New Designs for School
New Designs for School

We’ve all had the experience of truly purposeful, authentic learning and know how valuable it is. Educators are taking the best of what we know about learning, student support, effective instruction, and interpersonal skill-building to completely reimagine schools so that students experience that kind of purposeful learning all day, every day.

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Primary Contact Name:
Andrea Coleman
Award Date:
July 2013
Grant Type:
National Planning
Planned Start Date:
Fall 2014
Startup Type:
New School

Personalized learning with the potential to disrupt systemic structures of school as we know it

Planned School: iZone Academy
Grades Served: 9-12
Location: New York, NY
Operator: New York City Department of Education
Operator Type: District
Setting: Urban
Students at Opening: 100
Students at Capacity: 400

HALLMARK FEATURE: Sharing space with small business startups

The New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) Office of Innovation (iZone) will design a new school model, based on the most promising models and practices incubated in the iZone to date. The proposed model will:

  • incorporate user-centered design to build ground-up personalized learning environments;
  • reimagine the notion of a school building and school space;
  • utilize online and blended learning to enable mastery-based asynchronous learning environments; and
  • build community partnerships with startups and small businesses to support a new co-working and learning environment.

The proposed new school model will incorporate user-centered design to build the school around student needs, and will put real-world experiences at the heart of the college- and career-ready curriculum in a seamlessly integrated co-working space. The model will reimagine curriculum and pacing; space and time; and staff and student roles. A mastery-based learning approach will include a personalized learning plan for students. NYCDOE will create a community-bridged learning experience where small businesses and startups share space, resources, and projects with students in a common co-working space. This model also will incorporate asynchronous and blended learning to enable varied educational experiences, tailored to the needs of individual students. The iZone seeks to create a scalable school models that can be replicated within New York City and modeled across the nation. The proposed iZone personalized school model has the potential to disrupt the systemic structures of age-based cohorts, scheduling, space, grading policies, and more.

Photo credit: Sam Valadi, CC BY 2.0