Parsons School of Design Brings Innovative Program to Newark, NJ High School, Opening Design Careers for Students Underrepresented in Creative Fields

September 30, 2021

Newark School of Fashion and Design Powered by Parsons School of Design Represents A Groundbreaking Model of Collaboration Between Higher Ed Institutions and Public School Districts   


Newark School of Fashion and Design powered by Parsons School of Design (NSFD) held a festive ribbon-cutting ceremony today to celebrate the opening of its innovative program of design education for high school students in Newark, New Jersey.   


The new fashion and design high school launches a groundbreaking model of collaboration between institutions of higher education and public school districts. Nationally renowned Parsons School of Design is bringing its interdisciplinary curriculum to communities that have traditionally been underrepresented in the creative disciplines in order to increase students’ access to world-class design education to prepare for design and fashion careers.    


“Inspired by the transformative potential of design education for over a century, Parsons is dedicated to ensuring that the next generation of designers truly reflects our society,” said Rachel Schreiber, Executive Dean of Parsons School of Design. “At NSFD, tomorrow’s creative leaders will engage in real-world learning. They will develop as critical thinkers and change-makers capable of addressing the most urgent issues of our time, and prepared to  contribute to the world of fashion deeply informed by equity, inclusion, and social justice.”  


Parsons School of Design, ranked the #1 school of design in the U.S., is bringing its pedagogy and expertise to the Newark school district with a four-year roll-out. This collaboration will offer students and educators a forward-thinking approach to fashion and design and open new career possibilities for students in one of the most challenged school districts in the region.  


“NSFD represents a unique opportunity to bring the best of the best in design education to Newark’s public high school students to this exceptional quality of training and resources,” said Sakina Pitts, Principal of NSFD. “We are thrilled to afford our students unmatched opportunities to imagine, problem solve, and collaborate in preparation for successful futures in the fashion and design worlds.”  


Newark’s public schools are making investments in creating high school career pathways for their students. One way they are doing this is through the new high school’s curriculum, which aims to help its students unlock the power of fashion and design to spark systemic societal change. In addition to using Parsons’ pedagogy, NSFD will receive:

  • Professional Development and Guidance: Parsons faculty will meet with the NSFD educators to partner and develop programs that support pedagogy and educator needs through professional development days, workshops, and ongoing Parsons Faculty Office Hours. 
  • Supplemental Education Support: Parsons will provide coursework to accelerate NSFD student learning, prepare them for the next school year and provide real-world experience. In addition, eligibility and access to Parsons Academy Summer intensives for rising seniors will be available.
  • Access to Industry & University Activities and Events: Parsons will coordinate field trips and engagements for students to connect with the Parsons community and afford them the opportunity to explore a career in fashion and design.


“The Newark School of Fashion and Design powered by Parsons reflects The New School’s deep commitment to activating principles of equity, inclusion and social justice in order to broaden creative opportunities across diverse communities,” said Debbie Gibb, Senior Managing Director at The New School. “As a transformative model of innovation in education, this initiative represents a major milestone in our drive to open new collaborations with strategic partners that extend the power of broadly accessible, progressive, and meaningful higher education.” 

To learn more about the strategic partnership opportunities offered by Parsons School of Design, please visit:



The Newark School of Fashion & Design (NSFD) will debut in September 2021, with the inaugural class graduating in 2025. NSFD will inspire students to explore their academic and creative potential through the lens of fashion and design by leveraging the design process across the curriculum. NSFD is one of four new high schools that the Newark school district has opened since 2019, including Newark Vocational High School, Newark School of Global Studies, and Newark School of Data Science and Information Technology. For more information about the Newark School of Fashion & Design, please visit

Parsons School of Design at The New School is one of the top three institutions for art and design education in the world. Based in New York but active around the world, the school offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the full spectrum of art and design disciplines, as well as online courses, degree and certificate programs. Critical thinking and collaboration are at the heart of a Parsons education. Parsons graduates are leaders in their respective fields, with a shared commitment to creatively and critically addressing the complexities of life in the 21st century.