Monday, October 15, 2012

Send NDHS Students on a Sojourn to the Past

12th grade students just launched a fundraising campaign for an exciting educational opportunity, Sojourn to the Past. Each year, Sojourn to the Past hosts students from across the country on a living classroom journey through the Southern United States. On their ten day trip, students will retrace the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 60s through visits to historic landmarks as well as meetings with movement veterans. 

Please check out their campaign video and Indiegogo funding page here

Spread the word!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Adobe Youth Voices Love Us!!!

New Design students recently won first place prize in The Adobe Youth Voices Aspire Awards. Pictured above, New Design students and their photo teaching-artist Caitlin Meissner accepting their award on June 10th at the Prize Patrol held at Urban Arts Partnership. The Adobe Aspire Awards celebrates the extraordinary work of young media artists from around the world by recognizing top talent in media production. This year, New Designers took the first place for over 800 submissions across the globe for their Propaganda Posters. Students were awarded their very own Mino Pro Flip HD Camera, their photos will be published in a magazine and youth artists will donate $2,000 to a charity of their choosing! 

Congrats to students Christian O, Karissa M, Juan G, Melody D, Bianca F, Merelyn B, Justin B, Tianna F, Jasmine S, Siara R, Monica E, Eloina F, Jasmine H, Celine G, Freddy C, Nate A, Stephanie A and Amber J.

You can see their work on the Adobe Youth Voices website. (Scroll down to the photography section and click Propaganda Posters)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Two Elizabeths

New Design High School was selected as a semi-finalist for the second annual Elizabeth Rohatyn Prize from Teaching Matters for innovative learning.  The $15,000 award is awarded to a principal whose leadership results in an academically rigorous and innovative learning environment.  This year's prize will highlight innovations in the area of teacher capacity building and effectiveness.  If we will the award it will be used to support expansion and replication of the school's milestone work.  "Milestones” is our new buzzword for the substantial summative assessments we give in each quarter of the year for each academic course. These may may include essays, projects, exams, investigations, Socratic seminars or even Regents exams.  They are the assessments where students are asked to demonstrate what they have learned and from which we can better understand who they are as learners. They are our experimental shift towards competency based assessment, which may ultimately help us to move the conversation away from the collection of work kids have done to targeted feedback about what they can do.

Check our what rising 12th grade student Elizabeth V. had to say about the school when she heard about our nomination:  

I am a current student at New Design High School, and as soon as I saw that this incredible opportunity was being presented to my school, I thought that I should help out right away in any way possible.  For reasons being the fact that I have never had the honor to be part of such a great school, one in which the teachers care immensely for the students, are always there for them and do their best at teaching us the young minds.  The only problem many times, is that the school doesn't have enough money to help us learn all the things we need and that we want.  New Design has a very unique environment, and it can make any student feel at home.  For this, and many other reasons I, along with my fellow classmates believe our school should be given the opportunity to better itself, and the education of its pupils. Thank You.  

ESI and the New Design Gents

New Design "Gents"

On August 4th, 2011 Mayor Bloomberg announced the launch of the Young Men's Initiative to tackle the broad disparities slowing the advancement of black and Latino men.  The comprehensive program includes NYC Department of Education's Expanded Success Initiative (ESI).  Last week, New Design High School was selected as one of 40 schools chosen to receive the ESI grant.  The multi-year grant rewards schools up to $100,000 a year to build comprehensive support and achievement programs for supporting the development of Latino and African American boys.  

The New Design program will expand the work we already do at the school with our Urban Arts Partnership iDesign Program and the New Design Gents.   

To learn more about the program and our selection check out the Gotham Schools article. "Schools Picked to Pioneer College Prep Program For Young Men."

Adobe Youth Youth Voices Love Us!!

