Monday, December 16, 2013



             Last month New Design High School held its annual Newspaper Fashion Show. A small group of students began the tradition in 2007. During the show students walk down the runway wearing outfits made out recycled materials: mostly newspaper and tape. Students compete with each other in front of a group of judges based on categories such as “best walk” or “most creative” etc., and model outfits made by themselves or their friends.
       The host, our own Michael Casiano, charmed the crowd with his colorful commentaries and Victoria Ruiz, a senior was, like always, a big highlight of this year’s show. She entertained the audience with her charismatic personality, her many expressions, her walk and an amazing newspaper outfit. Anthony Sierra and Ana Quiroz also stole the show this year with their "Alison and wonder land" theme. The pair wore stunning matching outfits and had perfectly styled. The pair won best in show. Last but not least, Donis Almanzar’s paper outfit left the crowd amazed with his piece inspired by the designer Givenchy. The outfit was voted best in menswear.
        This year’s judges included real industry insiders. We had Magen Tou of Bonton brands, Katie Hart of Free People , costume designer Kate Cusak, Lana Russo of Glamour , Steven Dool of PR agency and finally our own Dr. Scott Conti principal of New Design High School. Students are also given a grade in their design class for participating in show.
       Our winners came all from different grades and were awarded in different categories.
Best in Show, as already mentioned, went to Anthony Sierra and Ana Quiroz. Best Menswear was awarded to Donis Almanzar and Best Accessories and Styling went Emmanuel Campana. Most Entertaining went to Andrew Arce; Ann Christine Velazquez won Best Use of Color and Pattern while Alexa Garcia won most wearable.

                                                              Victoria Ruiz

                                 Celine Gil, Donis Almanzar and Sierra Ramos 

Anthony Sierra and Ana Quiroz 

Emmanuel Capana and Nicolle Minaya

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Future is Now Family Day

(Pictured Above: NDHS alumni panelists share their college experiences with attendees)

On SaturdayNovember 2nd, New Design hosted the second annual “Future is Now” Family Day. In a collective effort, representatives from New Design, Urban Arts Partnership, the Parent Association, Community of Unity and the Expanded Success Initiative facilitated a series of workshops about preparing for life after high school. Workshops covered topics ranging from the application process, financial aid and scholarship opportunities. Attendees also got a chance to meet with reps from local youth organizations about extracurricular opportunities. The day ended with a panel discussion featuring recent NDHS graduates representing Dowling College, Five Towns College, Fashion Institute of Technology, SUNY Purchase, City Tech and Brooklyn College. 

“This is my second child going to college, and I made some mistakes the first time, so all the information is helpful.” – NDHS parent
“This college event is really important because it gives families perspectives from people who have gone to this high school and how their transition to college went.” – Kwan, NDHS graduate
“I received a lot of information about colleges that I didn’t know, like about CUNY and SUNY schools and what they offer and their living options.” – Thermond, NDHS 11th grader
“It’s great that students are getting the preparation early in 9th and 10th grade because it’s a lot to handle in your last two years of high school.  The earlier students get prepared for college – building up their resumes, figuring out what types of colleges they’re interested in and they might want to study – it just helps them to make the transition a whole lot easier.” – Nicole Smith, ESI coordinator
(Photos & interviews by 11th grader, Danielle Lunas)

Monday, August 19, 2013

Rosie Shouts Out New Design

Actress Rosie Perez was interviewed by the New York Times last weekend.  The Times asked her to talk about the legacy of Mayor Bloomberg.  Perez, a frequent visitor to New Design, is the Chairwomen of the Artistic Board of Urban Arts Partnership.  She applauded Mr. Bloomberg for opening up more small schools such as New Design replacing failing large schools.  In the article she says, 
When I walk down the hallway of New Design High School, one of the five small schools Urban Arts has helped to found in partnership with the New York City Department of Education, the kids come up to me, look me in the eye, shake my hand. I listen to their dreams and ask them where they’re going to college.
It’s very hard for a kid to be anonymous in a small school like New Design. I can’t tell you how many kids I have seen go from a scowling ninth grader to an accomplished senior, winning scholarships to prestigious colleges. The arts have the ability to make these kinds of transformations in students, and there is a special relationship between the arts and the small schools movement.
Thanks for the love Rosie.  You can read the entire interview here.  

