New Design High School

Grades 9-12
350 Grand Street
Manhattan NY 10002
Phone: 212-475-4148
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Our Insights

What’s Special

Strong design program; small class size.

The Downside

Spanish is only foreign language; limited onsite after school activities.

New Design opened in 2003 with the idea that studying design helps students develop strong academic, social and emotional skills. One of five small high schools housed in the Seward Park Educational Campus, New Design is an artsy, laid-back place with a strong design program, lots of new technology and effective community partnerships.

Students take a four-year sequence of design courses, each year focusing on a different theme and type of media. In 9th grade, students study identity through visual arts; in 10th grade they explore community through fashion or construction; in 11th grade , three-dimensional perspectives drives the furniture design curriculum; and in 12th grade, students consider their future in digital media or in advanced fashion design.

The hallways are lined with patches of blackboard decorated with drawings and inspirational messages etched in colored chalk. Teachers have lots of flexibility in class structure and each class we visited had a different arrangement of chairs. We heard soft jazz music playing in one room while students worked at laptops.

In 9th grade English students must learn to write "an amazing" paragraph," according to founding Principal Scott Conti. "Once you can you can write one amazing paragraph, you can write a lot more." Speaking, listening, and reflection are core milestones in Socratic Seminar, the 10th grade English course where students spend entire lessons addressing each other directly while seated in chairs arranged in a large circle.

Typical students at New Design enter high school performing below grade level. Class sizes are small, most have fewer than 25 students. Some, like English, are taught in longer periods of up to 75 minutes. Most students don't take Regents Algebra and Living Environment until 10th grade; they spend their freshman year shoring up fundamental skills in pre-algebra and human ecology. Spanish is the only foreign language taught.

Class offerings are limited. Stronger students may take Advanced Placement classes, and there are College Now courses as well as an advanced Spanish class for native speakers. One ambitious, tech-savvy senior we met took the 12th grade digital design course during his sophomore year to free up his senior schedule for college-level courses.

New Design participates in iZone360, the Department of Education's school technology initiative. "We're moving to the Cloud," said Conti referring to the school's increased use of online technology such as Google Docs. As part of iZone360, New Design received funding for teachers to commit extra hours to a range of responsibilities including one-on-one tutoring, documenting lesson plans online and providing regular and detailed feedback to students via online programs.

The school benefits from strong community partnerships. New York University provides student teachers. Community of Unity, a not-for-profit youth development organization runs health, wellness and character development programs onsite. The school also has affiliations with cultural and arts organizations such as Urban Arts, Rooftop films and the Museum of Art and Design.

College admission: Nearly all graduates attend college, with half enrolling in four-year programs, schools officials said. The school has a full-time college advisor.

Special education: New Design has ICT (Integrated Collaborative Teaching) classes each lead by two teachers; some also have a paraprofessional.

After school: Through Urban Arts, students participate in off-site arts and academic activities. Student athletes can participate in the campus-wide PSAL teams. There's a skate boarding program on the building's roof top.

Admissions: Students are admitted according to the educational option formula designed to ensure a mix of low- average and high achieving students. (Laura Zingmond, October 2011)

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School Stats

Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Is this school safe and well-run?

From 2016-17 NYC School Survey

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
77% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
85% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
36% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
80% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
81% Citywide Average

From 2015-16 NY State Report Card

How many students were suspended?
3% Citywide Average

From this school's most recent Quality Review Report

Are teachers effective?

From 2016-17 School Quality Guide

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
74% Citywide Average
Years of principal experience at this school

How do students perform academically?

From 2016-17 School Quality Guide

How many students graduate in 4 years?
77% Citywide Average
How many students graduate with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?
37% Citywide Average
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
38% Citywide Average
How many graduates stay enrolled in college for at least 3 semesters?
64% Citywide Average

From 2017 NY State Graduation Outcomes

How many graduates earn Advanced Regents diplomas?
13% Citywide Average

Who does this school serve?

From 2017-18 Demographic Snapshot

Free or reduced priced lunch
Students with disabilities
English language learners

From 2016-17 School Quality Guide

Average daily attendance
87% Citywide Average
How many students miss 18 or more days of school?
37% Citywide Average

How does this school serve special populations?

From 2016-17 School Quality Guide

How many students with disabilities graduate in 4 years?
59% Citywide Average
How many English language learners graduate in 4 years?
66% Citywide Average

For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data · More DOE statistics for this school

Directory Details

Programs and Admissions

New Design High School
Admissions Method: Ed. Opt.
Program Description


Language Courses


Advanced Placement (AP) courses

AP English Language and Composition, AP English Literature and Composition, AP U.S. History


Boys PSAL teams

Badminton, Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Handball, Volleyball, Wrestling

Girls PSAL teams

Badminton, Basketball, Bowling, Softball, Table Tennis, Tennis, Volleyball

Read about admissions, academics, and more at this school on the NYCDOE’s School Finder
NYC Department of Education: School Finder

Contact & Location


Chinatown (District 2)
Trains: B Line, D Line to Grand St; F Line, J Line, M Line, Z Line to Delancey St-Essex St
Buses: B39, M103, M14A, M14D, M15, M15-SBS, M21, M22, M9


Scott Conti
Parent Coordinator

Other Details

Shared campus?
This school shares the Seward Park Educational Campus with four other schools
Metal detectors?


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