New Design students recently won the Youth Adobe Youth Voices Prize for Photography.  Adobe Youth Voices Aspire Awards celebrates the extraordinary work of young media artists from around the world by recognizing top talent in media production.  This year, New Designers took the first place for their Propaganda Posters.  The posters were part of the work Urban Arts Partnership teaching-artist Caitlin Meissner did with our 9th graders.  Caitlin wrote, "The inspiration behind “Propaganda Posters” was guided by concepts displayed in Animal Farm by George Orwell and Shakespeare’s MacBeth. Students connected methods of claiming power with the tactics of traditional propaganda art and co-opted them to create social justice posters on issues they identify with and deeply believe in.  These posters, done in the collage/cut-out medium, reclaim power for good." Adobe is planning on bringing a film crew to present prizes during the week of July 9th.  The prizes include 3 Dell XPS laptop, 3 Samsung HD Camcorder and 8 copies of Adobe CS Production Premium.  The youth artist receive a $2,000.00 donation to a charity of choice as well as Mino Pro Flip HD cameras.

Congrats to students Christian O, Karissa M, Juan G, Melody D, Bianca F, Merelyn B, Justin B, Tianna F, Jasmine S, Siara R, Monica E, Eloina F, Jasmine H, Celine G, Freddy C, Nate A, Stephanie A and Amber J.

You can see their work on the Adobe Youth Site.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Senior Civics T Shirts

Laura's 12th grade civics class are working closely with  Hester Street Collaborative on their end of the year projects creating t-shirts conveying messages based on their senior research.  Check out the article written by Patrick Hedlund in DNA Info last year By Patrick Hedlund.  You can also check out some of last year's shirts here.

LOWER EAST SIDE — Police brutality, immigration law and teen pregnancy were just a few of the controversial topics explored by seniors at New Design High School for their year end projects unveiled on the Grand Street school's rooftop Friday.  Students in the school's government and economics class spent the semester researching issues important to their communities, surveying the public and ultimately creating "proposals for change" to tackle the problems.  They then produced Tshirts emblazoned with evocative graphics representative of their subjects, working in partnership with the Hester Street Collaborative, a Lower East Side design based nonprofit.  Tiffany Colon, 17, of the Lower East Side, chose to feature  McDonald's "Golden Arches" logo over the words "i'm hatin' it" on her Tshirt to address the issue of childhood obesity.  Her surveys found that many low income people don't always have access to healthy food options, forcing them to turn the more readily available fastfood restaurants.  Another student chose the topic of police brutality, using the high profile shooting of Sean Bell as a way to explore the legal process.  "I wanted to make people aware that this is a very biased thing," said Alezae Samuells, 18, of the Lower East Side, whose Tshirt featured a portrait of Bell and his fiancé, Nicole Paultre Bell, above wording from the Sixth Amendment related to criminal prosecutions.  Samuells, who believed that the officers involved in the shooting shouldn't have had the right to waive a jury trial, said her surveys revealed people in urban areas had all known someone affected by police brutality.  Micaela Hawkins, 17, of the Bronx, exploring the subject of teen pregnancy, suggested having teens teaching teens  sexual education to make them more comfortable discussing sex, pregnancy and abortion.  Her research found that most teens find sex education ineffective.  "When I was in sexed class, I didn't find it helpful because they didn't talk about details," said Hawkins, 17, said. If it were peer taught, "teen pregnancy wouldn't be so high, dropping out of school wouldn't be so high."  Overall, the project had much more to do with function than fashion, participants said.  "You can kind of think of these

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Pop Up Lost Weekend, NYC

New Design High School's Pop Up Shop closed this week after a very successful run at Lost Weekend, NYC coffee shop.  The shop featured student designed items including t-shirts, handbags, pillows, eye glass holders, hand made t-shirts and glassware.  Lower East Side hipsters and coffee lovers loved the gear and we are catching glimpses of the clothing all over the LES.  Congrats to all the students designers and the design department for all of the incredible work.  Deepest thanks to Rebecca Fitts from Pop Up Marketing who found the space as well as supported the Pop Up Marketing Team.  The marketing team was also supported by our Pencil Partners at Addiction Worldwide.  Operation Design and the Seward Park Alumni group for financially supporting the start up of the store.  We would also like to thank Urban Arts Partnership for their continued support.

