Could remote learning be here to stay in NYC? Maybe—if NYC Schools Chancellor David Banks gets his way. The chancellor announced on Thursday A School Without Walls, a NYC Department of Education program that offers high-school students hybrid and virtual learning options.
Right now, the program has only 200 seats available. Rising ninth-grade students have the opportunity to apply now through July 6. Those accepted would start virtual and hybrid learning this fall.
“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,” Banks said. “We closely collaborated with students to design A School Without Walls program and we are taking the lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic to reimagine school using innovative tools and practices.”
What the Program Entails
According to the chancellor, the program gives students freedom to design their own path to earning a high school diploma. Students will be encouraged to experience New York City and their local communities as their classroom. This will be done by way of internships, service learning and place-based learning initiatives.
“As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is abundantly clear that our education system needs to work for our young people in a way that it never has before. This virtual academy is about giving our students the freedom in their learning to explore their interests, learn outside of the box, lean into their talents, and use our city’s incredible resources as their classroom,” NYC Mayor Eric Adams said.
CHECK OUT | The NYC DOE 2022-2023 Public School Calendar
Two Pathways for A School Without Walls
There are two pathways to choose from within the program. Each pathway has 100 seats available. Both pathways will be physically housed in DOE facilities. Teachers will provide instruction from a classroom. Participating students will have access to these locations and resources available at brick-and-mortar schools. Students will receive a laptop to use at home and can visit the school site to troubleshoot any technological issues.
- The Hybrid Pathway: The hybrid pathway blends in-person and remote learning opportunities. This model supports students’ socio-emotional wellness while also prioritizing individualized academic support both in-person and remotely, according to the DOE. Students 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 live and at-their-own-pace learning.
- The Virtual Pathway: The virtual pathway will be a fully remote program. The virtual pathway will offer: daily synchronous attendance and advisory, daily synchronous humanities or STEM sessions, and instructional sessions for social studies, science, health, lab, art/music, and elective courses.
Students will still be enrolled in traditional high school while participating in the program. The DOE said it is working with the state on finalizing details to make the programs full schools that can graduate students.
NYC Outward Bound Schools, which operates a citywide network of public schools, partnered with the DOE on creating the program.
How to Apply to A School Without Walls
To apply, interested families and students should select A School Without Walls program hybrid or virtual pathway by starring it in their MySchools accounts. The deadline for application is July 6. Families will be notified of lottery results by mid-July. Waitlist offers will be made to families on a rolling basis.
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