Maggie Liu and her mother, Xiao Wen Zhen
Nine-year-old Maggie Liu always did well in school, but it wasn't until her teacher had access to new digital resources to personalize learning that Maggie, her parents and her teacher all realized how strong of a student she really was.

 It helps Maggie a lot with math and reading; she was always a good student,  but the technology gave her a better idea of how good of a student she really is and she's now much more motivated to do even better," her mother, Xiao Wen Zhen said. "Maggie loves to be on the computers in class so much that when she comes home she wants to continue her work.  I'm very happy that she's not only learning, but having fun at the same time, too.  
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The iZone is improving the way New York City public schools operate in order to meet the needs, motivations and strengths of each child -- YOUR child.

"My child is in iZone. What does that mean?"

Schools in the iZone are focused on meeting the needs, motivations and strengths of every child, including your child. To do so, schools work with parents and students to think through how each student learns best. Does your child love math, or is it a struggle? Does your child need more help and time to master reading comprehension? Does your child like working with computers? Is he or she a natural leader, or perhaps a little shy? Would your child benefit from working regularly with other students on projects? 

With this information, iZone schools tailor the school experience around your child's needs. 

"What will you see in an iZone school?"

Every good teacher seeks to provide tailored support to every student; however, within traditional school models, this can be very difficult. The iZone aims to make this process easier by adopting a variety of strategies to personalize and deepen the learning experience of each child. Examples of innovative practices in iZone schools include:

  • Clear goals, clear feedback, and flexibility to learn at their own pace. Courses are designed around developing the real-world knowledge and skills that students need to meet their goals. Teachers grade assignments with clear feedback on how students can improve, rather than with just a letter or number, so students, with the help of their teacher and families, can focus their time and efforts on the areas where they need it most.
  • Learning from experts throughout the world. Facilitated by technologies such as Skype, iZone students use video conferencing and other tools to interact with scientists, politicians, engineers and other professionals.  
  • Using real-time data to support each student. Teachers use computer-based, personalized learning systems to get real-time data on student progress, strengths and areas of need. Based on this data, teachers can provide extra help, or new challenging opportunities where needed.   
  • Students working in many different ways. Depending on how a student learns best, they may learn one-on-one with a teacher, in small groups, in a teacher-led online environment, in internships, or through other creative ways that enable students to master the knowledge, skills and habits of mind they need to be successful in college and 21st century careers. 
  • Collaborative peer to peer learning. iZone students communicate with peers in and out of the classroom for new perspectives. They have deepened their understandings of global history by speaking with students in New Orleans about Hurricane Katrina and with students in London, Israel and New York about terrorism.
  • Access to a wide range of courses. Students have access to expanded learning opportunities through online courses for Advanced Placement, credit recovery, world languages and other electives not currently offered at the school. They also have access to the best classes and curriculum in New York City as teachers, resources and courses are shared across boroughs.

"My children aren't in the iZone. Will they be?"

We encourage anyone interested in adopting innovation strategies at their school to start a discussion with fellow parents, teachers and principals about how they can get involved in the iZone. Schools can email Innovation@schools.nyc.gov for information on applying.