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DDC and DOE Educators Help Bring the STEAM “Building the Future” Curriculum to More City Students

April 5, 2018

Ian Michaels

New York, NY –  Educators from the NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) and the NYC Department of Education (DOE) came together at Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan this week for a three-day professional development program in which 29 public middle school teachers were introduced to the DDC’s “Building the Future” curriculum’s hands-on engineering- and architecture-related activities.

The training program was organized under the DOE’s STEM Institute. DDC educational programs are conducted through its STEAM initiative, which partners with DOE and the NYC Department of Youth & Community Development (DYCD) to bring initiatives such as the Young Engineers Program to students citywide. Overall, DDC STEAM has engaged 2,289 students in various programs since its inception in 2015, working exclusively with Title I schools.

NYC public middle school teachers
NYC public middle school teachers practice activities from the “Building the Future” curriculum at Stuyvesant HS this week

“By teaching the teachers we are able to greatly increase the number of young people we can engage with our STEAM programming, introducing them to career opportunities they may not have imagined for themselves before,” said DDC Acting Commissioner Ana Barrio. “DDC STEAM has opened many doors to young people throughout the City as they continue their personal development.”

“Our STEM educators are doing great work across the City, and it was so exciting to meet with – and have to opportunity to speak to – some of the them on Tuesday at the STEM Institute,” said Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza. “I thank DDC for its support for NYC educators and students, including the ‘Building the Future’ workshop at the STEM Institute. The partnership we’re building is opening doors for our students, the next generation of architects, engineers and innovators.”

“Our goal with DDC STEAM professional development is to bring math and science concepts to life and to bring engineering and problem solving to NYC students. In our Train the Trainer sessions, we give educators, in this case, New York City Public School teachers enrolled in the DOE STEM Institute, the opportunity to explore the concepts and methodologies in a fun environment so they are confident implementing the program. It was wonderful to see how excited the teachers were as they performed the very same experiments their students will be implementing in the classroom,” said DDC Deputy Commissioner for Community Partnerships & STEAM Initiatives Lee Llambelis.

DDC’s “Building the Future” curriculum emphasizes the structural characteristics of 3D shapes, bridge engineering, constructing with I-beams, creating building models and green technologies such as bioswales, tower gardens and green roofs. The curriculum was developed by DDC’s office of Community Partnerships and STEAM in partnership with Dr. Leonisa Ardizzone, a science educator and founder of Storefront Science. It is currently being implemented as part of the Young Engineers Program, a program designed to teach middle school students the fundamentals of environmentally responsible city planning as it pertains to public buildings and infrastructure.

As part of the training, DOE middle school teachers performed many of the activities that students in the program go through, including modeling buildings, infrastructure, homes, bridges, public areas and streetscapes to demonstrate design and construction methods that can better withstand climate change and rising sea levels.

The teachers in this week’s program represent 27 separate middle schools. DDC STEAM has helped organize five professional development workshops since June 2017, reaching 99 instructors from 68 schools or organizations from every borough.

Other successful DDC STEAM programs include Opportunity Academy, the Ace Mentor ProgramTown & Gown and the High School Summer Internship program a six-week paid internship program for students interested in pursuing careers in architecture, engineering, building trades, public administration, business administration or information technology.

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 long-term vision of growth, sustainability, resiliency, equity and healthy living, DDC provides communities with new or renovated public buildings such as firehouses, libraries, police precincts, and new or upgraded roads, sewers and water mains in all five boroughs. To manage this $13 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