21st Century Academics

Be prepared for success in a rapidly-changing economy. At New Roots, learning meets life head-on. We redesigned 20th century high school for the relevant, real-world learning and problem-solving that will give students the edge in college and career.

new roots charter school graduate holding up their diploma outside
three men speaking at the front desk of new roots school

College Now Program

Logo TC3

New Roots and TC3 have a partnership to offer concurrent enrollment classes that grant students high school and college credit, without the cost of college tuition. Several Junior and Senior year classes use syllabi from TC3’s CollegeNow program. Students are also able to take additional online and regular TC3 offerings based on areas of specialization and interest. A recent report from the American Youth Policy Forum demonstrates, students who graduate from high school with college credits are more likely to apply to college, and show greater persistence in college beyond the first year. For more information, visit TC3 College Now.


Inspiring Opportunities Occur Inside & Outside the Classroom

New Roots students explore career interests, build skills and confidence while making lasting community connections through our internship program. Internships at New Roots empower students to explore career opportunities, and build character with a sense of responsibility within our community. Students learn how to research internships, write resumes and cover letters, apply for internships, interview with confidence, and engage in internships professionally.

Our Four Year Learning Sequence

Our lower school program (grade 9-10) cultivates foundational understandings and skills that prepare students to become actively involved in their school and local community as leaders, entrepreneurs, and activists when they move into the upper school program (grades 11-12).  Academic courses at both levels reflect Education for Sustainability Standards appropriate to their level.

Learning experiences culminate with public events where students share their learning through displays, videos, presentations, computer programs, art, music, and other creative venues. During this time when safety is paramount, these celebrations of learning are conducted via video conferencing platforms.

The Lower School

Education at New Roots is a journey of self-discovery.
The essential questions that frame our lower school students’ studies are

Who am I? | Where am I? | Where have we come from?

Focusing on themes and standards related to the evolution of Earth’s natural and social systems, students explore the connections between traditional academic disciplines such as global studies, English, biology, and earth sciences as they develop a “sense of place” that takes learning out of the classroom and into the community.  

At this level, students prepare to take three of the five Regents exams required to graduate in New York State.

Themes linked to academic subject areas in the Lower School include Water is Life, Justice and Social Dynamics, Climate Change, and Sustainable Food Systems.  Lower school students develop an understanding of their home place and the environmental and social challenges that we face, and engage in imagining a sustainable future inspired by the solar punk literary genre.

The Crew curriculum emphasizes the skills and knowledge necessary for a successful high school experience.

The Upper School

Upper School’s essential questions help the older students look forward

Where are we going? | How will we get there? | What is my role?

How do I prepare for what is ahead?

Focusing on themes and standards related to citizenship, leadership, and innovation, students explore the connections between the traditional academic disciplines to envision how people can use natural resources in just and sustainable ways while developing a vision and plan for their life beyond high school.

Upper School learning projects focus on sustainable management of water and energy resources in our region, taking action as community leaders, entrepreneurs, and environmental stewards.

The Crew curriculum emphasizes college and career exploration and the knowledge and skills necessary to be an independent, successful adult.


New Roots Students Learn Entrepreneurial Thinking

In our rapidly-changing economy, entrepreneurial thinkers have an advantage. New Roots curriculum is designed to empower the next generation of entrepreneurs. Creating a dream job or managing a new enterprise is sustainable with critical thinking, interpersonal communication, problem-solving and organizational skills.

students discussing an assignment indoors
female worker wearing hat and preparing lunches outdoors
four students discussing assignment around a table indoors

Thinking Outside the Box

New Roots students are encouraged to recognize emerging opportunities, be critical thinkers, and work with others in the community to create sustainable solutions. They gain confidence by experiencing the value of their contribution to the community.

Learning expeditions and interdisciplinary courses focused on community-based learning, empower students with real-world application of knowledge and authentic opportunities to contribute. Experiential learning and internships reinforce these innovative education practices.


Every student is part of the “crew” that contributes to making New Roots Charter School a unique and dynamic learning environment in which all people are valued contributors.

"We are crew, not passengers"

Kurt Hahn, Founder of Outward Bound

Crews meet weekly with a faculty mentor to contribute to school governance and engage in service learning.  In crew, students learn teamwork and consensus-based decision-making skills, consciously building community across the divides of gender, age, race, and class. The faculty mentor monitors each student’s academic progress and serves as the liaison between school and home.

Most importantly, crew creates social connections across the lines of difference that often divide people, weaving the fabric of our inclusive school culture that celebrates each individual’s unique contribution to the whole.  This not only supports the well-being of people in our community, it gives our students a deciding edge in college and the workplace.