NYC Dept of Education - District 79 Alternative Schools & Programs

Joined in December 2007

About Us

District 79 - Alternative Schools and Programs

The New York City Department of Education strives to ensure that every student has the opportunity to earn a high school or General Education Development (GED) diploma. We recognize that many students need additional supports to succeed in their current school or require alternative pathways to attain a high school or GED diploma. District 79 was established to help students succeed by providing diverse and innovative educational opportunities that combine rigorous academic instruction with meaningful youth development.

VISION: Every student in District 79 will succeed academically while developing socially and emotionally to become a confident and productive member of society.

MISSION: District 79 will empower students through rigorous instruction and quality support services. A community of education leaders, District 79 will serve as a model for innovative and replicable strategies to engage students.

PURPOSE: In order to accomplish this vision and mission we must:

1. Offer high quality programs to help students stay on track towards a high school or General Educational Development (GED) diploma and support their post-certification college and/or career plans

2. Advocate for and connect students who have experienced significant obstacles with educational opportunities that lead to a diploma and with post diploma options

3. Help students in involuntary settings (e.g. incarceration, drug treatment centers) dramatically improve their academic and social and emotional skills and ensure a smooth transition to educational options upon release

4. Ensure pregnant and/or parenting students stay on track to graduation and become successful parents through childcare, support services, and advocacy

5. Provide adult students with high-quality educational and vocational/career opportunities

6. Actively engage students and families to take ownership of their education and future

7. Build partnerships within and beyond the Department of Education for our students


Excellence - We believe all students can achieve at high levels and we hold ourselves accountable for their success.

Communication – We value honest and direct dialogue. We welcome new ideas openly and make time to engage in challenging conversations with each other and our students. We are responsive.

Commitment to Learning – We are committed to ensuring the growth and success of our students, families, and communities. We embrace feedback and change to grow our strengths and address our weaknesses.

Integrity – We operate with truthfulness, honor, and reliability. We mean what we say and say what we mean, to each other and our students.

Solutions Orientation – We value innovative solutions to meet individual students’ needs. We persist to find resolutions to even the most difficult challenges, holding ourselves accountable to high standards of excellence.

Respect- We value professionalism and diversity, treating each other and our students with respect. We take responsibility for our actions as public service leaders.

Programs and Support

REFERRAL CENTERS Located in every borough, Referral Centers for High School Alternatives are one-stop guidance centers where high school aged students can be connected to academic options and wrap-around supports. Additional information on the programs and services described in this list can be obtained at any Referral Center.


GED Plus and ACCESS GED GED Plus is a citywide program that provides full time and part time GED services as well as support in transitioning to a college and/or career at no cost to students in New York City who are aged 18-21. Students who are 17 may enroll if there are extenuating circumstances and with parent/guardian permission.

ACCESS offers full time GED preparation with a work internship component called Learning to Work (LTW) which helps students stay engaged, or re-engage, in school through work readiness. Age requirements are the same as GED Plus.

Co-Op Tech (School of Cooperative Technical Education) Co-Op Tech offers half-day career and technical training courses for students who are enrolled in academic courses in another Department of Education school or program including GED Plus and ACCESS.

The Office of Adult and Continuing Education (OACE), the largest adult education provider in New York State, offers Basic Education, English as a Second Language (ESL), High School Equivalency, and Career and Technical Education (CTE) classes to adults age 21 and older.


The Re-Start Program provides educational services for students in drug treatment programs or other involuntary and/or temporary settings.

Correctional Education Schools and programs for students who are court-involved, incarcerated, or recently released. This includes Passages Academy in Department of Juvenile Justice sites for students 15 years old and younger, Island Academy on Rikers Island primarily for 16 – 18 year old students, and Horizon Academy on Rikers Island primarily for students 19 - 24 years old.

Long-Term Suspension Centers are credit-bearing programs for middle and high school students who have been suspended from their home school for twelve (12) months for having committed a level 5 disciplinary offense. Students in these programs complete and receive credit for academic work aligned to the curricular requirements for their grade.

Phoenix Academy is a residential substance abuse intervention program for NYC high school students. Although some students are court-referred, this is a voluntary program for high school students struggling with substance abuse. Phoenix Academy is a diploma granting program that also offers the GED option for eligible students.

WRAP-AROUND SUPPORTS Services for Student Parents District 79 operates Referral Centers for High School Alternatives and LYFE centers both of which are equipped to support pregnant and parenting students through Academic Intervention Specialists (AIS).

The Living for the Young Family through Education (LYFE) program supports pregnant and parenting students enrolled in a NYC Department of Education school by providing childcare and referral services. Social Workers assigned to each of the 38 LYFE centers provide social and emotional support for young parents to enable their academic progress as well as their progress as parents.

For more information regarding our programs please visit:

District 79 - Alternative Schools and Programs

The New York City Department of Education strives to ensure that every student has the opportunity to earn a high school or General Education Development (GED) diploma. We recognize that many…

Issue Areas Include

  • Children & Youth
  • Education
  • Urban Areas


  • District 79
    4360 Broadway Suite 402
    New York, NY 10033

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