Design Works High School
Design the future you want to see
Design Works High School students apply design thinking to solve complex problems and build a more equitable world. They collaborate, critique, defend, and revise throughout design challenges, graduating ready to pursue their passions in college, creative careers, and as social justice leaders.
Learning happens inside and outside of school through industry, community, and university partnerships, enabling students to access apprenticeships and college coursework. In our inclusive and responsive community, all students are known deeply and their voices are valued in making and re-making the school.
Through strong personal relationships and applied practice, students are empowered to design the future they want to see.
Design Works High School students each deeply explore one realm of world building:
Students who join this realm will study art, interior design, digital design, and branding. They will have the opportunity to take an AP exam & have the opportunity to earn college credit.
Students who join this realm will study IT & software engineering. They will have the opportunity to take the AP software engineering exam & obtain an industry standard certification.
Students who join this realm will study the economics and laws behind housing in our communities. They will work with urban planners and community based organizations to understand housing needs. They will have the opportunity to earn college credit.
Our founding team of teachers and staff bring impressive experience from schools across New York City!
Interim Acting Principal
Ms. Hunter is a 15 year NYC public school educator. Previously Ms. Hunter was co-founder of the Urban Assembly Gateway School for Technology, a small, public, unscreened technology-focused high school in Midtown, Manhattan.
Ms. Hunter is also an entrepreneur and educonsultant; she has supported countless non-profit organizations and small businesses in curriculum design. Ms Hunter is committed to promoting a pedagogy of dignity for all young people and enjoys connecting with educators who are guided by similar principles.
Currently, Ms. Hunter is accepting resumes from dynamic educators that are interested in joining the founding team for our new high school. If you are interested, please send your resume and cover letter to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the Press
Frequently Asked Questions
Don't see your question? Email email@example.com!
How do I attend an open house or school tour?
What are DWHS’ admission requirements?
We are not a screened school, and students are admitted by the Department of Education's enrollment process. You can learn more about this at MySchools.nyc.
My child is currently a freshman and would like to transfer to Design Works. Is this possible?
New schools only accept one grade at a time. We will only be welcoming rising freshmen for the 2023-2024 school year. If your child already has their 9th grade credits, we will not be able to offer them a seat this year.
Building & Safety
Will there be construction going on in the building while our children are at school?
Construction is not allowed to occur during the school day. There will be no work done in the building until after 3:30 p.m., and that work will be done on other floors.
What will be the schedule for the school day?
As of August 14th, the Design Works school day will run from 8:40 a.m. to 3:10 p.m. to include:
1st Period (60 minutes)
2nd Period (60 minutes)
3rd Period (60 minutes)
4th Period (40 minutes) - alternate days between advisory and P.E.
Lunch (44 minutes)
5th Period (44 minutes)
6th Period (44 minutes)
Office Hours (24 minutes) - Every day ends with teachers holding office hours. These are invite-only; teachers use this time to provide additional support to students who may have struggled with the class content that day.
Is there a calendar for Design Works events?
We will be sharing more details on upcoming events for Design Works families and students in the fall! As a reminder, you can always see all New York City Department of Education schools' general calendar here.
Summer Opportunities and Preparation
What summer homework should students complete before the first day of school?
All Design Works families should have received the summer assignment. Please check your email and let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have not received it.
What should we be looking to purchase for freshman year?
In the Design Works High School Welcome Letter you can find the list of needs on the second page! Students may bring a laptop to and from school, but it is not required. We will provide necessary technology & other learning materials during the school day.
How do we sign up for a home visit, and why do we need one?
School staff spend a significant amount of time in the school building with students. That is to say, the school is our home! We want you to feel right at home as well :).
Before the school year begins, we would love to get to know you. We schedule home visits for no other reason than to begin establishing a relationship with you. Home visits are not interviews; you've already been accepted into the school! However, home visits have been statistically proven to improve student interactions and relationships with school staff, which typically translates to higher student performance. You might be interested to know that New Orleans is considering mandating home visits for all schools! Principal Hunter has been doing home visits for 11 years, and truly enjoys them.
You can let us know what month and time is convenient for you HERE and if there are any other questions, please do get in touch.
My family is solidifying our summer plans. When is the Opening Ceremony trip?
Since so many families are planning to travel this year, we have pushed the trip to early September. Enjoy your summer and be on the lookout for summer homework coming your way soon! We promise it'll be fun, and it will also give us a little glimpse into your child's academic abilities.
I have a student with a deep interest in art & design. Where is the list of summer/college credit programs at Pratt?
It's great that you're already thinking about this! You can access the list of programs HERE. I suggest putting a reminder in your phone for when applications open up for particular programs. These programs are offered yearly, so if your family is planning to go away this summer, your child can still join in one of the following years.
I have a student with a deep interest in social justice. Is there a summer program for that?
We have a relationship with the founders of The ROOTS Project. Though the program usually costs $750, they are currently holding space for 2-4 more Design Works High School students to attend at no cost. You do not have to qualify for financial assistance. If you are interested in having your child participate this summer, or have questions, please visit the website. Hurry though, spots are going fast!
Will the Regents exams my student is taking in eighth grade “count” or make them eligible for higher-level coursework in ninth grade?
Yes, as long as you cross the “college ready” threshold (typically a 75 for ELA and 80 for Algebra). For example, if your student earns a 65 on their Algebra Regents, they will take ninth grade algebra because they are not yet college ready in this subject. If your student earned a 90 in their 8th grade Algebra Regents exam, they would take Geometry in ninth grade.
Can students choose their own classes?
For ninth grade, all students will take the same classes. After that, they will have the opportunity to make course decisions based on interest and credits earned.
Will Design Works High School offer AP courses?
Yes, Design Works High School will offer a variety of AP courses for students to participate in and potentially earn college credit.
Students may also earn college credit through College Now courses or Pratt's pre-college programming.
What after school programs are being offered and when will they start?
In October, we’ll hold a fair for all students to engage with clubs already being offered by staff or students and pitch ideas for new ones. Anyone can start a club as long as they have 25 signatures supporting their effort!
What sports teams will the school have/connect students to?
We will connect interested students to PSAL programs in the area, where they can play alongside students from other local schools. We will tell you when you need to get a physical, and accompany students to their first tryout.
However, as we grow over the years, we will have Design Works sports teams!
Do keep in mind that if you are in AAU and hoping to stand out or earn a scholarship, we do recommend staying in AAU as it is typically more competitive than PSAL.
Policies for Students
Can students leave school for lunch?
Students will, as a class, be able to earn the privilege of going off-campus for lunch. If and when they do, they must:
Wear something that clearly identifies them as a Design Works High School student (e.g., t-shirt, hat, lanyard)
Be respectful to the community
Go in groups; no one should be alone
Will the children be served the typical DOE breakfasts and lunches?
Yes, at least at first. In the future we can explore options for alternatives.
Is there a bathroom for LGBTQIA+ students?
We will be designating one single-occupancy restroom as a private bathroom available to LGBTQIA+ students who need it. These students will be discreetly given a key to ensure safe access.