Bank Street College and Pratt Institute Receive Grant to Co-Design New Public School That Promotes College And Career Readiness Through Real World Experience

Bank Street College and Pratt Institute received a planning grant from the New York City Department of Education and XQ to conceptualize and co-design a new public secondary school.

As part of New York City’s Imagine NYC Schools initiative, the new public school model will offer a progressive curriculum with hands-on learning experiences connected to design thinking, the arts, and social justice. Grounded in offering students work-based, experiential learning opportunities for discovery and growth, the model’s innovative framework will empower students to develop creativity, communication, and critical thinking skills to promote career and college readiness.

“We are excited to partner with our colleagues at Pratt to create a new model for public school education in the 21st century,” said Shael Polakow-Suransky, GSE ’00, President, Bank Street College. “The city’s dynamic vision for this project aligns with Bank Street’s mission to build a better, more inclusive world through education and we look forward to creating a school that will inspire meaningful learning and support all students in developing critical skills for success in school and in life.”

Teacher and students work on an engineering projectThe new model will prioritize a focus on social justice and employ a strengths-based, culturally responsive approach to teaching and learning to help all students realize their full potential and become ready to change the world. To brainstorm innovative ideas and secure input on the new school design, Bank Street and Pratt engaged over 70 leaders from schools, city officials, community organizations, students’ families, and Bank Street and Pratt faculty over the last two years.

To further drive more equitable life outcomes and help improve the economic mobility of low-income students, the model will also offer robust learning opportunities through public and private partnerships to provide students with real-world learning experiences and the space for intentional career exploration.

“At this school, students will engage in learning activities in which they collaborate, critique, and revise, graduating ready to pursue their passions in college, creative careers, and as social justice leaders,” said Tracy Fray-Oliver, Vice President, Bank Street Education Center. “Additionally, our model will facilitate learning both inside and outside of the classroom through industry mentors, paid internships, and hands-on learning experiences in partnership with businesses across New York City, as well as university partnerships that will provide access to college-level coursework.”

A collaborative Design Team composed of leaders from Bank Street, Pratt, students, parents, and community members will continue to advance the school planning work.