Dear Community,

My daughter Ava and I moved to Ithaca last August from Baton Rouge, LA, just so she could attend New Roots.

She grew up in Baton Rouge and was homeschooled until 9th grade. Transitioning to school was hard. She did very well, but she was always extremely stressed. She had so much homework that she couldn’t really do anything else. She came home from school, did homework all evening, went to bed, and repeated. Her mental health deteriorated. As it happened, her school closed at the end of 11th grade, and her only option in Baton Rouge was an even more rigorous school for 12th grade. The thought of it was killing her.

I have a friend in Ithaca whose son went to New Roots and spoke of it highly, so we made the move! Ava started at New Roots in September as a senior, and it has been all we hoped for and much, much more.

The teachers are so dedicated to making the material interesting to the students, and engaging them instead of lecturing. They tend to go deep instead of going broad, and allow the students to apply what they know with projects. This has been huge for Ava and so different from what she was accustomed to. I feel she is learning more this way and she finds the project-based work more meaningful. Best of all, she has a life now! She has made friends at New Roots, and now has time to actually do things with them – like hike in beautiful Ithaca. Ava’s teachers at New Roots are just exceptional in every way. They really see her, know her, care, welcome her to school every day, and are extremely good at teaching their subjects. I can’t sing their praises highly enough. They work so hard and have made such a big difference in our lives.

The administrative staff at New Roots is equally accomplished. Tina has such a wonderful and strong vision. She is making a huge impact in shaping the path of the youth that attend New Roots. I love that Ava is going to a school that cares not just about test scores, but cares about the whole student and helping them to find their place in the world, and how they can use their talents, interests and abilities to contribute to a just and sustainable future.

Absolutely everyone at New Roots does their part so well. The entire staff. They are all so good with the students. We are very grateful and couldn’t be happier that we moved here so she could attend New Roots for her senior year.

Kathy Judd

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