This week I was thrilled to see the NYC DoE recognize one of my schools that caters to “transfer” students (never understood that term), with a 30% target for special education enrollment. We have had great results with great young people. Unfortunately California’s funding system would make it very difficult to do a similar school here, but one can dream. Here is write up from the authorizer in its “charter schools weekly”
New Ventures Charter School of Integration Charter Schools is a transfer school that serves over-age and under-credited youth, ages 16-21. The school days are untraditional in structure, as classes run from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Four afternoons a week, students partake in experiential field work in community-based organizations throughout Staten Island. These unconventional hours and field experiences are a unique model that students appreciate, because they provide flexibility that is often more appealing and convenient to older students.
Three hours a day, Monday through Thursday, the community-based organizations host field-work assignments, and New Ventures works to marry content with the real-world experiences the students receive in the community. One such field-work assignment is the culinary arts program hosted by Staten Island restaurant, South Fin Grill. Students study cooking technique under a professional chef, and the New Ventures teachers supplement the experiential learning with courses like the chemistry of cooking and the global history of food. New York City Council representative, Joe Borelli, has thrown his support behind another New Ventures hands-on learning opportunity – the pairing of video production and U.S. history. The Staten Island Conference House is another community partner and is the site of a 1776 peace conference which attempted to prevent the Revolutionary War. New Ventures students are analyzing Conference House artifacts and studying the importance of Staten Island during the war as well as the impact the war had on the island. The students will present their findings in a documentary.
Friday internships further augment the experiential learning students receive at New Ventures Charter School. New Ventures collaborates with over 60 Staten Island community-based organizations, enabling students to follow their interests and participate in 2-3 internships per year. Students have interned for elected government officials, veterinarian offices, automotive stores, cosmetology shops and more. As part of the program, students get a real sense of what each career entails.
Principal Ron Gorsky shared, “One of our students expected she’d be filing papers all day long and found herself welcomed into legislative meetings. It sparked her interest in public service. All kinds of doors can be opened.”
In seeking every opportunity to open doors for students, New Ventures prides itself in its unique programming and forward thinking methods. By providing hands on learning, real-world experiences and small class sizes, New Ventures offers students learning opportunities that otherwise might not have been possible within their locally zoned schools.