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July 28, 2017

Washington Heights Middle School Students Reveal Sustainable “Future City” Project at DDC Summer Enrichment Program

Ian Michaels

New York, NY – New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña was on hand today as 30 rising 6th and 7th graders from PS/IS 366 in Washington Heights showcased their “Future City” project as they neared the end of the NYC Department of Design and Construction’s (DDC) 2017 Middle School Summer Enrichment Program. The program, administered by DDC’s STEAM division, is designed to introduce students to the built environment using STEAM’s “Building the Future” curriculum.

Students at PS/IS 366
Students at PS/IS 366 received certificates of completion with DOE Chancellor Carmen Fariña

Students in the program were selected by PS/IS 366 to participate, and receive instruction four days per week from DDC and DOE educators in science, technology, engineering, art/architecture and math (STEAM). On Fridays the students visit sites where they focus on the relationship between architecture, design, and visual art. Field trips have included the New York Hall of Science in Queens, where they viewed the “Dream Big” film about engineering, and the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum in Manhattan.

The students used what they learned about engineering, modeling and sustainable design to create their own concept Future City, incorporating engineering and architectural concepts that they studied over the summer. The students were divided into two groups, with each building a conceptual model city covering 16-square-feet. Their Future Cities include hand-constructed models, many wired with solar lighting, with an emphasis on green technology and solar power.

“DDC’s educational programs expose students to career opportunities they may not have considered, or may not have through possible for themselves,” said DDC Acting Commissioner Ana Barrio. “With more than 1,500 students reached in less than three years, DDC’s STEAM division is helping to create the builders of the future.”

“As a lifelong educator, I understand how important it is that our children are active learners year-round, and I thank DDC for its commitment to high-quality summer STEAM education for New York City kids,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “Our children benefit tremendously from hands-on, engaging summer programs like this one, and like our Summer in the City programs across all five boroughs.”

"Upper Manhattan is the perfect proving ground for how transformative STEAM education can be," said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez. "The investments we make today will put our students into the good paying jobs of tomorrow. That is why I'm so proud of the partnerships our schools are forging with NYC DDC, as well as how intent Chancellor Fariña has been in prioritizing these programs for our students. We have to change the landscape of tech and engineering industries currently devoid of women, blacks and Latinos and this is the way to do it."

Hennessy Hurtado, a rising sixth grader at PS/IS 366
Hennessy Hurtado, a rising sixth grader at PS/IS 366

“This summer enrichment program gives our students an opportunity to learn through hands-on activities, work with experts in STEAM fields, and gain 21st-century skills – all while preventing summer learning loss,” said Manuel Ramirez, District 6 Community Superintendent. “I thank DDC for its partnership in sparking District 6 students’ interest in science and math and showing them the possibilities that are out there for them in these fields.”

“Using DDC’s vocabulary and content rich introductory engineering curricula Building the Future, over the summer our District 6 young engineers have traveled the world, learning about the built environment from ancient time to the present,” said DDC Community Partnerships & STEAM Initiatives Deputy Commissioner Lee Llambelis. “They have visited several great NYC cultural institutions, including the Cooper Hewitt Museum of Art where they studied the relationship between architecture, engineering, design and visual art. They also visited the New York Hall of Science where they explored demonstrations of mechanical systems, models of ecosystems, and saw the documentary ‘Dream Big: Engineering Our World,’ a film about engineering that takes viewers on a journey of discovery from the world’s tallest building to a bridge higher than the clouds. Our students have learned how today’s engineers are shaping the world of tomorrow. The experience provided a unique opportunity to set up our students for success in the fall and to avoid the dreaded summer slide.”

“I’m grateful to be in the STEAM program this summer because I’m happy to learn new things that can help me in the future,” said Hennessy Hurtado, a rising sixth-grader at PS/IS 366. “I learned I can do things for myself and also learned a lot about the foundations of math and physics. I think this program will help me in high school in college because I’ve been exposed to a lot of ideas.”

This is the second year of DDC’s Middle School Summer Enrichment Program. For 2017, the program is active at six locations citywide, including PS/IS 366; the Lower East Side Girl’s Club; and, in coordination with the NYC Department of Youth & Community Development and LeAp (Learning through an Expanded Arts Program), at JHS 125, IS 22 and MS 228 in the Bronx, and JHS 88 in Brooklyn.

DDC STEAM started in 2014 to establish a diverse and inclusive pipeline for New York City's youth to engage in the architecture, construction, and engineering industries. Students in the Middle School Summer Enrichment Program will receive free backpacks, books on construction so they can pursue their learning, and certificates of completion. Over 1,550 students have been served by STEAM since its inception.

About the NYC Department of Design and Construction
The Department of Design and Construction is the City’s primary capital construction project manager. In supporting Mayor de Blasio’s lenses of growth, sustainability, resiliency, equity and healthy living, DDC provides communities with new or renovated public buildings such as such as firehouses, libraries, police precincts, new or upgraded roadways, sewers, water mains in all five boroughs. To manage this $15 billion portfolio, DDC partners with other City agencies, architects and consultants, whose experience bring efficient, innovative, and environmentally-conscious design and construction strategies to city projects. For more information, please visit