Essential Allies Challenge and iZone Seek to Transform Education

Essential Allies Challenge pic

Essential Allies Challenge
Image: izonenyc.org

Erica Zigelman, a principal within the New York Department of Education, recently saw her school MS322 included as a semifinalist of the Essential Allies Challenge, which is part of iZone, an office that helps school communities create personalized classrooms to further college and career preparedness in students. Principal Erica Zigelman and her institution earned a grant of $10,000 to continue developing the school’s future state design.

The goal of the Essential Allies Challenge is to help students become more engaged in their learning, which is important to their lifelong success. To make this possible, programs under iZone create new learning models complete with tools and practical application approaches for daily life in and out of the classroom. The organization also allows teachers and students to gain access to improved tools, which network developers and educators in useful collaborations.

One of these programs is called Blended Learning, an educational method that unites teachers and their instruction with technology. This program is used in more than 250 schools in the United States to help students think critically about the new opportunities and new challenges that come with technology. It is important for students to learn how technology is able to support interactions with meaningful data. The purpose is to welcome critical consumers in the technology market, developing their innovation and problem-solving skills.

Essential Allies Challenge Strengthens Parent-School Relationships

Erica Zigelman serves as principal of a New York City Department of Education middle school. In a career spanning several decades, Erica Zigelman has also worked as an adjunct professor and a literary coach, among other roles. In her current position as principal, she has helped her school reach semifinalist status in the Essential Allies Challenge, the winners of which will receive grants in excess of $15,000 from iZone.

The Essential Allies Challenge encourages New York City schools to look for innovative ways to strengthen relationships with parents as a means to support student achievement. The challenge requires schools to submit a video entry explaining its goals and motivations for entering the contest; selected schools then work with experts to develop and refine its ideas further.

The contest is open to a group of 280 New York City schools. Winners will be selected by a panel comprising parents, teachers, and representatives from the Department of Education.