New York City, New York

Reimagining high school in the nation’s largest school district.

This is a dynamic public-private partnership to reimagine public high schools in New York City.
– Brooklyn STEAM Center

Rethinking High School in the Nation’s Largest School System

New York City Public Schools and XQ are working together in two main ways. One is through Imagine NYC Schools, an ambitious initiative to design innovative, high-quality schools with equity and excellence at their core. The other is through FutureReadyNYC. In this reimagined high school experience, students get access to work-based learning (including paid experiences in upper grades), early college credit, and industry credentials in high-wage, high-demand industries (such as technology, healthcare, and business/finance) and support to build a strong postsecondary plan to accelerate their success and path to rewarding careers and economic security.

NYC + XQ is a dynamic public-private partnership. Students, teachers, families, and community members are coming together to imagine high schools that are engaging, inclusive, and student-centered—schools that prepare all students for a wide variety of postsecondary options, and all the future has to offer

Imagine NYC Schools

Together, the New York City Public Schools and XQ identified five schools to focus on between 2022 and 2024. Three are new; there is also a new partnership: 

  • Gotham Tech—Partnering with NYC FIRST, a robotics-based not-for-profit, this model originated as an afterschool program, transitioned to a credit-bearing course, and is now a high school. It opened in Queens with its first class of 9th graders in the fall of 2022.
  • School Without Walls—A hybrid program developed with Outward Bound that makes the city its learning environment, and allows students to focus on passion projects. The program is in the process of developing a fully remote option which requires state approval. It opened with its first class of 9th graders in the fall of 2022.
  • Design Works High School —A partnership between Bank Street College and Pratt Institute to develop a new high school that applies design thinking to address complex social issues. This new school opened in Brooklyn in the fall of 2023. 
  • The Bronx Science Research Partnership (“BSRP”)—A community of schools built around a common goal of expanding access to and engagement in advanced science research opportunities. This collaboration, currently across six high schools in the Bronx, fosters opportunities including partnerships with local research organizations, increased research programming capacity within each school, and a sense of belonging in the science research space through BSRP community programming. 

Expansion of existing model:

  • Brooklyn STEAM Center—STEAM is serving 11th and 12th graders from eight high schools in Brooklyn in the heart of the Brooklyn Navy Yard—a 300-acre industrial park with over 500 businesses in cutting-edge industries. It offers high-quality college prep and career prep, and early college. Each of the five pathways under STEAM’s Career and Technical Education program model is approved by the New York State Education Department and features an industry-approved curriculum, engaging partnerships, supportive work-based learning experiences including an internship program, and stackable industry credentials. The five pathways are: Computer Science and Information Technology; Construction Technology; Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management; Design and Engineering; and Film and Media.


  • Thomas A. Edison Career and Technical Education High School—A large comprehensive CTE high school in Queens serving approximately 2,335 students. It’s building a co-op model, where teachers and students will co-design curricula that reflect the modern workplaces that students will enter instead of perpetuating the characteristics of traditional vocational education models.


FutureReadyNYC is a signature initiative to ensure more students in NYC can explore their passions and prepare for their futures by engaging in rigorous, career-connected courses, real-world work experience and getting a head start with early college credits and credentials. Participation in FutureReadyNYC grew from 34 schools in 2022-23 to 100 in the 2023-24 school year, now reaching over 7,000 students. 

As part of the FutureReadyNYC vision the goal is by 2030 to ensure that every public high school student across the city has:

  • College and career advising and tools to support the development of a strong postsecondary plan
  • Career readiness and 21st-century skills embedded in schooling
  • Expanded access to college credits and credentials that offer a head start on postsecondary success

In support of FutureReadyNYC, the Learning Lab offers schools newer to the program an opportunity to learn directly from those deeper into their career-connected learning journeys. This happens through small learning communities, intervisitation, direct principal-to-principal relationships, and facilitated planning sessions—all grounded in a design-thinking approach.

Click here to learn more about FutureReadyNYC.