Monday, July 29, 2013

Summer Bridge for the ESI Boys

 On July 8-19, 2013 ESA and NDHS joined ESI programs for our first ever Summer Bridge, and it was amazing! Between the 2 schools we had 30 boys who worked collaboratively on math and literacy projects that they presented in a gallery walkthrough on the last day. For the event there was also a rooftop bbq (100 degrees couldn't stop it!) complete with a water fight (staff vs. students) and a keynote speaker from Monroe College. Speaking of college, we visited Monroe, Hunter and Brooklyn Colleges over the two weeks. The boys bonded at a two-day Outward Bound where they built the tallest structures possible, tossed eggs off the side of the building, maneuvered through obstacles blind-folded, battled through song and countless other mind-boggling challenges. Every boy in the program said they were happy they participated and are excited about the start of their high school careers. They're a great group with sense of humor, style, smarts and a ton of personality, and they're definitely going to enhance the NDHS community. Welcome ESI boys! 

A huge THANK YOU to the NDHS Summer Bridge staff: Nicole, Jody, The Michaels -- and May, Kizzy, Shadiq, Dani, and Kwan. What an awesome staff to work with, even on the hottest days of July!  

Too Fly New Design

A lovely new addition to the NDHS wall near was added this year.  World famous graffiti artist, TOOFLY, worked with students ranging from 9th to 12th grade to create a student-driven mural to add some flavor to our school walls.  We are super proud of all the students who participated.  Design teachers, if you would like to give them extra credit, it would be well deserved.  Please congratulate the following youth for participating if you see them this week:

Zaria R, Liz L, Charlyn C, Tamia H, Ni Z, Kevin P, Nate A, Ixzel S, Michael May, Faith Rivera, Jennifer Perez V, Tyshawn J, Querina C, Dante W and Janiella F

Monday, July 01, 2013

Bling Bling Hello New Design

Bling Bling Hello recently created custom phone cases in collaboration with the kids of New Design High School. Together with design teacher, Julie Zenobi, they designed and sold their one-of-a-kind cases at NDHS pop up shop! All proceeds went to the high school so they can keep making wonderful designs. This internship experience helped create real world problem solving skills the realm of creativity and bling!

Tretorn Loves New Design and New Design Loves Tretorn

Tretorn stopped by one of Julie Z's Textile and Fashion Design Classes and dropped off 25 of their classic Nylite canvas shoes.  The Tretorn Nylite women's canvas tennis shoe, born in 1964, is regarded as the first luxury sports shoe. Worn by Bj√∂rn Borg in the era when tennis stars made rock stars blush, and immortalized by 1980's The Official Preppy Handbook, the Nylite epitomizes Swedish minimalism, making it a favorite for nearly 50 years.  New Designers had a week to add their flavor to the classic shoes.  Check out 10th grade Ana Q's version above. 

New Design and August Wilson

NDHS Theater Students recorded two of August Wilson most powerful dramas--The Piano Lesson and Fences--as a radio play, using sound equipment recently purchased for the school. 

"Berta Berta" is a chain-gang song from the 1930's and centerpiece for much of Wilson's work. It is performed by Block F students under the direction of Jamie Price.This is followed by a dialogue from The Piano Lesson, featuring Shayla Hall as Berniece and Marcus Omowale as her suitor, Avery Brown.

Each student received a copy of their own recording for posterity. "It's an amazing tool for instruction" says teacher Avram Kline of the new equipment. "It allows students to assess voice and expressiveness. I'm planning to record each of my freshmen reading from their essays--it may do much to improve their writing." 

