Innovate NYC Schools

Connecting startups and educators to inspire new solutions

With the support of Innovate NYC Schools, educators and startups gain a new understanding of each others’ work.

Educators learn about products that can help them solve real challenges. And edtech professionals learn how to support the education community.

We think when startups partner with educators, the best edtech tools are created.

School Choice Design Challenge

Every year, nearly 80,000 eighth-grade students apply to New York City’s 400 high schools. This process can be pretty grueling, but luckily it’s about to get a lot easier--thanks to iZone’s School Choice Design Competition (SCDC).

To help families and students better navigate the high school application process, the iZone invited six edtech companies to design and create more user-friendly applications that would allow families to easily compare school options. The School Choice Design Challenge (SCDC) was one of the first instances in the country where a public school district released data via an "application program interface"  (API). API allows software programs to talk to each other, making school-level data easily available for our software developers to build out their school choice solutions. The app deemed most helpful by a panel of New York City high school students was created by FindTheBest, a 4-year-old edtech company from California. FindTheBest allows students to easily make side-by-side comparisons of the city's high schools based on a variety of characteristics -- from parent reviews to SAT scores to morning start times.
Having choice is great; making the selection is not. Guidance Counselor
Other apps developed as part of the contest allowed students to:
  • Create their own avatars,
  • Search for all schools on a particular subway line,
  • Share lists of preferred schools with friends that can be worked on collaboratively,
  • Attend live-streamed webinars with high school staff, and
  • Use a "recommendation engine" that asks a series of questions and provides a list of "friendly suggestions" based on responses.


The SCDC launched on September 17, 2013 and concluded November 12, 2013 with a public demo night.