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New Roots Charter School Announces 2020 Enrollment Cap

New Roots Charter School is capping enrollment this year to ensure optimal conditions for safety in the school’s facilities, Superintendent Tina Nilsen-Hodges announced today. “We have limited seats available, primarily for freshmen and sophomores, and there is already a waiting list for juniors. Families who are interested in New Roots for the 2020-21 school year should act now to secure their seat or a spot on the waitlist.”

The new enrollment cap will ensure optimal safety and the school’s ability to design hybrid programming combining on-site and remote learning tailored to the interests and needs of its small student body. Only two cohorts totaling 60-80 students will be scheduled to attend classes in the Clinton House at any given time. Cohorts will attend school at the Clinton House two days a week, continue course instruction via remote learning two days a week, and devote one day per week to electives in outdoor learning.

“Even with social distancing our school spaces in the Clinton House would accommodate up to 200 students at a time if we used every classroom,” she said. “We have a generous amount of space to design academic programming to accommodate students safely.”

A small tuition-free public high school located in downtown Ithaca since 2009, New Roots is open to any high school student residing in any school district in the wider Ithaca region. New Roots features college, career and life preparation featuring real-world projects that connect classroom learning to community development. New Roots students earn New York State Regents diplomas and 100% of graduates are accepted to college.

“Adolescence is an important time for social and personal development,” Nilsen-Hodges said. “Our small school provides a safe, academically-focused way for our young people to have the social experiences they need to develop the collaboration and leadership skills so essential to college and career success, while developing a strong sense of self and life purpose. We are grateful to be able to create this opportunity for our young people during this time in our history.”

The school’s hybrid learning model will combine best practices in on-site learning with teachers with remote instruction, and feature special outdoor elective classes offered one day per week. Courses are designed so that students can move seamlessly between the two modes of instruction. Students may also attend the on-site class portions via webcam for an entirely remote learning experience as needed to support health and wellbeing.

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For more information, contact Michael Mazza, director of community engagement at New Roots Charter School, at