The complacent formalism of schools, its uncritical and therefore uncreative spirit…must be replaced by an honest hospitality to experimentation.
- Elisabeth Irwin, founder of LREI

List of 1 members.

  • Mark Silberberg 

    Director of Learning & Innovation
    212-477-5316, ext. 221
    University of Pennsylvania - B.A.
    Harvard University - M.A.
Everything that happens at LREI derives from our mission-focused commitment to learning and the “honest hospitality to experimentation” that is one of our founding principles. Since 1921, we have been asking questions like, “What is best for learners?” and the constantly evolving answers have allowed us to create an environment where learning is relevant, impactful and future facing. Our innovative approach allows us to meet students where they are, to guide them as they become the people they need to be and to prepare them to take action in the present and to be prepared to embrace the future that lies ahead of them.

Elisabeth Irwin regarded the school as a kind of laboratory environment in which teachers’ practice would be constantly informed by theory, where teaching would be accompanied by close observation, reflection and collaborative assessment. She and her colleagues saw student learning itself as fundamentally experimental – encountering the real world, making sense of it, manipulating it, leaving an impact on it. This process would draw upon the student’s curiosity, purpose and sense of adventure, require analysis, synthesis and evaluation, and ultimately produce the capacity and desire for intelligent action.

That spirit continues to guide learning and innovation at LREI today.
The Innovation Institute at LREI supports school and community-based learning and innovation initiatives that leverage the power of progressive pedagogy. This work is grounded in the values of experience, inquiry, collaboration, and growth.

The Innovation Institute supports the cultivation of mission-aligned learning experiences at LREI, seeks to develop connections with other schools and learning partners, and supports the professional growth of teachers within and outside of the LREI community.

This work is achieved through ongoing collaboration with partners on learning experience design, iteration, and reflection. Consistent with our origins as a laboratory school, the Innovation Institute supports projects imagined and created by LREI faculty and administration. These projects foster ongoing inquiry at LREI and seek to strengthen relationships with our other learning partners.  The work of the Innovation Institute is undertaken in the spirit of creativity, collaboration and consequence.

Recent Projects

List of 6 items.

  • INSPIRED conversations about learning, innovation and creative change

    INSPIRED brings together designers and leaders of learning experience who are engaged in transformative work from across the range of NYSAIS schools to share best practices and build a community of learners.

    INSPIRED convenes educators who given the various constraints of time and place might not otherwise be able to connect in person. We seek to nuture a community of  educator leaders who engage daily in innovative and creative change focused work that has learning as its primary goal. We see these conversations as a way to build a network of practitioners and establish deeper connections across NYSAIS schools.

    Cick here to learn more about INSPIRED Conversations.
  • Deep DIVE: A Studio in Designing for Innovation and a Vision for Education

    Deep DIVE is a three-day design thinking studio focused on educational innovation. In its third year, the experience is a collaboration between the Innovation Institute at LREI and The Design Gym. The studio provides teachers, school staff, and administrators with an opportunity to learn design thinking by doing design thinking. Participants will address and take action on important school mission–focused opportunities and challenges over the course of the three days. Participants will work individually and collaboratively to move their self-identified design challenge through the stages of the design thinking process. 
  • Design for Change

    The Design for Change global movement was founded in 2009, by world renowned educator, Kiran Sethi. She started the movement with a conviction that if young people were empowered and made to feel that they could take matters into their hands, they would change the world for the better. Kiran relied heavily on her background as an Industrial Designer to pilot the very first design-thinking guide for young people across India.

    LREI has partnered with Design for Change to frame social justice projects in the lower and middle school programs. LREI faculty also serve on the Design for Change Advisory Board.

    Click below to view our most recent submission.

  • Faculty Travel Grants

    Travel grants are awarded each year to expereicned faculty as a way to support on-going professional and personal growth. The travel grant is intended to allow for the pursuit of an interest or passion with the understanding that the recipient’s experience will enrich what he or she already does as a professional and member of the LREI community. Click here to read about our teachers' expereinces.
  • From Prototype to Pitch: New Pathways in Design, Maker and Entrepreneurship Education

    This publication celebrates best practices, exemplar projects, ideas, and frameworks that schools are exploring at the leading edge of design, maker and entrepreneurship education as well as the emerging paradigm of transformative teaching and learning in the 21st century. Click here to read the chapter by LREI third grade teachers "Design and Making as a Means to Understand the Past."
  • Young Composers & Improvisors Workshop

    YCIW is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization dedicated towards promoting music composition in the school classroom.  Through the combination of a progressive curriculum, technological resources, online composer mentoring and live performance our goal is to help every kind of learner regardless of experience engage in music composition as a basic part of her education. The YCIW curriculum program, composer mentoring and live performance is a free resource and service for NYC Public Schools and is being impllemnted in other independent, public and charter schools across the country. We believe that the larger and more inclusive our community of teachers and learners, the greater the experience will be for all participants.

    YCIW began as a progressive curriculum project at the Little Red School House & Elisabeth Irwin High School (LREI) in New York City in 2010. Through its strong commitment to progressive values LREI is a leading institution for developing cutting edge pedagogy.  YCIW was made possible because of the supportive, experimental and visionary faculty and staff at LREI.

    Learn more about YCIW here.