More pop up shops are to follow in the upcoming months.  You can watch for them by following the New Design Pop Up Twitter page and Facebook page.

Maxine and Jorge

New Design High School Seniors' Maxine and Jorge in a scene from Are You Gonna Post That? from Urban Arts Partnerships Life Stories Ensemble.  Maxine and Jorge performed at UAP's Urban Arts Festival on Monday May 7th.  The Life Stories Ensemble, co-founded by the New Group and part of the Peapod Adobe Youth Voices Academy, performed to the public on April 29th at the Acorn Theater.  The one-act plays, written by professional playwrights, were developed from characters based on the people in the students lives.  This will be the last performance for Maxine and Jorge as they are both graduating in June.  Maxine has been accepted to Smith College and Jorge is headed to Laguardia Community College.  

Where the Wild Things Are

Julie's 10th Grade Design class visited PS 20, Ana Silver School, elementary school down the street to read Where the Wild Things Are to one of their 3rd grade classes.  The 3rd grade students will be writing their own wild thing stories and dropping them off to our 10th grade designers who will then create plush toys from their stories.  The Ana Silver students will be visiting New Design in a few weeks to pick up their gifts.  For most of our 10th grade students it is our first time working with a client, albeit a very small one. 

Rooftop Films and the New Design Pop Up Shop

photo via

Rooftop Films has been showing films outdoors in some of the most stunning outdoor rooftop venues around NYC for the past 16 years. One of those rooftops is right here at New Design High School Rooftop for the last few years.  Rooftop Films returns this weekend with two programs that will surely help get you into that ‘summer’s coming three-day weekend mood.’ Friday’s Dark Toons line up features eleven short films programmed to deliver an night of “enjoyably evil animation.” They note, “this year’s filmmakers use just about every trick in the book to conjure up their visual magic.” The band Softspot opens the evening with their hauntingly meditative music.
Still from Kumare, previewing on our rooftop this weekend.

If full-length features are more your fancy, be one of the first in line on Saturday to see Indian-American filmmaker Virkam Gandhi’s SXSW-acclaimed satirical documentary, Kumaré, before its theatrical release.  The premise: a somewhat autobiographical story, (in 2010 Gandhi traveled to Phoenix and invented a spiritual workshop from scratch and ended up with actual followers) Kumaré recounts Gandhi’s experiences through the story of a man who impersonates a wise Indian Guru and builds a following in Arizona, only to have to reveal his true identity and unveil his greatest teaching of all.  Brooklyn-based torch-song singer Doe Paoro opens the show.  The roof at New Design is a truly unforgettable place to watch films.

The New Design Pop Up Shop will be open both nights selling New Design created goods and fashions.  

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Plain White Tee

iDESIGNERS, Vanessa Guzman and Anaya White modeling their group t-shirt designs. 

A group of New Design High School 10th graders enrolled in the iDesign program joined forces to design three original t-shirts for a company they've dubbed "Tru-Fit." The students are selling these shirts to New Design students, families and staff to help fund activities that keep them excited about and engaged in their education.

If you are interested in purchasing a tee, e-mail:  

Click here to see more photos of the Tru-Fit designs.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Artist Ashram - NDHS Intersession - NEW MUSIC

Artist Ashram is a haven for free creative expression and a place of artistic study and practice. During NDHS Intersession, Jesse Johnson took 20 students to an open art space in Williamsburg to explore creative writing, painting and drawing, and improvisational music and dance. Each day students both studied specific fields of art and had time to freely explore and express using what they knew and learned.
Srikalogy offered a workshop in music production and assisted the whole group in collectively writing and recording this track. The group was so inspired we shot a music video! Enjoy the song; the music video is on its way.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


