News Release

Chancellor Klein Launches NYC21C Initiative At NYC iSchool

May 12, 2009 Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein today launched
May 12, 2009

May 12, 2009

Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein today launched the NYC21C initiative, a research and development project aimed at innovating secondary school practices to better prepare students for college and careers in the 21st century global economy. The announcement was made at the NYC iSchool, a new small selective high school in SoHo whose success at incorporating technology into everyday learning will serve as a model for the development of other schools in the NYC21C initiative. The NYC iSchool is equipped with video conferencing so that students can learn from college professors, authors, top scientists, and business leaders around the globe. A virtual desktop program designed for the school enables students to access their work on any computer, and online coursework complements classroom learning. Students at the NYC iSchool have already used the technology to learn about neuroscience from Nobel Laureates at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, about the earth's atmosphere and global climate change from a NASA scientist, to connect with peers in the Gulf Coast and share perspectives about 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, and to access online Advanced Placement and college-preparatory courses that might not otherwise be available to them. The NYC iSchool is supported by a $1 million founding gift from Mortimer B. Zuckerman. Cisco, the world's leading networking company, is collaborating with the NYC iSchool to provide hands-on expertise and to advise educators as they develop technology-based teaching methods that can be replicated in classrooms everywhere.

Early results from the NYC iSchool indicate success. Last January, a quarter of the NYC iSchool's ninth grade students passed the New York State Regents exam in global studies or living environment-months earlier than most high school students even complete the course. Demand to attend the school has dramatically increased from its first year, when nearly 300 students applied for 90 seats; this year, more than 1,500 students applied for 108 seats available in the fall.

"The NYC iSchool's use of technology to expand learning opportunities for students is incredibly exciting," Chancellor Klein said. "I want to thank Mort Zuckerman and Cisco for their support, and congratulate NYC iSchool educators and students, who are leading the way for the next generation of schools across the City and country."

"Improving New York City's public schools is critical to the future of our City," Mortimer B. Zuckerman said. "I am proud to be a part of another innovation to improve the quality of teaching and learning."

"Cisco is honored to be a strategic partner to the NYC iSchool and part of the Chancellor's initiative to transform New York City schools for the 21st Century," said Michael Stevenson, Vice President of Global Education at Cisco. "Drawing on our experience elsewhere in the world, we are assisting the New York City Department of Education through the provision of roadmaps, models, and tools which school leaders can incorporate into their strategies for school improvement, driven by technology. Cisco believes passionately in transforming education to create stronger societies and economies. We hope our work with the New York City schools will both have impact in the city and offer a template for use elsewhere in the US and around the world."

"A commitment to focusing on 21st century skills and the opportunity to offer a technology-rich environment allows us to transform the classroom experience," said iSchool Co-Principal Alisa Berger. Co-Principal Mary Moss added: "The iSchool represents a re-conceptualization of high school. We need to be willing to look at the skills our students need for college and beyond, and use all available tools to offer students a high school experience that meets their needs and ensures their success in today's world."

Building upon the successes of the NYC iSchool, the NYC21C initiative will develop new schools and introduce innovations that leverage technology to provide for more personalized instruction and better prepare students for college and careers.