Listen to Berta, Berta

Listen to Piano Lesson

Friday, May 24, 2013

Class of 2013 Graduation

Original artwork by Luca D'Onofrio, Founding Class of 2007
Graduation of the Class of 2013 is Wednesday, June 26, 2013 at 11:00am! All graduating seniors will receive 5 tickets for entry, all children 12 and under are free and additional tickets will be sold at the door for $5.

9th Grade Orientation - Class of 2017

As we begin planning for the 2013-2014 school year, we invite you to our 9th grade orientation: June 6, 2013 at 1:00 PM School LIBRARY 4th floor 350 Grand Street New York, New York 10002 Subway: J/M/Z to Delancey/Essex, B/D to Grand Street During year one of high school there are a lot of new routines, schedules and expectations and it may feel overwhelming. We hope to alleviate some of this anxiety by answering many of the questions that students think about in the transition from middle to high school. At orientation we will be reviewing academic and behavioral expectations, discuss class and school wide bell schedules, and take ID photos. Please RSVP to the orientation by calling 212-475-4148 x 436 or emailing our Dean of Attendance, Michael Casiano at We encourage you to fully embrace this moment and urge you to take the time from your busy schedule to become familiar with our school community. Your commitment to your childs successful high school experience starts June 6, 2013! We look forward to meeting you at the orientation. Should you have any questions please do feel free to contact the school at 212-475-4148.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Lowline and New Design

Lowline from Mediastorm New Design on Vimeo.

New Design has a new partnership developing with the folks over at the Lowline Project.  The Lowline is a proposed underground park, inspired by the Highline, a block from school in the old Delancey Subway Station.  You can learn more about the project from their Kickstarter Campaign.  Students and staff from New Design and staff from the Lowline worked together during our recent intersession

What's next? Two 10th grade students in the intersession, Tiffany R. and Yeffrey E, have been asked to join the Lowline Team as Youth Ambassadors.  On Saturday, May 4th as part of the New Museum Streetfest.  Tiffany, Yeffrey and the Lowline folks will be setting up setting up an active green space for local artists and the community right above the proposed park space.  Visitors will be able to relax, ponder the possibilities of the pedestrian plaza, and provide ideas for the future Lowline park underground.  Ideas will be visually displayed to create a growing wall that beautifully displays the community's thoughts, views and opinions.  Check out a draft of the video made by New Design students from the intersession who were checking out local parks to help the Lowline project understand.  Be careful.  Teenagers have a hard time making choices so the video is 14 minutes so far.  Some cuts will need to be made to get it to under 5 minutes.  

Friday, April 19, 2013

Lady Liberty, NYCSALT and a Syracuse

Ashley V
Ashley V's photo Lady Liberty

Senior Ashley V. will be going to Syracuse University in July with a full four year HEOP scholarship.  Big thanks to the professional photographer Alicia Hansen and the NYCSALT Program.  Ashley joined SALT several years ago.  The program is predominately New Designers.  Check out New Design Class of 2012 graduates Christian and Devin with Alicia below.  Both are in their second year at SCAD.  

Dr. Phil Joins Dr. Jody and Dr. Scott

Dr. Phil with Japheth Wood, Mathematics Faculty, Bard College
Phil D. is our original math teacher at New Design High.  He was one of our founders ten years ago when New Design opened.  He is also a Math for America Master Teacher.  Phil recently finished his doctorate at Columbia University in math.  It is not only impressive that he completed a doctoral program from Columbia University, but he did it while teaching full time.  Phil's dissertation focused on determining the extent to which the modeling of deductive reasoning and proof-type thinking occurs in a students first Algebra course in the United States.  There are many in the field that believe that proof is the “major distinguishing component” of mathematics and that its essence is the essence of math.  Alarmingly, Dr. Phil concluded from his research that students may have difficulty identifying, generating and comprehending proof and engaging in deductive reasoning because they do not have enough models and examples of such reasoning in their mathematics instruction.  

