Attendance, the bane of many schools that serve a community of mostly poor minority kids, is not a problem at Global Technology Preparatory, a new middle school in Harlem, reports the Gotham Gazette. “Tabitha used to hate to go to school, now she loves it,” said Maria Ortiz of her granddaughter Tabitha Colon, who transferred out of a Catholic school to attend Global Tech. As its name implies, this school relies on technology to capture the attention of its students and give them a sense of responsibility and empowerment, as well as to teach academic subjects, such as math and English language arts, in new and more engaging ways. With this approach, Global Tech is a poster child for one of New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein’s latest experiments, the so-called Innovation Zone, or iZone. This effort seeks to use new approaches to education, including more flexible class schedules that extend learning throughout the day and calendar year, and digital technology to improve student engagement and performance. This school year, Global Tech is one of 10 pilot schools in the iZone, which will be expanded to 81 public schools in the 2010-11 school year. The education department is hoping that Global Tech and other schools like it can finally do something to improve middle school achievement and solve one of the most intractable problems in the city’s education system…

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