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January 12, 2018
Despite concerns, Jeffco school board agrees to spend $1 million to start funding school innovations
Employees in Jeffco Public Schools can now pitch an idea as part of a new application process for small grants to fund innovative programs that might improve education.
February 5, 2016
The plan to revitalize Aurora’s schools: Longer days, new curriculum and more teacher training
Teachers at Aurora Central High School would also forfeit tenure and work under one-year contracts.
January 9, 2015
Yes, it’s time to embrace cell phones in class
Teacher John Giambalvo argues that educators shouldn't overlook specific, academic ways to use phones as soon as they are allowed.
October 9, 2014
With changes in leadership and funding, the splashy 'iZone' reaches a crossroads
Top officials have recently left the Innovation Zone, a Bloomberg-era initiative whose federal grants are drying up. City officials say the iZone's work is continuing, but some wonder where it fits in the new administration.
May 15, 2014
Contract’s plan to fuel school experimentation sparks debate
The plan would let educators at up to 200 schools carry out experiments in school improvement. But some worry the plan would weaken protections for teachers, while others argue it will not go far enough to foster real innovation. Others wonder how the program will work.
High-Tech High Schools
March 21, 2014
Amid uncertain future, city's Digital Ready initiative spurs schools to experiment
A new Department of Education program, called Digital Ready, offers resources and support to 10 high schools as they experiment with new tools, partnerships, and methods of instruction and assessment. But its long-term prospects are uncertain.
August 1, 2012
Audit: DOE did not gather data to justify expanding tech initiative
Comptroller John Liu's office found that the Department of Education's five-year plan for NYC21C was not followed. The Department of Education never checked to see whether an initiative to transform city schools for the 21st century that was announced with a splash in 2009 was paying off, according to an audit released today by Comptroller John Liu. The audit is the latest in a series by Liu's office to conclude that the department does not adequately evaluate its programs and initiatives, which the Bloomberg administration has always delivered in rapid succession. The audit also has the department insisting that a technology initiative once billed as "the most exciting work we are now embarking on here in New York City's public schools" was actually a "small educational initiative" in just a handful of schools. The initiative, called NY21C, was unveiled in May 2009 at the iSchool, a centerpiece of the department's efforts to rethink schools using technology. Then-Chancellor Joel Klein said the program, which the city billed as a "research and development project" in promotional materials, would quickly expand across the entire city. The initiative did expand — but it also quickly evolved. In 2010, NYC21C became the 81-school Innovation Zone, and seven of the original 10 schools were dispersed into different branches of the zone. Since then, Klein and John White, another official who championed the Innovation Zone, have left the Department of Education, and the department's focus has shifted away from innovation and toward making instruction more rigorous in all schools through new learning standards. Figuring out just whether NYC21C accomplished the goals set out in its original five-year plan was lost in the shuffle, the audit concludes.
March 22, 2011
Eyeing national expansion, School of One founder leaves Tweed
Joel Rose, founder of the School of One, is leaving the New York City Department of Education The founder of the School of One, one of the city's most touted educational innovations, will expand that model nationally — by leaving the city Department of Education that helped him create it. The founder, Joel Rose, announced his move in an email to colleagues this morning. The School of One is part of a national effort to re-imagine how teaching and learning happen at schools by taking advantage of technology. At the three schools that work with the School of One model in New York City, teachers still lead instruction, but they do so with the aid of a "learning algorithm" that creates a personalized program of study for every student. The idea is to free educators from the more rote elements of school and let them, as Rose put it to us in 2009, "focus on is the hardest part of the equation, which is delivering great lessons." In the first pilot of the program, a summer math program launched in 2009, School of One reported that its students learned significantly faster, citing externally commissioned research. The three schools will continue to operate under the guidance of the Innovation Zone, or iZone, team inside Tweed Courthouse. But with Rose's departure, the national apparatus around School of One — from press attention to large foundation grants — will leave the Department of Education and follow him to a new nonprofit he plans to create. The move raises questions about New York City's capacity to act as an incubator for educational innovation. For one, will programs incubated by the iZone stay in New York City for the long haul? Or will they follow the School of One's path: attracting national attention for a few years and then seeking another home?
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