School of One



School of One brings together technology and design elements to provide each student with personalized math instruction

  • What does the model look like?

    • Middle school students receive tailored math instruction in eight different modalities, three of which are virtual
    • Class is 80-90 minutes long, allowing each student to participate in two modules
    • Classroom is divided into sections based on the learning modality 
  • How does it work?

    • Complex algorithm uses a broad range of data points to determine individual skill needs and learning style preferences and assigns students to modules accordingly
  • How is it used?

    • Three middle schools currently use School of One to power their math instruction; the model relies on a 1:1 device ratio and a flexible teacher staffing model
  • What is the background?

    • Started within the NYC Department of Education’s Innovation Zone in 2009
    • Many team members of the original School of One project left for New Classrooms to create their a national model called Teach to One
    • School of One is now powered by the Teach to One model, which is in 5 NYC schools, one DC school and two Chicago schools

In addition to the use of technology, School of One made significant changes to its internal design to make its new model possible

  • Scheduling

    • Extended blocks for math class allow students to participate in two different modules per class period, creating added opportunities for one-on-one teacher instruction
  • Staffing Model

    • Flexible staffing model with differentiated roles for teachers and teaching aides enables teachers to focus on delivering instruction to small groups while aides monitor group, individual and online work. Teachers receive feedback based upon observation and undergo lengthy training programs to improve instructional methods
  • Physical Space

    • One large room for math with different sections for each type of instruction allows for simultaneous learning through different modules
  • Procurement

    • Content is purchased on an innovative lesson-by-lesson basis, increasing variety and access for students




What's New

Students receive targeted lessons, teachers focus on areas of highest impact, and data is transparent and accessible

  • Students receive instruction based on their individual skill gaps and preferred learning style

    • Students follow individualized schedules and learn concepts in multiple ways (e.g., group lesson, individual practice, 1:1 instruction)
    • Daily exit assessments determine whether students have achieved mastery
    • Depending on performance, students either repeat the day’s lesson in different ways or move on to a new set of skills determined by the learning map
    • Students can check progress and review online lessons remotely
  • Teachers focus on student-facing instruction in the areas where they are most impactful

    • Each teacher’s daily schedule of who and what they will teach is configured based on past student performance; teachers have the ability to override the algorithm if they favor a different approach
    • Each teacher focuses on teaching a subset of skills 
    • Teachers record real-time feedback on students using iPads
  • Students, parents, teachers and administrators all have access to student data

    • Online student profiles are updated with data on performance and real time feedback, and made available anytime, anywhere


What's Working

School of One aspires to improve student engagement and the quality of student-teacher interactions, and use student data more effectively

  • Students can be more engaged while learning because of tailored pace and content

    • Content is delivered based on the specific skill gaps each student has through eight different modalities, selected based on how students learn best; three modalities are computer based; the other five involve teachers, other students and independent work
    • School isn’t boring anymore” –Student
    • This is a game changer… we are applying different types of teaching styles and modalities to maximize the learning of every individual student” – Principal
  • More teacher time is spent interacting with students, rather than planning and assembling

    • All materials for instruction are put together and placed in classroom bins in advance; lesson plans and assignments for the following day are emailed to each teacher every night
    • Teachers hold new weekly meetings to discuss pedagogy and instructional method
    • The algorithm allows us to teach; we’re doing exactly what we were trained to do” – Teacher
    • Teachers are communicating more than ever about what works in instruction” – Teacher
  • Increased collection of meaningful student data allows for visibility into performance and drives lessons

    • Performance is updated in real time and is instantly accessible inside and outside of the classroom
    • When parents come into my office, I can pull up the dashboard and immediately see how their children are doing… there’s no guesswork involved” – Principal



  • Content

    • Students use a curriculum that draws on the best of traditional providers, digital providers and interactive virtual tutors
  • Assessment

    • Student data is fed into a recommendation engine, which directs teacher instruction and module assignments based on performance data
  • Personalization

    • Student data from daily assessments and summative evaluations is aggregated in central dashboard and made accessible to parents, students, teachers and administrators 
  • Development

    • Online portal offers suggestions to teachers on how each lesson can be taught and provides instructional materials for each module
  • Delivery

    • Student access to computers (1:1 ratio), tablets for teachers and classroom teaching tools make lesson customization and live data collection possible



See It: 

Robin Hood video only

Robin Hood video only