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Educating Children of Promise since 1965

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DDC Courses - Overview

Humanities Courses

  • Youth Historians in Harlem (in partnership with Teachers College, Columbia University): Explore the connections between the history of Harlem’s community and its schools with present-day issues as seen from the perspective of young people. Participants, working with Columbia students, will learn to think and work like social scientists as they investigate the work of historians and research a topic that they feel is relevant and interesting to them.  Previous topics include Understanding Harlem through Street Art; The Media, Harlem, and the Civil Rights Movement; and The History of Harlem’s Public Schools (e.g. Wadleigh Secondary School for the Performing & Visual Arts).
  • Crime, Poverty, and Social Inequalities Students will engage in activities that challenge their ideas about crime and poverty.  They will develop their sociological understanding of society and the relationship between crime, poverty, and social inequalities. Like social scientists, students will interrogate ideas surrounding human behavior in the context of adverse, inequitable circumstances via art, reading, and writing.  Students will read Evicted by Matthew Desmond and Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. 
  • Examining Justice and Race Through the Written Word – Part II : Students will improve their writing skills as they work to develop evidence-based arguments that articulate their thoughts and views on difficult topics.   Students will critically examine justice and race through a contemporary lens of social issues and events; and through the exploration of themes in texts like Born A Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah and Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates.

  • Global/World History: In this course, participants will practice document analysis, writing highly developed responses to data-based questions (DBQs), and thematic essay development.  Students will learn effective strategies to plan an essay under pressure (e.g. writing on demand) and how to craft compelling introductions as the point of entry to developing a strong essay.  This course is designed to help prepare for the NYS Global History Regents exam and/or the AP World History exam. While the course will include some focus on different topics to clarify ideas, issues, and concepts related to Global/World History, the primary focus will be to help students strengthen their skills to effectively respond to exam questions in this content area.

  • AP-Aligned African-American History : Survey course of African-American history. Participants will examine the experience of African Americans throughout the United States.  They also will explore various topics in American history. This course will help students prepare for US History Regents and AP exams as they deepen their skills in responding to data-based questions (DBQs). Topics include: Race-Based Slavery, The Constitution and Slavery, Slave laws, Slave narratives, Reconstruction, Jim Crow and the African American Experience between 1890 and 1945, and the Civil Rights Movement. 

  • College Writing 101: (In partnership with Columbia University School of the Arts): Description forthcoming.

  • Creative Writing – Get Those Ideas Flowing!: (In partnership with Columbia University School of the Arts): Students will learn strategies to get ideas flowing and find the best form to express their thoughts through the creative writing process. They will explore traditional and nontraditional writing forms to learn about exciting possibilities for their own artistic expression.  Teachers will assign fun, thoughtful prompts to help students practice putting their thoughts on paper as they complete in-class creative writing exercises. Students will be encouraged to think outside the box and explore the different forms their ideas can take – poetry, fiction, non-fiction, scripts, screenplays, and even genre-bending pieces that use other modern media (e.g. YouTube videos, advertisements, and social media). Students will improve their writing skills and have opportunities to publish their work in Calico, a publication of Columbia Artist/Teachers – an organization in Columbia University School of the Arts.

  • ¡Get Ready for Writing! : Students will learn strategies to help them dissect reading passages, literary structures, content, and grammar. They also will build their critical thinking and writing skills by effectively planning and revising their written work.

  • Pero like…Contemporary Movements and Cultural Identity in the United States: Students will learn about two critical and contemporary social movements (e.g. DACA and Hispanic/Latino/Latinx) to help further develop their stance on the issues through response papers and discussion. Students will be exposed to different mediums of resources via texts and videos from media outlets such as The Washington Post, Remezcla, We are Mitú, Brave New Films, PBS and What Happens to a Dream Deferred a short film about DACA. They will also have the opportunity to visit the Museum of the City of New York to analyze the “Activities of New York” exhibit. As well as El Museo del Barrio to explore the cultural heritage of Latin American Art contributing to cultural identity.  

  • We Have Spoken: What is Spoken Word?  Google’s Definition: Spoken word is a performance art that is word based. It is an oral art that focuses on the aesthetics of word play such as intonation and voice inflection. Course Definition: Spoken word is poetry/rap/stories performed out-loud with your personality, your flow, your voice. We Have Spoken is your outlet for self expression in a safe space. We will explore use of literary devices, themes, strengthen your public speaking and performance skills through spoken word poetry. 

STEM Courses

  • Discover Science at Zuckerman (In partnership with Columbia University’s Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute): Discover Science at Zuckerman is a five-week after-school program for DDC middle school students.  Participants will learn how to design and carry out science experiments in a lab at Columbia University. They will work with neuroscientists to learn to ask scientific questions, use lab equipment & methods, how to interpret and understand data, and how science is all around us.

  • Mathematics: Ever wonder why you need to know how 4b = 3b + b = 2(2b)? Instead of learning the steps for solving various math problems, wouldn’t you rather discover the sense behind math and how it applies to the real world through investigations and activity-based lessons? If you answered yes to these two questions, this course is for you! Take this course if you are interested in turning confusing concepts from Algebra I/Algebra II, Geometry, and Pre-Calculus, into concepts that you can confidently solve and explain.  It will help prepare you for the rigors of higher-level math classes in high school AND college.

  • Physics: Description forthcoming

  • Calculus: In this course, students will strengthen their understandings and computational skills to solve mathematical problems in Calculus so that they are better prepared for the structure, form, and applications of all tested content covered by the exam.

