School Challenges

Encouraging Innovation in New York City

We run Innovation Challenges to guide schools through a structured process of discovery that develops creative solutions from the ground-up, drawing on the optimism and ideas of students, families, teachers, and the broader school community.

iZone also supports a community of educators who collaborate to rethink traditional school models.

Explore our Innovation Challenges and event opportunities here.

Essential Allies Challenge

In November 2013, we launched the Essential Allies Challenge in collaboration with the Division of Family and Community Engagement to support iZone schools in developing strategies to strengthen the relationship between schools and families. 22 schools across 12 districts are now designing and testing their ideas, including:
  • New communication tools co-designed with families
  • Bringing schools to families by hosting pop-up events in the community
  • Using videos to teach families how to provide academic coaching to their children
Participating schools receive financial support, coaching, and access to a community of like-minded peers working to accelerate progress toward meaningful and effective family engagement.


The two-phase challenge launched on October 13, 2013 and concluded in May 2014.