Dr. Jody of New Design and Hunter College
Dr. Phil is our third staff member to receive a doctorate degree joining Dr. Jody and founding principal Dr. Scott who graduated from Teachers College Columbia University.  Dr. Jody is our Literacy Intervention Specialist.  She is full time Assistant Professor in Adolescent Literacy at Hunter College.  Jody began her work with urban youth in 1994 when she was a counselor for runaway teenagers in Washington, D.C. In 1999, she received her Master’s degree in English education and worked as a high school reading and English teacher in a dropout prevention program. In 2002, she was awarded National Board Certification, and in 2003, she received a fellowship to New York University where she completed her doctoral degree in English education. Her research focuses on urban adolescents and their experiences in student-led book clubs, as well as culturally responsive instruction in English language arts classrooms.

Ramona, Copper Union and Design Your Future

Horse by Ramona
Strategospy Study 
Newspaper Study 
Cooper Union will be welcoming their second New Design student next year.  Senior Ramona G. just received notice that she was accepted into the school.  This is no ordinary feat.  US News and World Report ranked the school the seventh hardest school in the nation to get into.  Harder than Yale, Princeton, Brown, MIT and Dartmouth.  In fact, only 7.7% of applicants get accepted.  The school, located right up the street from New Design, was founded by inventor and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859.  Since it founding the college admits undergraduates solely on merit and awards full scholarships to all students.  Super proud of her and all the New Design seniors.  

All New Design graduates for the last two years have been accepted to one or more colleges.  How did we do it?  There are many reasons but one of the main is our partnership with our Community of Unity (CoU) to run our college and career programs.  The Design Your Future Program was founded at New Design High School and continues to evolve to make sure all New Design students are college and career ready.  See more below about CoU.  By the way, all the beautiful students in the video are New Designers.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Youth Design Revolution


Youth Design Revolution is a youth-design business where creative professional learn from urban teens. The program is a partnership between New Design High School, Urban Arts Partnership and Sweaty Equity Enterprise. The program is being funded by the good people at Operation Design who are sponsoring a pilot this spring, housed in UAP's Peapod Adobe Youth Academy, focused on 12 New Design students designing products for the New Design Pop-Up Shop in May.  

Monday, April 01, 2013

Shakesphere and his Posse

Marcus performing his Sonnet
 The English-Speaking Union of New York held the finals of its 31st annual Branch Shakespeare Competition this month at the Morgan Library and Museum. The event was part of the 2013 English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition.  New Design's own Marcus Omowale of New Design High School placed 2nd in the competition; he received $250 from the Shakespeare Society and tickets to the Theatre for a New Audience’s Much Ado About Nothing.  He beat out students from some of the top theater high schools in the city.

Marcus has been on a role this month recently accepted to the Posse Program.  Posse is one of the most competitive, comprehensive and well-known college access and youth leadership development programs in the United States.  The program gives full scholarships to students at prestigious colleges and universities that host them.  Students receive support and leadership training with other "posse" students in the hopes that students will not only graduate from college  but also serve as a catalyst for increased individual and community development.

Marcus will be our first posse student but we expect many more to come in the following years.  100% of New Design graduates were accepted to colleges and universities from the class of 2012.  We will have similar numbers this year with the class of 2013.  Acceptances are still coming in but we have already had students accepted to a large number of schools including Beloit College, Ithaca College, City College, Sage College, Alfred State, Buffalo State, Baruch College, Queens College, Hunter College, Brooklyn College, Purchase College and SUNY Purchase, Geneseo, Oswego, and Cobleskill.  Our design interested students have also been accepted to a number of art and design based schools including Parsons, FIT, SVA and Pratt.  

Big Congrats to Kwan H. who became the first New Design student ever accepted to the Macaulay Hunters College program. The program is unbelievably competitive with less than 20% of applicants being accepted. Kwan will be receiving 100% free tuition, a new laptop and $7,500 a year stipend.

Kwan H is off to Hunter Next Year