New virtual and hybrid school program offers new style of education
The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way that New Yorkers lived their lives, including students and their work in schools. While learning remotely wasn't for every student, some found success in it - spurring the creation of the Schools Without Walls virtual and hybrid program.
"When we first started to think about how we might do a school differently... we really designed the school with them, and took everything they said into account," said Veronica Coleman, principal of Phipps Neighborhood, who facilitates the program.
Students who are a part of the program can either attend class in-person two days a week, working remotely the remainder of the week, or take part in their classes completely virtually - leaving the decision up to the student and their family.
Those working with Phipps Neighborhood had to navigate through the digital divide, dealing with roadblocks along the way. When the pandemic started, teachers at Phipps launched into action to provide technology to all of their students.
Through grants, Phipps was able to get laptops and Wi-Fi hotspots int he homes of every student so they could continue learning while forced to quarantine.
Phipps currently works with six Bronx schools and now uses an in-person model, but remote learning has remained a staple in the New York education system, as schools turn to virtual learning days for snow days instead of shutting down school entirely.