New Design just completed intersession.  This year courses took place between third and fourth quarters.  Intersession courses focus on placing students in vigorous learning environments in order to further promote students' developmental growth.  New Design is the only high school in New York City that has a developmental overview.  The overview informs the work we do with students so that they receive the best education in order grow their social, emotional and intellectual sides.  New Design was founded in the belief that adolescents need a holistically grounded education in order to develop the skills and capacities needed to design their own lives.  What does that mean for intersession?  It means that for four days students  might be visiting college campuses around the area, exploring the ins and outs of the chess world in the West Village, visiting parks around the city, completing their art portfolios for college applications or performing in a student written play.  

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Take a Pop for the Shop

The New Design Pop Up Shop and its Products have been designed, hand crafted, and made by our very own students at New Design. With this shop, we want to grab the attention of many people who live in the LES and offer our products that reflect their ideas and lifestyles. Our vision is to have as many people come out to support us, students and young designers alike. Our designs are very vibrant, adventurous, urban, and authentic just like us. These are the same vibes we hope to establish in our store. We value the beauty within the LES, and the styles there that is to offer. Being from this community, our student's designs are just right. They are not out of your average commercial store, but out of your creativity, thriving from your imagination.

Congrats to the Design Department for securing $9000 in financial support for the Pop-Up Shop.  The funding came from the Seward Park Alumni and Operation Design.  The Pop-Up Shop opens in the Lost Weekend NYC coffee shop on May 14th.  You can follow all of the news on the Pop-Up Shop on the New Design Pop Up Shop Twitter site. 

Big Buddies, Little Buddies

The New Design High School Big Buddies, Little Buddies Program at New Design Middle School got off to a great start last week during intersession.  15 NDHS students partnered up with 15 NDMS students up in Harlem.  NDMS opened this year with a 6th grade and will grow to be 6-8 grades in the next few years.  

Vote for our project on JUMO and we could win $500 to put towards our continued work with the littles at New Design Middle School!  The program is being led by Urban Arts Partnerships HUB Program at the school.  To learn more about New Design Middle check out their website

Monday, March 26, 2012

Spring Parent Teacher Conferences 2012

Thursday, March 29, 2012 from 5:30-8:00pm
Friday, Friday, March 30, 2012 from 1:00pm-3:30pm


• You will learn about your students’ current academic standing.

• Learn about what happens when students fail classes for the semester, have incomplete milestones or need to be enrolled in Summer School.


• Parents and guardians that are in the “KNOW” about upcoming projects, grading systems and final exams can help their students PASS!

• Come to PARENT TEACHER and help your student stay on grade level!

• Attending Parent Teacher conferences will help your student SUCCEED!

• Complete the NDHS School Survey – meet with Dr. Scott Conti and all NDHS staff!

• Help support New Design High and your child’s success.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Marcus Rocks It

Congrats to 11th grader Marcus O and his coaches John and Avi from the English Department.  Marcus scored second in the NYC Finals of the English Speaking Union Shakespeare competition.  NYC schools are allowed to enter one student each into the competition.  Marcus beat students from top NYC area schools including private school giants Trinity School, St. Ann's, Hewitt as well as 59 other schools.  He earned $250 dollars for this finish. 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Fight for Survival LES

Check out the trailers for Fight for Survival from our Mediastorm class.  The film, from the Goonies Production Team, explores the continuing gentrification in the Lower East Side.  The film will premier in May in the New Design High School film festival.  To keep updated about this film check out the Goonies Production Twitter site or email the team at

You can follow along with developments in the class at the  Mediastorm class blog or on the class Twitter site.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Coming Soon: POP Up Shop Poster Campaign

The 11th Graders will be back to work on their Pop Up Shop poster campaign next week, cant wait to see the results, this is one still in the works

Paris in the 20's

Thursday, March 08, 2012

google doodle sketches

some sketches for the google doodle contest by 11th graders

Wednesday, March 07, 2012