Elizabeth Rohatyn Prize
New York-based principal Erica Zigelman has worked to improve education in the city for decades. Principal Erica Zigelman was recently honored as a semi-finalist in the Elizabeth Rohatyn Prize for Schools Where Teaching Matters, an award for innovative and successful educators.
Each year, Teaching Matters presents the Elizabeth Rohatyn Prize for Schools Where Teaching Matters, an award recognizing schools that provide the best support for their teachers. Instead of recognizing specific achievement goals, test scores, or fiscal accomplishments, this award honors schools that attract and support truly great teachers. Applicants submit overviews of the groundbreaking work going on in their schools and evidence of the ways they are furthering effective teaching.
These submissions are evaluated based on how well they support student learning, facilitate effective teaching, and promote growth and leadership. Winners are selected by a prize committee in conjunction with a vote by the public at large. A $25,000 award is given to the winning public school.
Essential Allies Challenge
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.
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.
Erica Zigelman, principal of New York City’s Middles School 322, or the Renaissance Leadership Academy, possesses more than four decades of experience in the field of education. She has participated in the iLead Instructional Technology Leadership Program for 21st Century Leaders and received such honors as the Resolution A Technology Grant. In her current position as principal of MS322, Erica Zigelman has seen the benefits of the Smithsonian-ePals partnership.
In 2011, the Smithsonian Institution agreed to partner with ePals, Inc., to provide educators, parents, and students across the world with a diverse range of educational materials from the museum and its associated research complex. The partnership makes Smithsonian content available through ePals’ social learning platforms such as LearningSpace and SchoolMail 365. Users can also access the new material through the ePals Global Community.
The educational materials from the Smithsonian include classroom projects, lesson plans for teachers, shared media galleries, and information on topics related to art, culture, history, and science. Students can also learn directly from Smithsonian curators and experts in these areas. Additionally, the availability of this information on ePals’ social platform offers extensive possibilities for collaborative learning on a global scale.