Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Superstorm Sandy Blows innovation through NYC schools


Hurricane Katrina brought rise to charter schools in New Orleans and it looks like Superstorm Sandy is bringing rise to online learning in New York City.  

Celine Azoulay, Executive Director of iLearnNYC is thrilled to be able to support New York City’s secondary school children who have been displaced from their homes or reassigned with 21st century learning opportunities. 

The iZone worked diligently to put a full plan in place to offer this to NYC students through iLearnNYC, an extension of the NYC Department of Education’s iZone.  Azoulay, who has been working on this online learning initiative since its inception in 2010, has worked with her team to put a full course load of offerings in place that includes core subject areas and electives including economics, calculus, and foreign language.  Teachers experienced in online learning will teach the courses.

No internet? No problem!
For students who don’t have access to power and/or the internet, there is a unique partnership in place with The New York, Queens and Brooklyn Public Library to provide enrolled students a place to access the classes at branch locations throughout the city.

Like true New Yorkers the Department of Education and The New York Public Library have come together to work tirelessly to bring an amazing option to our students…online learning and the wonderful world of libraries. 

“Supporting education for all New Yorkers is among Queens Library's most important mandates. Our doors are open, our computers and our trained information professionals are available to help students succeed,” said Bridget Quinn-Carey, Chief Operating Officer of the Queens Library.

The courses can be completed virtually from any internet connected computer. The experienced iLearnNYC teachers will also hold weekly office hours for students using video conferencing capabilities.

To enroll in these online courses, students must first complete an interest form by calling 718-642-5885 or online atwww.ilearnnyc.net/virtuallearning2012. Staff will then follow up with these students’ schools to determine eligibility and set up a learning plan for each student.

In addition to accessing internet connected computers at the library branches, The Department of Education is working to help students in need to additional locations as well. When the schools and students return to their original buildings, students will be able to continue taking their online courses to completion.

Providing students with equity and access to the internet and online learning options is not just good practice in the wake of Sandy, but is good practice in general. Let's hope this innovative work remains as a positive remnant of Sandy for NYC children long after the storm.
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