Letter from our Principal

I just wanted to commend you and all the New Roots staff and teachers for embracing the unexpected but necessary transition to online distance learning so well.  You have managed to keep my young person engaged in and feeling positive about her education during these challenging times; even checking in to be sure her 504 needs were/are being met.  It is obvious that New Roots cares a great deal about their mission of empowering young people as leaders with a focus on environmental and social justice AND each student individually. Sudden, drastic change is never easy and, from my standpoint,  NRCS has done so effectively and gracefully. 


Jaekah Chase

Paren of New Roots Student

New Roots Charter School was designed to teach young people to be resilient, adaptable, and innovative in the face of large-scale changes anticipated in this century due to global climate change.  A global pandemic has given our school an opportunity to shine, demonstrating how we walk our talk!

At a time when high school education in many large districts has been reduced to weekly assignments with little opportunity for teacher-student contact, New Roots Charter School has pivoted gracefully, providing a schedule of weekly online instruction in all subject areas, including advanced math and science courses and courses for college credit as well as art, music, and other electives. 

Students are earning credit, not simply for having been enrolled in their classes, but for demonstrating that they have met essential learning standards for content and skills this spring.  They are earning credit because they have been told that they have the capacity to dig deep and meet their life challenges head on.  What they are learning about themselves and the power of community is far more valuable than any “credit” that they will be awarded.

This is in sharp contrast to what parents across the nation are reporting, as their students languish at home, disconnected from their learning environments. We are in communication with 100% of our families, and a growing number of students — over 90%! — are academically engaged, making progress towards graduation.  We never missed a day of serving delicious Farm to School lunches, and welcomed our students back to our virtual school within the first week with an interdisciplinary project designed to engage them in learning about COVID-19 and its impacts on our community, work that will be archived by our local History Center.  In June, we will host a virtual Celebration of Learning featuring presentations of student work and learning. 

Wendy Durso, parent of one current student and two graduates of New Roots, remarked that “New Roots has done an amazing job addressing being home during Covid. They were up and running in a week with classes online. What has really impressed me is how they listened to the parents and students’ concerns about how much class time on Zoom with the amount of school work and tweaked the schedule accordingly. They now have a beautiful balance of time on line and life while staying home during Covid. Plus the lunches they deliver are amazingly delicious!!

As we look ahead to next year, we are developing multiple scenarios to meet whatever challenge we are faced with head-on, with innovative new solutions.  We are excited at the prospect of a hybrid model that blends quality remote instruction with safe in-school learning experiences, with fewer students scheduled in the building at the same time, and outdoor fieldwork and community service projects.  With a schedule and academic calendar designed to orient students to the rhythms of college, we can design unique pathways through the fall semester tailored to individual interests and needs as we anticipate the possibility of a fresh start with more conventional “school” in the spring — or meet whatever challenge we are presented with next.

Our school was designed over a decade ago to engage young people in academic experiences that would prepare them to be community and business leaders, innovators, and entrepreneurs in an era of economic and social change resulting from the global climate crisis. During this era of global pandemic one decade later, the value of a New Root education is clear, particularly in contrast to the relative struggles of larger school systems in the face of this challenge. 

What will your young person’s education look like during this critical period of history, and their lives?  Will they learn to innovate, to adapt, to be resilient, to dig deep and find the capacity to excel at meeting their goals?  What will they learn from what they are taught, both directly and by example?  What do you think they need to know and be able to do to face their future with confidence?

At New Roots Charter School, we are answering those questions head on in a way that will bring out the best in your young person at a critical time in their lives when the confidence born of success will put them on track for meaning and success in whatever path they choose for themselves as adults.  To learn more about how your young person can benefit from this educational experience, visit our enrollment page. 

With Gratitude,

Tina Nilsen-Hodges
Founder & Principal