New Designs for School
New Designs for School

We’ve all had the experience of truly purposeful, authentic learning and know how valuable it is. Educators are taking the best of what we know about learning, student support, effective instruction, and interpersonal skill-building to completely reimagine schools so that students experience that kind of purposeful learning all day, every day.

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Primary Contact Name:
Liliana Vargas
Award Date:
July 2013
Grant Type:
National Planning
Planned Start Date:
Fall 2014
Startup Type:
New School

Meeting the needs of Latino youth disengaged from traditional schools due to economic demands

School: Pan American International Community Academy
Grades Served: 9-12
Location: Queens, NY
Operator: Internationals Network for Public Schools, City University of New York, Make the Road New York
Operator Type: Nonprofit
School Type: District
Setting: Urban
Students at Opening: 100
Students at Capacity: 400

HALLMARK FEATURE: Flexible credit-earning opportunities, School developer partnership, Higher education partnership

Internationals Network for Public Schools (Internationals) is an experienced school developer with a track record in opening schools and academies for English language learners in New York City, the California Bay Area, and Alexandria, VA. Internationals is beginning to plan with partners—the City University of New York (CUNY) and Make the Road New York (MRNY)—to open a breakthrough school designed to meet the needs of a growing student population: Latino youth with incomplete high schooling and presently disengaged from schools due to the economic demands of their families. The academic model of Pan American International Community Academy will include the following features:

  • Flexible scheduling and innovative programming
  • Virtual learning integrated with internships and deeper academic learning
  • Seamless integration between high school, community colleges, and adult education/continuing education
  • Opportunities for meaningful work experiences combined with  opportunities to learn

The academy will allow students to design a program that suits their individual academic needs, economic/social demands, and college/career desires. It will build off the strengths its students bring, including developing their bilingualism, entrepreneurial ambitions, and commitment to family and community. The outcomes-based and self-paced curriculum—experiential and culturally relevant—will provide multiple entry points for students to access the content and demonstrate mastery. English language learning will be integrated into learning of rigorous content through well-designed hands-on projects.

Students, often anonymous in a traditional school, work with teams of interdisciplinary teachers (Math, Science, History, English, IT) responsible for a shared group of students. Each student is paired with a teacher who is their academic and career advisor who provides support and guidance in developing learning and career goals, and identifies supplemental support.

Photo credit: Ajay TallamCC BY-SA 2.0