Reengagement in New York City

Within the largest school district in the country, New York City’s Department of Education uses geographically accessible Referral Centers for High School Alternatives to re-engage students. The Referral Centers are operated by District 79.

With over 1 million students enrolled in New York City Public Schools, District 79 proactively engages thousands of out-of-school youth. One Referral Center in each of the five boroughs functions as a one-stop guidance center and first stop for out-of-school youth.

At the Centers, district staff help find the best option for each student to continue his/her education, and regularly identify organizations that can provide students with additional resources. At Pathways to Graduation, another program overseen by District 79, students prepare to pass the Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC)™, a GED® alternative, and plan for college and career training after graduation. 

Promising Practices

  • Referral Centers refer youth to job training opportunities, thanks to partnerships with community based organizations and Workforce 1
  • Use data to develop proactive outreach strategies and maximize the number of out-of-school youth invited to a Referral Center and then successfully enrolled in school. 

2014-2015 Activity

  • In the 2014-2015 academic year, Referral Centers connected 4,050 youth to an education option. Of those youth, 85% entered a High School Equivalency or adult education program.
  • Engligh Language Learners made up one third of the 4,050 students.