JVL Wildcat's educational program sharply differentiates it from other charter schools; in fact, it differs sharply from traditional high schools. Its educational program is ungraded and characterized by heterogeneous grouping, interdisciplinary teaching strategies, cooperative learning, thematic projects and units, performance-based instruction, and continual assessment of students' progress. This non-traditional instructional approach is tailored to the particular needs of its students and engages them more actively in the learning process.
A very unique aspect of the Wildcat model is the real-world internship experiences that it has been offering its students since its founding. Students attend school every other week: during the alternate week they participate in 20-hour internships in fields including construction, business, healthcare, communications, office support, theater, childcare, community development and education. This internship is very much at the core of the School’s program. The internship provides its students with the opportunity to be involved in meaningful work, be trained, supervised and evaluated. These experiences will assist them in making informed career choices. Finally, it creates a real life link between the academic focus of their high school careers to the world of work—giving them further incentive to stay in school, stay away from delinquent activity and graduate and pursue higher education.
Wildcat's proven model of combining real life work applications, through job internships, as an integral partner with student classroom work, has prevented recidivism of this population by providing students with purpose, self-esteem, skills and the real life connection between school work and the world of work. In addition, Wildcat provides direct services to students in each of these programs through the important placement of some of the youth participants in its School setting particularly through the Culinary Arts Program located in the Bronx.