NYC FIRST was founded over 20 years ago to inspire and empower students from diverse communities across New York City to engage with STEM and robotics in meaningful and joyful ways. NYC FIRST, a not-for-profit (501)(c)(3), creates authentic learning experiences that encourage young people to think critically and creatively, and to persevere. NYC FIRST is investing in New York City’s future by preparing the next generation of innovators and leaders.

In early 2019, NYC FIRST conceived of a new model for high school – one that put the joy and rigor of robotics into the hands of all students. In late 2019, the NYC DOE, partnering with XQ Institute, announced that it was planning to start several new K-12 schools in NYC. NYC FIRST assembled a design team and applied to design and then work with a high school. In 2021, Q417 was approved, and NYC FIRST was thrilled to begin the launch process.

NYC FIRST has supported Q417 in many ways, including conceiving of its design. And while the school’s core has always been rooted in robotics, NYC FIRST added additional elements of its model, including a Capstone program, additional courses centered on challenge-based learning, and meaningful advisory. NYC FIRST will continue to work with school leadership on the implementation of its school design.