The Public Policy Lab has formed a partnership with the New York City Department of Education’s Innovation Zone (iZone) and the Office of School Enrollment to explore opportunities for improving the high-school admissions process. The New York City Department of Education is the largest school district in the country, with more than 1.1 million students and 1,700 schools. Each year over 75,000 students participate in a complex school-selection and application process to gain admission to city public high schools.
During the spring and summer of 2013, we’ll be investigating the high-school admissions process through the experiences of students, families, administrative staff, and policymakers. Ultimately, we hope to inform the development of supports that assist students — particularly those from low-income and non-English-speaking families — in making more informed decisions when selecting a high school. We’ll also use this initiative to test approaches for iZone’s ongoing use of design-based innovation methods.
We are currently no longer accepting applications from professionals interested in participating in this project. We will award three fellowships, for design research, visual design, and project strategy.
To begin, we’ll focus on project planning, goal setting, and team-building activities. The core project team will include DOE staff, private-sector professionals who receive fellowships from the Public Policy Lab, and executive leadership from both project partners.
The project team will then carry out a range of ethnographic and co-creative exercises with users to capture their needs, preferences, and lived experience. We will synthesize and visualize these insights, create preliminary conceptual designs, and identify opportunities for improving service delivery through additional co-design, rapid prototyping, and testing.
In our final phase, we’ll compile and revise our research findings and recommendations, then create a presentation and report (or other artifacts) to share internally and externally. Look for our findings to be shared in Q3 of 2013.