  • Geometry:  Geometry is the mathematical study of closed and open shapes, including coordinate planes, solids, cylinders, and triangles. It is designed to develop important critical thinking skills as students work to identify and justify solutions to problems. This course will help students prepare for college-ready success on the Geometry NYS Regents exam.

  • Algebra I:  Algebra I is the first mathematics course offered to students for NYS credit required for high school graduation and it is the gateway course/prerequisite for all higher-level math courses (e.g. Algebra II, Geometry, Calculus, etc.) in high school and college.  Participants will develop their understanding of algebraic expressions and help prepare them for college-ready success on the Algebra I NYS Regents exam.

  • Adolescent Public Health in Harlem (In partnership with Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health): What it means to be a public health professional, a health sciences researcher and how to live a healthier lifestyle.  Students will be engaged in a series of learning activities and discussions that cover a range of important health topics including sexual health, mental health, and drug and alcohol use. They will network with Columbia students, faculty and researchers in the public health field to build their knowledge and skills related to improving adolescent public health outcomes.  Participants will conduct a research-based project in which they collect and analyze data through the administration of the CDC Youth Risk Behavior Survey.

  • Exploring the Health Sciences (In partnership with Columbia University Dental School): Will include active discussion, problem-solving of Regents-based review questions, opportunities to explore advanced topics in biology, and a spirit of curiosity.  Topics will include: the anatomy and physiology of organ systems, ecology/evolution, and genetics, as well as topics of interest in biochemistry, biotechnology and their applications in healthcare, industry and research. This dynamic course will strengthen students’ understanding of topics in Anatomy, Physiology and Biochemistry – all of which will help students with the Living Environment Regents and Biological Sciences AP exams.

  • Bacteria are not just unicellular germs! (In partnership with Columbia University Department of Biological Sciences): Explore the amazing world of microbiology and the diverse capabilities of microbes through the use of state of the art technology. Course participants will learn about bacterial multicellularity, pigment production, and intercellular signaling; how to isolate pigment-producing bacteria from the wild (i.e. Morningside Campus or your skin); and how to use standard genetic tools and microbiology techniques. This is a two-week course scheduled for May 2019.

  • Minds-on Problem Solving 101 (In partnership with Columbia University Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory): With our televisions and cell phones screaming fake facts, and ever-more complex problems confronting us, it is more important than ever to know how to answer questions for ourselves using real-world data, data analysis tools, and our own innate ability to reason quantitatively.  This course, taught by a group of Columbia data pros, will help participants learn how to formulate questions, find appropriate data, and show what is and is not true quantitatively.  Class sessions will be “minds on” and “hands on” computer work, data dives, and working with Columbia scientists to visualize and interrogate data to answer students’ questions.

Art Courses

  • LinkNYC for NBCUniversal : Students will learn about and develop skills in film production and work towards developing their own social-action-driven films. With the guidance of a professional teaching artist from Young Audiences New York (YANY), students will learn how film can be used as a powerful tool to voice opinions, shed light on an issue, and incite social change.  Students will work with mentors from NBCUniversal to learn about the business side of the film industry and explore the many creative careers that are available. The NBCUniversal mentors also will provide students with actionable feedback and tools to help students develop their film projects and present them at a culminating event for invited guests, including industry professionals from NBCUniversal.  

  • The History of Art (In partnership with Columbia College): Students will learn how art relates to the social environment in which it is created through discussions of different pieces of art. They will visit different museums and galleries across New York City, including Columbia University’s Wallach Gallery. They also will create a “personal gallery” project that includes select works that resonate with them throughout the course.

  • Ghetto Film School : Description forthcoming

College Prep Courses 

  • 9th & 10th GRADE COLLEGE PREP: Students develop your goal-setting, decision-making, self-awareness, self-confidence, and stress management skills

  • 11th GRADE COLLEGE PREP: Students learn to generate the first drafts of the documents (e.g. personal statement, resume, college list, etc.) necessary for college application process. They are paired with a mentor and with a counselor for individualized support.  

  • 12Th GRADE COLLEGE PREP: Demystify and crack the code of college applications! Students review the detailed steps necessary to ensure a high-quality and competitive application and help you refine drafts of the documents (e.g. personal statement, resume, college list, etc.) necessary for college application process.  

  • SAT PREP: Open ONLY to 11th graders through pre-registration.  Intensive SAT tutoring, includes SAT mock exams. Instructors monitor their progress and identify areas that need extra attention.

  • FINANCIAL LITERACY FOR DECISION-MAKING & WEALTH BUILDING: Participants are empowered with important financial management knowledge and skills to support their financial decision-making.

Tutorial Sessions

  • Tutorial Sessions: Math (e.g. Algebra, Geometry, Calculus, SAT), English, Social Studies (e.g. SAT, Global and U.S. History), Science (e.g. Biology/Living Environment, Earth Science, Chemistry, Physics), and Writing Center.
  • Student Success Skill-Building Series: Students develop and foster their time management, note-taking, study skills and communication.

Healthy Minds and Bodies Courses

  • RELAX, RELATE, RELEASE SERIES : These activity series will provide you with strategies and experiences to empower you with effective ways to handle stress and live life more fully.

  • AIR IT OUT! (In partnership with Columbia University School of Social Work): Open to all grades. By appointment, students can meet with a social work counselor dedicated to support their social emotional development by helping them deal with a range of challenges that may include, but are not limited to: family conflict, depression, irritability, anger, nervousness, excessive worry or problems sleeping, problems focusing at home or school, peer and social issues, substance abuse and any other issue that may be presenting a problem for the student