New York City has public high schools with every imaginable theme, a dizzying array of different application requirements, and charter schools galore. Choosing from one of NYC’s over 400 public high schools can be a real task. How do you decide where you go to school? And what’s at stake?
In the spring of 2012, a group of NYC public high school students worked with CUP, the Resilience Advocacy Project (RAP), and teaching artist Douglas Paulson to investigate the high school application process. The team interviewed the Department of Education, guidance counselors, parents, Inside Schools, advocates, and each other. Through their interviews, adventures, and a small time machine, they illuminated this daunting but mandatory milestone.
The team made a colorful interactive website to break down what they learned for middle school students, their parents, and guidance counselors. They also created a printed version of their findings: a ‘giant bookmark’ with a visual timeline of the application process. Old School New School has been picked up by middle schools, guidance counselors, and community organizations throughout the city, including Partnership for the Homeless, NYC’s Administration for Children’s Services, and the Brooklyn Public Library.