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Integration and Innovation Initiative (i3)

The Integration and Innovation Initiative (i3) is a public engagement and technical assistance resource for schools, districts, and communities in the United States working to dismantle and diminish the various impacts of educational segregation. Our work seeks to dismantle concentrations of privilege and vulnerability through innovative approaches to student assignment; support the creation of inclusive and culturally sustaining spaces; deconstruct discipline practices that disproportionately impact students of color; and invest in culturally sustaining hiring practices that ensure equitable representations of faculty and staff. We see the work of desegregation as separate but related to the goal of integration.    


We do this by: 

  • Supporting community engagement, policy design, implementation and progress monitoring for school integration initiatives 
  • Developing tools, definitions, frameworks, and other resources to support school integration
  • Produce research and data on patterns of segregation and desegregation

Our Framework and Definitions

Desegregation: Uprooting the tools of segregation that facilitate separation. We do this by breaking down structural barriers to access like exclusionary enrollment policies and racist zoning and district lines; and replacing them with intentional policies designed to support diversity, access, and mobility.

Integration: Integration is about what happens inside of the school community. It is about the movement of resources and opportunity, pedagogy and curriculum, and school cultural practices towards inclusiveness, anti-racism, and universal design. We support our partners in building and sustaining these conditions. 

Designed by New York City high school students, and evoking the 1976 Green v. Kent County Supreme Court “Green Factors,” the 5 R’s is a framework for analyzing the impacts of segregation, and a pathway for building truly integrated schools. This framework was used to create the D15 Diversity Plan, and was adopted and used by the NYC School Diversity Advisory Group (SDAG) in 2019. We have used this framework to support schools and districts of various sizes from New York City to Salem, Oregon, to  Sausalito, California in designing plans for desegregation and integration. 

black girl smiling with group of teenagers

Using this framework, and a participatory public engagement approach, we support schools/districts/communities in implementing a community planning process to design comprehensive integration plans that can include: 

  • Equitable student assignment policies
  • Culturally Responsive Training 
  • Restorative Justice Practices 
  • Teacher Diversity Initiatives 
  • School Equity Audits 

Our center also provides targeted support to schools and districts depending on their needs and capacities.

We support our partners through: 

  • Policy Development and Design 
  • Public Engagement and Messaging 
  • Coaching and Advisement 
  • Youth Leadership and Advocacy Training 

Technical Assistance:

  • Provide applied research support for root causes of segregation
  • Assist in the development and design of comprehensive integration and equity plans/strategies 
  • Coordinate support services across NYU Metro Center 
  • Support implementation and progress monitoring for all integration plans 
  • Develop tools, definitions, frameworks, and other resources to support integration in NYC and beyond. 
  • Produce research and data on patterns of segregation and desegregation
  • Integration Resource Hub 

Our Team

Matt Gonzales

Director, Education Justice Research and Organizing Collaborative (EJROC)