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Curriculum Overview

The New Roots curriculum nurtures young peoples' ability to use their skills as world citizens to promote sustainability. They learn to create democratic, green economies that consider all peoples' needs and restore the natural world.

See our Curriculum included in our charter school application. 

See our Graduation by Exhibition Requirements

Our cross-disciplinary, experience-based curriculum helps students see the intersection of social and ecological systems, cultivating a practical intellect that produces solutions to the dilemmas and contradictions inherent in the 21st-century. For more about what inspires the New Roots curriculum, go to What Inspires Us.

Grounded in rigorous academics, students partner with community organizations to meet critical real-life problems. They use democratic decision-making and teamwork skills to take action together with members of their local community. They might, for example, support neighborhood planning teams, restore wetlands, participate in climate-related research, develop local food enterprises, help plan neighborhoods, or retrofit low-income housing with green technology.

Blending careful instruction, global perspective, and an abiding commitment to the local community, New Roots School acts on a vision of a sustainable and democratic future. Transforming high school education at its roots, we create a living laboratory for educators and community members who want to transition to a way of teaching and living with potential to turn the tide.

The New Roots curriculum fosters authentic learning -- learning that is real, relevant, and meaningful for students -- in an environment that prepares them to be successful in higher education and in meeting all of life's challenges.

At New Roots School, we concentrate on complementary pieces of an educational puzzle: academic excellence, student engagement, high expectations, individual support, state standards, and an education for sustainability. These priorities are articulated in the New York State Learning Standards and help all students succeed on the Regents examinations required for graduation. Additionally, New Roots students earn college credits before high school graduation, and have the option of pursuing a Regents Diploma with distinction. But rather than focusing just on skill-and-drill learning, we challenge our students to take on real problems and projects, work in teams, and perform for real audiences. Research shows that authentic learning most effectively raises student achievement across racial, ethnic, and gender groups.

Our core academic courses focus on four traditional subject areas: science, social studies, literacy, and mathematics. Students gain essential skills and knowledge while investigating critical sustainability and social justice questions and themes. Traditional learning will dovetail with a "whole earth approach" to motivate students to use their education to make concrete changes in their communities.

Our integrated Physical Education and Health courses focus on the development of lifetime personal wellness plans that encompass personal fitness, nutrition, emotional well-being, and a healthy balance between work and play.

Read the complete curriculum included in our charter school application. Go to "Related Files" below.