Discover Your Potential. Empower Your Future.

Experience Real World Learning

Engaging projects make the natural world and city your classroom

Discover Your Strengths

Small classes and customized learning opportunities

Invent Your Future

Learn leadership, entrepreneurship, innovation and life design

A High School As Unique As You Are

New Roots Charter School is a small tuition-free public high school with a big mission located in the heart of downtown Ithaca. Open to any student eligible for high school in our wider region, our college and life preparatory program engages students in learning actively, thinking critically, and solving problems creatively and collaboratively, developing the knowledge and skills to be 21st century solutionaries for a sustainable future. Small school, bright future!

Cultivating Success

Real World Education

Real World Education

Community engagement through field trips and projects exploring current issues and community success stories make classroom learning relevant and meaningful.

Learn by Doing

Learn by Doing

Classes feature active learning, focusing on projects and presentations for real audiences, and internships for real-world career exploration and skills.

Invent a Sustainable Future

Invent a Sustainable Future

Our students develop system thinking, leadership and entrepreneurship skills to imagine and create innovative new ways of inventing opportunities for our communities near and far.

Farm to School

Farm to School

Featuring Ithaca's original Farm to School Cafe, all students enjoy FREE breakfast and lunch featuring locally sourced ingredients from the Youth Farm Project, our very own Urban Farm Project, and more.

Build Community

Build Community

Our school culture is inclusive and welcoming of every person, supported by team building, community development, our Urban Farm Project, and student participation in governance through student council.



Our wellness program inspires practical techniques for focus and stress management rooted in neuroscience, mindfulness, healthy nutrition, and physical activity. Join our co-ed soccer team or propose a new physical fitness club with other students.

Environmental Stewardship

Environmental Stewardship

Restoring the natural world that sustains all life is essential to our well being. Our students explore through classroom projects, the Cayuga Wetlands Restoration Project, and more.

Earn College Credit Now

Earn College Credit Now

Upper school students (grades 11-12) earn college credit for required high school credits and electives.

Play! Create!

Play! Create!

Create a band with friends, design your own solo career, discover hip hop music production, and prepare to perform at Rootstock which was founded by New Roots and Grassroots in 2019.

Powerful Outcomes

Sarajane RoenkeThe hands-on learning aspect of my New Roots education helped me be a lot more prepared for a variety of different projects - I'm ready to dive into any challenge or project that comes my way!

Sarajane Roenke, Alum

Environmental Engineering, PhD program, Notre Dame (Awarded the Schmidt Fellowship by Notre Dame University)

photo of ezra davis“I really enjoyed my time at New Roots. I always felt welcomed and supported by the New Roots community of students, staff, and teachers – it was small enough to be a real community.”

Ezra Davis, Alum

Yale University, PhD program in Computer Science
Worcester Polytechnic Institute, BS

photo of rachel mitchell“Looking back at my time at New Roots, I see myself jumping over the most difficult barrier that I’ve ever had to overcome: myself. Coming to terms with who you truly are is a very difficult task, but without the quirky, open, educational, and truly REAL experience that New Roots provided for me, I would never have become the professional and academic activist that I am today.”

Rachel Mitchell, Alum

Graduated Cum Laude with Distinction from Syracuse University with triple major: Sociology, Policy Studies, and Citizenship and Civic Engagement

Kai"The inspiration I received at New Roots has helped me to approach new challenges in creative ways, and helped me to feel at home at Babson College, which is the #1 entrepreneurship college in the US."

Kai Haskins, Alum

photo of savannah sprague sitting on coastline“New Roots is a community that focuses on many important aspects of life. Plus the [school’s] community is integrated with the Ithaca community. I believe this helps students think more about their surroundings.”

Savannah Sprague, Alum

Currently in MFA program in Hawaii
Creative Writing, Bachelor of Arts, Wells College

Kelsie“New Roots changed how I view the world, giving me the interdisciplinary lens a traditional education doesn’t have. I know I don’t have to choose one passion over another but I can find a way to make a connection and move forward from there.”

Kelsie Torello, Alum

Graduated from Mount Holyoke College with a double major in Art History and Religious Studies before completing her Masters in Art History with a focus on Medieval devotional art at John Cabot University in Rome, Italy.

niaome hickman standing in front of vermont law school“New Roots Charter School not only helped me prepare for college but also gave me hands-on experience for the real world. Not to mention being able to participate in the Ithaca community was a huge deal for me. I grew up in a very small prejudiced town that never offered me that warm community feeling, but thanks to New Roots and the Ithaca community I was able to get that wonderful warm feeling all the time.”

Niaome Hickman, Alum

Wells College, BS in Environmental Science and Forest Ecology

Hannah Watrobski Holding Diploma in front of Binghamton University Statue"New Roots gave me the opportunity to learn about public policy. I learned how to get my voice heard."

Hannah Watrobski, Alum

David and Tina sanding together ouside of a school building“My college level and advanced courses in my senior year, particularly David’s Chemistry course, have helped immensely to prepare me for the intensity and challenge of being a college student.”

Tia Bernagozzi, Alum

Mother and college student studying Biotechnology at Tompkins/Cortland Community College

Rosalina-Roz-Riley-Maasen-2017“My New Roots experience gave me a real understanding of how to work in college through its many college-level courses and the willingness of the professors to assist my studies in ways that I enjoyed greatly. It also fueled my love of playing music!”

Rosalina Maasen, Alum

Wells College, Theatre/Dance Major, History and Sport Management Minor

Korin Carpenter"New Roots encouraged me to step up and ask questions, and to volunteer for opportunities that I might otherwise have felt unqualified for."

Korin Capenter, Alum

New Roots by the Numbers


College acceptance rate for New Roots graduates


Students feel New Roots encourages them to be their best


Teachers received an A+ rating from their students


Students earn college credit during high school

Don’t Just Take Our Word For It

“New Roots offers a whole different style of learning. I have been able to discover which environments I learn and work best and what my passions are.”


“I have never in my career as a parent been more profoundly impressed with an establishment founded on education. New Roots exceeds my expectations in every avenue.”   


“New Roots is like my second home. I enjoy the fact that I have such an amazing and close bond with my teachers!”


“The inspiration I received at New Roots has helped me to approach new challenges in creative ways, and helped me to feel at home at Babson College, which is the #1 entrepreneurship college in the US.”



“At New Roots we have found kind, bright teachers, and administrators who are working for the student.”


“The community is a blast both in the classroom and out in the community, they are accepting of all people no matter who they are and nothing like my old school.”


“New Roots helps students think more about their surroundings, and is very good at working with individual needs of students in order to help them learn the way that works for them.”


“New Roots has developed an exceptional school culture designed to encourage students to pursue friendships across boundaries that typically divide students – gender, ethnicity, income, and geography.”


“The teachers are very understanding and try to help in any way they can, both emotionally and academically.”


 “When I went to college I felt very prepared. The most important things I learned at New Roots, that served me well in college, were how to work in a group and how to pursue my own academic interests.”


“The teachers are all very good at their jobs, and that includes being patient and kind with all students.”


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