--rethinking time and staffing in schools, introducing new technologies to personalize instruction and assessment, and expanding student access to world-class instruction through virtual learning. A total of 83 schools serving over 13,000 students have been selected to participate in the iZone this coming school year. Below is an overview of the Innovations.

Innovation CategoryInnovation Description# Schools / Students Projected Impact / Outcomes
Time & StaffingPilot new ways to schedule time and organize teachers during the school day to
-Increase amount of time students spend learning
-Increase teacher collaboration
8 schools serving 2,600 students-More learning time will result in greater academic gains
-More personalization will result in more and deeper learning
-More effective teacher collaboration
Personalized Learning SystemsRandomly assign three adaptive software programs to evaluate relative effectiveness for accelerating student learning.
-Personalizes instruction to students’ academic needs.
-Provides teachers real-time progress data
30 elementary schools serving over 7,000 students-Higher levels of student engagement
-Stronger academic performance for students of all ability levels in a class
iLearnNYCPilot new ways to accelerate student achievement through online learning opportunities.
-Online AP pilot and credit recovery pilot
-Blended school models that mix online and face to face classes in a digital learning environment
20 Online AP/ schools, 10 credit recovery schools, 12 blended schools, serving a total of 3,800 students-Increase overall student achievement by freeing students to learn at their own pace
-Differentiate teaching roles to match teachers’ skills
-Greater credit accumulation and on-time graduation
Classroom transformation: School of OneLeveraging technology to personalize learning for every student
-Learning algorithm that intelligently schedules student learning based on data
-Frequent assessments of student performance that provides real-time information to teachers
3 school sites serving 250 students-Increase overall student achievement by individualizing instruction to students needs
-Differentiate teaching roles to match teachers’ skills

For more information:
Contact: Stacey Gillett at

Join: iZone listserve for tailored updates and notifications around new activity within the iZone.

Related articles: You Can Get a Dalton Education at a NYC Public School

1 comment:

  1. Good morning, Lisa.

    Do you know what companies are supplying the three adaptive "personalized learning systems?"