Incentive Prizes Target Middle-School Math Achievement

School leaders in New York City are soliciting the best ideas for technology-based approaches to help middle school students excel in math through the Gap App Challenge, announced by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott earlier this month. The competition, which will award $104,000 in prizes and services in June, is part of the city’s education department’s Innovation Zone (iZone), a consortium of schools committed to personalizing learning. Its efforts are supported through a $3 million Investing in Innovation (i3) Development grant from the Office of Innovation and Improvement. i3 Development grants support promising but relatively untested projects with high potential for impact on student achievement.

The inclusion of incentive prizes by NYC schools leaders in the iZone program can “yield a high return on the dollar and can reach beyond the usual suspects to increase the number of entrepreneurs and citizens tackling a problem,” notes Cristin Dorgelo, assistant director for Grand Challenges at the White House Office of Science and Tech Policy in a recent blog. The innovation challenge devised by the iZone “is a model that can be replicated by other school districts across the country.”