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Faculty & Research

Elizabeth City

Senior Lecturer on Education

Elizabeth City

Degree:  Ed.D., Harvard University, (2007)
Email:  [javascript protected email address]
Phone:  617.496.1076
Vitae/CV:   Elizabeth City.pdf
Office:  Gutman 433
Office Hours Contact:  Email the Faculty Assistant to set up the appointment
Faculty Assistant:  Cherise Kenner


Liz City is senior lecturer on education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. City has served as a teacher, instructional coach, principal, and consultant, in each role focused on helping all children, and the educators who work with them, realize their full potential. City's work is a combination of pragmatic: "How can we do our work better every day for children now?" — and imaginative — "What might learning and the systems that support learning look like in the not-too-distant future?" City fell in love with teaching in a closet-turned-classroom in St. Petersburg, Russia. She still loves teaching, and sees leadership as a continuous act of learning and teaching. From her early passion for literacy as a middle school Humanities teacher to her current work in developing leaders, common themes in City's work are collaboration, evidence-based discussion, asking the right questions, thinking and acting strategically, and learning through doing. 

She has authored/co-authored many publications, including: Meeting Wise: Making the Most of Collaborative Time for Educators (2014); Data Wise, Revised and Expanded Edition: A Step-by-Step Guide to Using Assessment Results to Improve Teaching and Learning (2013); Strategy in Action: How School Systems Can Support Powerful Learning and Teaching (2009); Instructional Rounds in Education: A Network Approach to Improving Teaching and Learning (2009); Resourceful Leadership: Tradeoffs and Tough Decisions on the Road to School Improvement (2008); and The Teacher's Guide to Leading Student-Centered Discussions: Talking about Texts in the Classroom (2006).

Click here to see a full list of Elizabeth City's courses.

Areas of Expertise
Sponsored Projects


Improving Early Literacy at Scale through Personalized Diagnosis and Intervention (2018-2022)
Chan- Zuckerberg Foundation

“Personalized learning” is an emerging movement in education, generating both optimism and skepticism in the field. We are optimistic because of the enormous possibilities implicit in helping every learner reach his or her full potential by leveraging advances in technology, but we also recognize challenges to large-scale change due to the thin evidence base and constraining policy and practice environments. We share with many in education a deep commitment to the principles of equity and excellence motivating much of the move to personalized learning.Building on a joint planning process begun in January 2017, the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) and MIT are pleased to submit this proposal for a $30 million joint initiative to improve early literacy through personalized diagnosis and intervention. Because we believe that personalized learning will take root and expand only if it can make demonstrable progress in addressing pressing education challenges, we will focus on applying principles of personalization toward the goal that all children achieve mastery of foundational literacy skills by the end of third grade.


Improving Early Literacy through Personalized Learning (2018-2022)
Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

“Personalized learning” is an emerging movement in education, generating both optimism and skepticism in the field. Reading is essential for all forms of learning and education, but many students complete elementary school with inadequate reading ability, and there has been little progress in the last few decades in helping these students gain necessary reading proficiency. A student who fails to read adequately in first grade has a 90 percent probability of reading poorly in fourth grade, and a 75 percent probability of reading poorly in high school. Supportive interventions can help some students, but these interventions are often implemented too late (after years of reading failure, despite evidence that taking action is most effective in kindergarten and first grade) and haphazardly (schools and teachers often do not know what can work for various types of students). We want to ensure that, through personalized diagnosis and interventions, every child learns to read well enough by the end of third grade so that they can subsequently read to learn. We will engage in a rigorous scientific approach to personalized learning for literacy that is practical for scaling across many schools and families. This approach will be innovative in its integration of personalized screening measures that validly identify different kinds of learners; personalized educational interventions that are matched to the needs of individual students, in and out of school; and personalized resources that build the capacity of educators and parents, and the systems in which they work, to adopt and integrate these personalized tools and measures. Our goal is to produce a widely used screener coupled with a set of targeted interventions, as well as a platform for educators and families to access the screener, interventions, and supports they need to in turn support children’s early literacy development. Additionally, we will be deliberately designing for scale from the beginning, with an eye towards products and processes that over time will accelerate both early literacy learning and initiatives to personalize learning in other domains.

Boudett, K. P., & City, E. A. (2014). Meeting wise: Making the most of collaborative time for educators. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.,(2014)

Boudett, K. P., & City, E. A. (2013, May/June). Lessons from the Data Wise Project: Three habits of mind for building a collaborative culture. Harvard Education Letter, 29(3).,(2013)

City, E. A. (2013, April). Leadership in challenging times. Educational Leadership, 70(7).,(2013)

Boudett, K. P., City, E. A., & Murnane, R. J. (Eds.). (2013). Data wise, revised and expanded edition: A step-by-step guide to using assessment results to improve teaching and learning. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.,(2013)

City, E. A., Elmore, R. F., & Lynch, D. (2012). Redefining education: The future of learning is not the future of schooling. In J. Mehta, F. M. Hess, & R. B. Schwartz (Eds.), The futures of school reform (pp. 151-176). Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.,(2012)

Elmore, R. F., & City, E. A. (2011, May 16). Using technology to move beyond schools. Education Week.,(2011)

City, E. A. (2011, October). Learning from instructional rounds. Educational Leadership, 69(2).,(2011)

Boudett, K. P., City, E. A., & Russell, M. K. (2010). Key elements of observing practice: A Data-Wise DVD and facilitatorÂ’s guide. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.,(2010)

City, E. A. (2010, November). Will unbundling provide the best education for all? Phi Delta Kappan, 92(3).,(2010)

City, E. A., Elmore, R. F., Fiarman, S. E., & Teitel, L. (2009). Instructional rounds in education: A network approach to improving teaching and learning. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.,(2009)

Curtis, R. E., & City, E. A. (2009). Strategy in action: How school systems can support powerful learning and teaching. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.,(2009)

Curtis, R. E., & City, E. A. (2009, November/December). The real race to the top. Harvard Education Letter, 25(6).,(2009)

City, E. A. (2008). Resourceful leadership: Tradeoffs and tough decisions on the road to school improvement. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.,(2008)

Elmore, R. F., & City, E. A. (2007). The road to school improvement. In Walser, N. & Chauncey, C. (Eds.), Spotlight on leadership and school change. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press. Also in (2007, May/June). Harvard Education Letter, 23(3).,(2007)

City, E. A. (2007, September/October). Is coaching the best use of resources? Harvard Education Letter, 23(5).,(2007)

Hale, M., & City, E. A. (2006). The teacherÂ’s guide to leading student-centered discussions: Talking about texts in the classroom. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.,(2006)

News Stories
Professional Education Programs