Urban Assembly School of Design & Construction

Urban Assembly School of Design & Construction


School Description

"The School of Design and Construction is a high school in Manhattan. We opened in September 2004 with an initial class of 100 ninth graders. Our school has an architecture theme, a college preparatory curriculum, and powerful partnerships with organizations throughout the city. SDC takes advantage of its location in New York City – the center of the design universe – to expose students to architectural landmarks and building sites and to the finest architecture and engineering firms in the country. Students will leave UASDC with a greater appreciation and understanding for the built environment that surrounds and shapes them, and they will be prepared to succeed in college." 

Contact Information

Website: www.uasdc.org

Principal: Matthew Willoughby- matt.willoughby@uasdc.org

Four-Year Plan Goals

Goal One: To integrate our theme of Design and Construction throughout all academic classes.

Goal Two: To create a Design Elective, Material Studies, that offers students a project-based elective arts course that utilizes design thinking and the design process


Goal One: The school found a great partner organization that offered both the right kind of design PD for groups of teachers as well as push-in opportunities to pair teaching artists with individual classroom teachers to co-design a project for a particular unit and co-teach it. The school also instituted a committee of teachers that would be peer leaders and mentors for design-integrated work in the school, and each department was tasked with developing, not just design-integrated units but whole electives. ETA support primarily went to funding the partner organization and teachers' planning time.

Goal Two: This was a one-year goal that just needed seed funding to support the teacher as he planned and documented the curriculum, and paid for his time teaching for an additional period. After the first year, the class was blended into the teacher's regular class load and is a continued elective arts offering.

Arts Partnerships

Goal One: Beam Center was the lead partner for all design integration work at the school. Beam developed customized professional learning for small and big faculty groups, as well as worked with individual teachers to develop new units and projects.

Sustainability Plan

Goal One: Continued cycles of profesional learning and peer share-outs will prepare new staff members and help continue to support and inspire veteran staff. With all new lessons, units and electives documented, staff will have a growing library of ideas to pull from.

Goal Two: As this was only a one-year goal, the sustainability for the work was clear well before the end of the four-year commitment. The principal integrated the class into the teacher's regular class load, ensuring that the work he built with ETA's initial support can continue in perpetuity.