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Did you know that New York City public school students have access to free opportunities to explore learning beyond the classroom?

Throughout the year, students across the City can take part in many exciting activities and programs, including STEM-based (science, technology, engineering, and math) enrichment programs, workshops, and even career-building internships.

And with Midwinter Recess coming up, this is the perfect time for students and families to explore their learning options for Spring Recess and beyond.

Below, you will find details about various opportunities that City students can apply for in February 2021—please note that deadlines for some of these programs are coming up soon. Students who are interested in any of these programs should apply ASAP!

Journalism student interviewing another student

NYC students from low-income backgrounds can gain valuable journalism experience through Princeton’s free Summer Journalism Program. (Photo Credit: Princeton University)

NYRP’s “At Home With Nature” Lessons

Students in Grades K–8

The New York Restoration Project’s (NYRP) At Home With Nature program provides K–8 students with five free guided virtual lessons in topics ranging from animal and plant adaptations, habitats, bird migrations, and more. Through engaging investigations and activities using simple materials found at home, students will discover nature from the inside out!

Visit NYRP’s At Home with Nature webpage, and click on any one of the five lessons to get started—it’s completely free, and no registration is required.

Multilingual Career Connections

Middle and high school students (Grades 6–8 and 9–12, respectively)

In honor of Black History Month and Career Exploration Month, the DOE’s Division of Multilingual Learners is partnering with the New York Public Library, Global Kids, and the Qatar Foundation International to host career-building, online events for students and families in English, Haitian Creole, Spanish, and Arabic.

We recommend that students and families register directly for the online event(s) they would like to attend:

February 16: Resume Writing Workshop for High School Students

Learn how to build a resume to showcase your accomplishments, expertise, and skillsets.

      • 11:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. — English session (Register)
      • 12:30 p.m.–1:30 p.m. — Haitian session (Register)
      • 2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. — Spanish session (Register)
      • 4:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m. — Arabic session (Register)

February 17: Career Panel for Middle and High School Students

Hear from Black and Brown professionals as they discuss a variety of careers and industries, as well as how to leverage multilingualism as an asset in the workplace.

      • 11:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. — English session (Register)
      • 12:30 p.m.–1:30 p.m.— Haitian Creole session (Register)
      • 2:30 p.m.–3:30 p.m.— Spanish session (Register)
      • 4:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m.— Arabic session (Register)
Two birds in mid-flight over a body of water

NYRP’s “At Home with Nature” courses provide students in grades K–8 with lessons about animals and the environment, including details about birds, their habitats, and their migration patterns.

Join the BraiNY Bunch Journal Club

High school students (Grades 9–12)

BraiNY is looking for students to join the BraiNY Bunch, a virtual journal club to discuss all things science. Co-led by two high school students in coordination with a graduate/postdoctorate student or research staffer, the club provides participants with the opportunity to learn about different areas of neuroscience. Each member of the BraiNY Bunch team will receive a $30 honorarium just for participating.

The club meets online every first Sunday of a month from 2:30 p.m.–3:30 p.m. beginning on Sunday, February 7.

Learn more about the BraiNY Bunch on the Come Be Brainy website.

Service in Schools (SIS) Virtual Leadership Institute

High school students, grades 10–12

Service in Schools (SIS) Virtual Leadership Institute is a program for City high school students in grades 10–12 who want to dive deep into service-learning and leadership. Participants will engage in a series of leadership skill-building activities that will prepare them to draft lesson plans and lead live virtual lessons for students in grades 3–5. Students will work together to address community issues related to animal welfare, the environment, housing, and food access.

The SIS Virtual Leadership Institute will be held throughout the spring, beginning with a four-day session during Spring Recess from March 29–April 1, 2021. Students will next participate in three afterschool sessions on April 15, April 29, and May 20, and then during the week of May 25–28, students will lead their live virtual lessons for students in grades 3–5.

Students interested in SIS Virtual Leadership Institute should complete the online application by 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, February 24, 2021. Learn more about the SIS Virtual Leadership Institute by visiting the program’s website, and please email any questions to

Princeton University’s Princeton Summer Journalism Program

For current high school juniors with a minimum unweighted G.P.A of 3.5 (out of 4.0).

Are you a current high school junior who is an aspiring journalist? The Princeton Summer Journalism Program (PSJP) is a free college preparatory program that is a open to current juniors from low-income backgrounds who are interested in journalism and intend to attend college in the U.S.

Students in this program engage with weekly readings on current events and participate in virtual lectures and workshops taught by professional journalists and PSJP alumni to learn about media, reporting, and college.

Learn more about PSJP, including eligibility information, by checking out the program’s website, and make sure you apply for the program on the PSJP website by Monday, February 22, 2021.

For more opportunities like these, keep an eye out for the DOE’s Student Opportunities page, and subscribe to The Morning Bell below for updates!


Banner photo by Julia M. Cameron. Used under Creative Commons license. Original can be found on Pexels.

Official blog for the NYC Department of Education, home of a million students across 1,800+ schools

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