Exploring Innovative Schools and Policy Supports that Prepare College and Career Ready Students – New York, NY

Exploring Innovative Schools and Policy Supports that Prepare College and Career Ready Students – New York, NY
Exploring Innovative Schools and Policy Supports that Prepare College and Career Ready Students – New York, NY


The goal of this study tour was for participants to learn about schools that incorporate rigorous academics, deeper learning experiences, higher order skills, and innovative and effective practices to create personalized learning experiences and prepare students for college and career success. Participants heard from, and discussed with, high-level education policy leaders in an effort to develop an understanding of the policy conditions, such as capacity building, professional development, funding, Common Core-aligned curriculum, instruction, and assessments, etc., that will allow support for innovative approaches, such as those featured in the site visits to schools, to expand.


They visited two schools in New York City that are using different models to provide rich academic learning in personalized settings. Through conversations with students, teachers and administrators participants witnessed first-hand how instruction, assessment and school culture can differ from that in traditional school settings, and how these schools are striving to promote mastery of core academic content; critical thinking and problem solving; working collaboratively; communicating effectively; and students’ ability to learn how to learn.

Study Tour Resources

Study Tour Agenda

What is Deeper Learning?


 New York State College and Career Readiness Efforts

New York City IZone Initiative Information

Asia Society International Studies School Network Information


Expeditionary Learning Network Information

  • Video of Today Show at WHEELS
  • Video of Student Advisory Crew
  • Video of Student led family conferences

Presenter Biographies

Scott Hartl is President/ CEO of Expeditionary Learning (EL).  EL partners with school districts and charter boards to open new schools and transform existing schools, pre-K-12, in all settings – urban, rural, and suburban. EL’s model challenges students to think critically and take active roles in their classrooms and communities, resulting in higher achievement and greater school engagement. EL is developing the Common Core literacy curriculum for Grades 4, 5 & 6 in New York State. EL provides schools with professional development, coaching, and on-line tools to improve all aspects of schooling. There are 165 schools 4,000 teachers, and 49,000 students in EL’s national network. Since its inception in 1992, Scott’s seminal roles have included: EL’s first School Designer; Northeast Regional Director; Director of Research and Evaluation; and Director of Strategic Planning and Partnerships. Scott’s work has helped validate EL’s efficacy and demonstrate EL students’ strong results on standardized tests and high levels of teacher and parent satisfaction.  As President/ CEO, his ability to support schools in developing a culture of academic rigor while teaching character, good citizenship and environmental stewardship is deepened.  Scott graduated from Marlboro College and Union University. His administrative certification is through Massachusetts Elementary Schools Principals Association. Scott and his family live near Amherst, Massachusetts.

Anthony Jackson leads Asia Society’s Education Department which strives to enable all students to graduate high school prepared for college, for work in the global economy, and for 21st century global citizenship.  Over the past ten years, the Society has become a national and internationally recognized leader in stimulating program and policy reforms to advance the growing educational response to globalization.  Jackson oversees the Education Department’s multi-faceted approach which includes the International Studies Schools Network,  a network of over 30 globally focused schools around the United States, the Chinese language initiative which provides national leadership in creating effective approaches for teaching and partnerships to support learning of Chinese language and culture; development of curriculum materials, professional development and other learning resources to support development of global competence in school and afterschool settings and other major programs.  Trained in both developmental psychology and education, Jackson is one of the nation’s leading experts on secondary school reform and adolescent development.  Jackson worked on Capitol Hill as a senior staff member on the Select Committee on Children, Youth and Families, and later directed the Carnegie Corporation Task Force on the Education of Young Adolescents which produced the ground breaking report Turning Points: Educating Adolescents in the 21st Century..  He also co-authored the follow-up blueprint Turning Points 2000, a seminal volume on secondary  school reform.  His most recent work is Educating for Global Competence:  Preparing Our Youth to Engage the World.


