STATEN ISLAND, NY – New York City is offering high school students citywide a new way of learning – through hybrid and virtual schooling pathways.
Schools Chancellor David Banks announced Thursday the new Department of Education (DOE) high school program called “A School Without Walls Program,” which gives students the independence of remote learning, while grounding their education in an array of individualized, interdisciplinary, project-based. learning and internship opportunities.
“The pandemic underscored the importance of reimagining the student experience for our children, giving them the opportunity to freely pursue their interests and passions as part of their high school journey. It is up to us as educators to meet students where they are with opportunities that empower them in their learning, ” said Banks. We closely collaborated with students to design “A School Without Walls Program” and we are taking lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic to reimagine school using innovative tools and practices. We are thrilled to be able to offer these new pathways in response to what we heard from our students and families. ”
The program was established in close collaboration with students and received support from the DOE’s partners at NYC Outward Bound Schools.
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
It moves beyond the classroom and gives students the freedom to design their own path to earn a high school diploma. They will be able to experience New York City and their local communities as their classroom by way of internships, service learning, and place-based learning initiatives, according to the DOE.
Interested students will choose between a hybrid learning model and a virtual model – with 100 seats available in each distinct pathway. Both pathways will be housed in DOE facilities with teachers providing synchronous and asynchronous instruction from a fully equipped and operational classroom.
All participating students will have access to these locations and to the resources available at brick-and-mortar schools, such as counseling services. They will receive a laptop to use at home and can visit the school site to troubleshoot any technical issues, according to the DOE. Students also have the option to participate in virtual and in-person extracurricular activities, including arts and music programming, sports, and interest-based clubs and electives.
The DOE said it’s currently working closely with the New York State Education Department (NYSED) to finalize necessary details to make these programs full schools that can graduate students. In the meantime, students will be officially enrolled in a traditional high school while participating in the program.
According to the DOE, the Hybrid pathway blends in-person and remote learning opportunities for incoming ninth-grade high school students. It supports students’ socio-emotional wellness while also prioritizing individualized academic support both in-person and remotely.
Students in the hybrid pathway will attend classes in person on a half-day schedule at 131 Livingston St. in Brooklyn and will then participate remotely by engaging in both synchronous (live) and asynchronous (at their own pace) learning, the DOE stated.
The Virtual Pathway will offer a fully remote program using an interdisciplinary, project-based model, along with deep and meaningful community building to ensure wellness and success in a virtual environment, the DOE stated.
To support both the academic and socio-emotional needs of incoming ninth-graders, the virtual pathway will offer: daily synchronous attendance and advisory, daily synchronous humanities or STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) sessions, and instructional sessions for social studies, science, health, lab, art / music, and elective courses.
Applications for rising ninth-graders opened Thursday.
Families can apply via their MySchools accounts, at myschools.nyc, through Wednesday, July 6.
To apply, interested families and students should select “A School Without Walls Program” hybrid or virtual pathway by starring it in their MySchools accounts. Families will be notified of lottery results by mid-July and waitlist offers will be made to families on a rolling basis.
The announcement to introduce new virtual schools was made as New York City emerges from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic as a way to reengage young people after students learning remotely and in a hybrid fashion.
Students will be able to participate in the program this coming fall.
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