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News and Speeches

Chancellor Walcott Announces New Online Courses for Students Impacted by Hurricane Sandy


Enrollment Begins Today for Classes In Core Subjects and Electives

Partnership with Libraries Citywide Including the New York, Queens and Brooklyn Public Library Systems Offers Students Internet Access to Complete Course Work

Schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott today announced that the Department of Education will offer online courses to students who have been impacted by Hurricane Sandy. Students in grades six through 12 who have been displaced from their homes and/or reassigned to other schools while their buildings undergo repairs for storm damage, are eligible to enroll in online classes for core subject areas and electives, including English, math, economics, calculus, world history and Spanish. The initiative is intended to prevent learning loss for students who have had to move from their homes or schools and whose school attendance has been affected. The courses are made possible through an extension of iZone, the Department of Education’s program that supports innovative models of teaching including online tools for classroom learning, and through the donation of program licenses from partners Apex Learning, Desire2Learn and Powerspeak. Teachers experienced in online learning will teach the courses and be available to students throughout enrollment. The New York, Queens and Brooklyn Public Library systems have partnered with the Department of Education to provide students enrolled in the online courses with internet access at branch locations throughout the city.

“Hurricane Sandy was one of the worst storms our city has seen, and through great effort, we were able to open 96 percent of our schools just one week later and relocate the students and staff from damaged buildings,” said Chancellor Walcott. “Still, some of our families have not been able to return to their homes, and the impact on students demands more resources to ensure they get the education they need. These online courses will help keep our students on track for their academic success.”

“The dedicated staff of The New York Public Library has worked tirelessly to serve New Yorkers in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, offering free Internet, heat, power, programming, books and support to the thousands who flocked to our branches,” said New York Public Library President Tony Marx. “The city's critically important program to help students displaced by the storm is a public service that we are very proud to offer as we continue to do all we can to help New York recover and support education.”

“Within days of the storm’s impact, Brooklyn Public Library reopened many of its libraries to begin delivering the critical resources the borough needed in the aftermath of the hurricane. In
some of the hardest hit neighborhoods, we dispatched Bookmobiles to bring services and materials, such as charging stations and children's books, where they were needed most,” said Linda E. Johnson, President and CEO of Brooklyn Public Library. “We will continue to help all of our patrons, volunteers and employees recover from the disaster. Through our partnership with the City and the DOE, we will help ensure that students impacted by the hurricane have access to the educational resources they need.”

“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 an internet connected computer. Experienced iZone teachers have offered to lead the online courses, in addition to their standard school work. Teachers will also hold weekly office hours for students using video conferencing capabilities and the phone.

Students who do not have an internet connected computer can access the online courses at branches of the New York, Queens and Brooklyn Public Library systems, and other partner organizations. The Department of Education will make every effort to match displaced students with locations that have internet connected computers if assistance is needed. When the schools and students return to their original buildings, students will be able to continue taking their online courses to completion.

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