As New York State Education Commissioner, Dr. John B. King, Jr. oversees more than 7,000 public and independent elementary and secondary schools (serving 3.1 million students), and hundreds of other educational institutions across New York State including higher education, libraries, and museums.   Dr. King is a strong voice for education reform, and he was a driving force in New York’s successful Race to the Top application.  A former high school teacher and middle school principal, Dr. King has earned a national reputation for his vision and commitment to education reform.  Dr. King earned a B.A from Harvard University, an M.A. from Teachers College, Columbia University, a J.D. from Yale Law School, and an Ed.D. from Teachers College, Columbia University.




Dennis M. Walcott is Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education. As Chancellor, Walcott oversees a system of almost 1,700 schools with 1.1 million students, 136,000 employees, and a $23 billion budget. Building on Mayor Bloomberg’s Children First reforms, Chancellor Walcott is committed to cultivating teacher talent; expanding school choices for families so that students attend schools that best meet their individual needs; creating strong partnerships with parents; and preparing students to graduate from high school and succeed in college and careers.  Prior to his appointment as Chancellor, Walcott served as Mayor Bloomberg’s Deputy Mayor for Education and Community Development for more than eight years. In that capacity, he oversaw and coordinated the operations of the Department of Education, the New York City Housing Authority, the Department of Youth and Community Development and the Mayor’s Office of Adult Education. He also reviewed the activities of the New York City School Construction Authority, City University of New York, and the City University Construction Fund. Mr. Walcott was responsible for collaborating with community-based organizations citywide and coordinating policies concerning youth programs and adult education. He currently serves on the board of the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation, and previously served as Co-Chair of the Mayor’s Commission for Construction Opportunity.


As a kindergarten teacher in the childcare center where he began his career, Chancellor Walcott recognized the need for a male role model in many of the children’s lives, and in 1975, he founded the Frederick Douglass Brother-to-Brother program, a mentoring program for young boys. Before joining the Bloomberg Administration in 2002, he was the President and Chief Executive Officer of the New York Urban League where for more than 12 years he expanded educational and youth service programs including Jeter’s Leaders and Bridge to Brotherhood programs, Healthy Start, Northern Manhattan Perinatal Partnership, and the 140th Street Building Block Program. He was previously the Executive Director of the Harlem Dowling Westside Center where he expanded services to children and families.

Chancellor Walcott graduated from New York City public schools in Queens, including P.S. 36, I.S. 192, and Francis Lewis High School. A lifelong Southeast Queens resident, Chancellor Walcott graduated from the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut with a Bachelor’s degree and a Master of Education in 1973 and 1974, respectively, and in 1980, received his Master of Social Work from Fordham University. He has served on numerous boards including Carver Bank Corporation, Primary Care Development Corporation, and the former New York City Board of Education. He has also served as an adjunct professor of social work at York College and as a talk show radio host. Chancellor Walcott and his wife Denise have four children: Dejeanne, Dana, Shatisha and Timmy; and two grandsons, Justin and Gavin.


David A. Weiner is the Deputy Chancellor for Talent, Labor and Innovation at the New York City Department of Education. Mr. Weiner oversees all policies and programs concerning teacher effectiveness and recruitment, system-wide innovation, labor relations negotiations and human resources.  During his tenure in this role Mr. Weiner has led the implementation of a new teacher effectiveness system in 250 schools, which dramatically alters the manner by which NYC teachers are evaluated, supported and developed through their careers.  Mr. Weiner has also driven the expansion the Innovation Zone (iZone), which has brought personalized learning and innovative practices to over 250 schools.   Prior to returning to New York City as a Deputy Chancellor, Mr. Weiner served as the Chief Academic Officer and Associate Superintendent of Academics and Accountability for the School District of Philadelphia, as a principal in San Francisco and in Brooklyn, as an elementary school teacher. He has also been a lecturer at Teachers College, Columbia University and the University of California at Berkeley.   Mr. Weiner has an undergraduate degree from Trinity College, Masters Degrees in education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Teachers College at Columbia University, and is currently working towards a doctoral degree in education from Teachers College


College of Staten Island HS Overview»

New York City iZone Overview»


The American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF), a nonprofit, nonpartisan professional development organization based in Washington, DC, provides learning opportunities for policy leaders, practitioners, and researchers working on youth and education issues at the national, state, and local levels. AYPF events and publications are made possible by contributions from philanthropic foundations. For a complete list, click here.