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Applications for the New York Virtual School are now open

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Open applications for urban a new virtual high school programwhich will serve only 200 ninth-graders next school year, Chancellor David Banks announced Thursday.

The program, called “School Without Walls,” is designed to provide students with individual distance learning, internships, and service-based learning.

Adolescent ninth graders can apply using a MySchools account. They will be able to choose between hybrid or virtual models, each offering 100 seats. The deadline is July 6, and students will be notified of the lottery results by mid-July.

The new program may be appealing to families who still feel uncomfortable attending private classes during a coronavirus pandemic. But city officials have not said whether certain students will benefit from the lottery.

All enrolled students will receive a laptop, and teachers will give live instruction as well as pre-recorded or asynchronous lessons from campus. Students will have access to resources at these schools, including counseling services, technical assistance, and extracurricular activities.

Students who choose the hybrid model will attend classes in person for half the day and participate in distance learning for the second half. Personal classes will be held in the building of the Department of Education at 131 Livingston St. in Brooklyn.

Meanwhile, the virtual model is completely remote, both with live lessons and with self-study.

Banks said the city collaborated with high school students in developing the program using the lessons of the pandemic.

“The pandemic has stressed the importance of rethinking the student experience for our children, giving them the opportunity to freely pursue their interests and hobbies as part of the school journey,” Banks said in a statement.

This fall, New York joins the country’s other 20 largest school districts, offering a remote option. Half of these areas, such as New York, offer more face-to-face virtual learning than before the pandemic, Chalkbeat previously foundwhich illustrates the impact of an online school, even if questions remain about how effective such programs are.

A spokesman for the city’s education department said teachers would model traditional high schools and base the curriculum on New York standards. “The courses will rely heavily on interdisciplinary project-based learning with additional support for math and science,” the spokesman said.

The city has not yet announced all the details related to the curriculum, however virtual open days for interested students will be held on June 29, June 30 and July 5.

Tom Liam Lynch, who manages InsideSchools The online guide said it is important for teachers to be trained and supported by the virtual model.

“How do we ensure that these virtual schools are high quality, cultural, socially emotional and responsive to the needs of students?” He asked.

Lynch also said that if the curriculum was purchased from a provider, it needed to be changed or adapted to the specific needs of New York students.

“After COVID, the entire planet just felt it was possible to connect online. There is an awareness that there are models that can work in our school system, ”Lynch said.

Marcela Rodriguez-Shirley is an intern at Chalkbeat New York. Contact Marcella at mrodrigues-sherley@chalkbeat.org.

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