Chancellor Banks Announces Virtual High School Programs

June 23, 2022
David C. Banks

Schools Chancellor David C. Banks today announced A School Without Walls Program, a new NYCDOE high school program offering students a new way of learning through Hybrid and Virtual schooling pathways.

A School Without Walls Program gives students the independence of remote learning, while grounding their education in an array of individualized, interdisciplinary, project-based learning and internship opportunities. 

Applications for rising 9th graders open today. Families can apply via their MySchools Accounts through Wednesday, July 6th.

“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,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “I’m proud to be able to provide virtual and hybrid learning pathways to rising 9th graders this coming fall, and to meet our students where they are with the tools they need to excel.”

“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 Schools Chancellor David C. Banks. “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. We are thrilled to be able to offer these new pathways in response to what we heard from our students and families.”

Following the pandemic, it became clear that the ways we educate our young people needed to be re-imagined to better support our schools, our students and their needs during this time.

With that in mind, A School Without Walls Program was established in close collaboration with students. With support from our partners at NYC Outward Bound Schools, A School Without Walls Program engaged NYC high school students in a year-long design journey that included a summer intensive and fall internship program to field test projects and intern-based curriculum, and which continued into the spring where student interns co-designed every aspect of the new program as part of the design team.   

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“As partners in the design phase of A School Without Walls Program it has been exciting to work with the design team to take the real-world learning and student-centered approach we use in our network schools to an innovative hybrid learning environment,” said Vanessa Rodriguez, CEO of NYC Outward Bound Schools.

A School Without Walls Program has changed my point of view so much because I always believed that adults plan everything and that’s it. But this internship has made me value students’ roles just as much as adults,” said Abijayil, a student at Urban Assembly Institute of Math and Science for Young Women who participated in the design internship. “It made me realize that young people can make so much change.” 

“At A School Without Walls Program, I learned that creating a positive and supportive environment isn’t just dumb luck. I used to think having a good community just came from certain personalities meshing together, but this showed me that building strong community is something that can be worked towards, said Pete, a student at City As School who also participated in the internship. “Creating connections and trust within a community can be achieved by creating opportunities for team building and getting to know one another.”

A School Without Walls Program moves beyond the classroom, giving students the 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 classrooms by way of internships, service learning, and place-based learning initiatives.

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 physically 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 vital resources available at brick-and-mortar schools, such as counseling services.

Students will receive a laptop to use at home and can visit the school site to troubleshoot any technological issues.

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.


Students may apply to A School Without Walls Program starting today, June 23, 2022.

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 Wednesday, July 6th, and families will be notified of lottery results by mid-July. Waitlist offers will be made to families on a rolling basis.  

The Hybrid Pathway

The Hybrid pathway blends in-person and remote learning opportunities for incoming 9th grade high school students.

The Hybrid model 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 Street in Brooklyn and will then participate remotely by engaging in both synchronous (live) and asynchronous (at their own pace) learning.

The Virtual Pathway

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.

To support both the academic and socio-emotional needs of our incoming 9th graders, 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. 

The Department of Education is currently working in close collaboration with the New York State Education Department to finalize the 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 inthe A School Without Walls Program.

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